With his sparkling 6-30 Darrell Hazell would have a scorching hot seat at most schools, but we're not most schools. The current athletic director transition and Hazell's still relatively high buyout at over $4 million means that he is safer than most people think. An easier schedule also helps. FBSchedules.com recently published the toughest schedules for hot seat coaches in 2016 and Hazell has the easiest:
In three seasons at Purdue, Darrell Hazell has won six games total and only two vs. Big Ten opponents. Improving on his best finish—a 3-9 mark in 2014—will be easier with a slate that includes zero non-conference Power opponents.
Additionally, Hazell and his Boilermakers will face only one opponent ranked in Sporting News' preseason Top 25, Iowa, which came in at No. 17. They also completely avoid Big Ten heavyweights Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State from the East division.
So is it really easy? Let's look closer:
September 3 vs. Eastern Kentucky
The Good: It's an FCS team, and even Dollar Bill Darrell can beat them, going 3-0 against Indiana State (twice) and Southern Illinois). It is also the final game ever for Purdue against the FCS.
The Bad: None, really. There is no valid excuse for a Big Ten team, even one as bad as Purdue, to ever lose to an FCS team not named North Dakota State, and the Bison already scheduled Iowa. For one weekend at least Purdue should be undefeated and, if Purdue somehow loses, Hazell needs to be fired BEFORE the postgame press conference.
September 10 vs. Cincinnati
The Good: They lost virtually every receiver, have a bit of a questionable quarterback situation, and were just awful against the run in 2015.
The Bad: they beat Darrell 42-7 with ease in his first game as Purdue coach, and Purdue only got 7 because it recovered a fumbled punt inside the Bearcat 10 yard line.
September 24 vs. Nevada
The Good: They were a mediocre 6-6 last season in the Mountain West and did not have a great defense.
The Bad: The offense should be really good. MAC level team with a good offense and a bad defense? Someone is ringing the Bowling Green alarm again.
October 1 at Maryland
The Good: The Terps were 3-9 last year and generally not that good, beating only Rutgers in conference play and also losing to Bowling Green, but by 21.
The Bad: It is a road game and they have a new coach that violently out-recruited Hazell in year 1.
October 8 at Illinois
The Good: This is the site of Hazell's only road victory and Illinois is still not that good after making a surprise coaching change.
The Bad: In the middle of a messy season under and interim coach they still blew out Purdue in West Lafayette last season.
October 15 vs. Iowa
The Good: They are our most hated rivals. It's homecoming.
The Bad: Purdue hasn't won on homecoming since 2011. Iowa is coming off of an undefeated regular season.
October 22 at Nebraska
The Good: Purdue actually beat Nebraska in 2015.
The Bad: the only reason Purdue won was because Nebraska's quarterback was a walk-on making his first start and he was absolutely horrid.
October 29 vs. Penn State
The Good: This is the best "East" team Purdue plays out of three, and they might be 4th best in the east.
The Bad: Penn State happens to be a lot better than Purdue at football.
November 11 at Minnesota
The Good: Purdue only lost by one during their last trip to Minneapolis. Minnesota isn't that good.
The Bad: Even in not being good they still easily won at Purdue last season.
November 12 vs. Northwestern
The Good: Purdue played relatively well in a close 21-14 loss in 2015 to a 10-win Northwestern team.
The Bad: Northwestern happens to be a lot better than Purdue at football.
November 19 vs. Wisconsin
The Good: Purdue was actually competitive against the Badgers last season.
The Bad: Have you paid attention to what Wisconsin has done to us recently?
November 26 at Indiana
The Good: It's Indiana. No Indiana team has won four in a row against Purdue in 68 years.
The Bad: Indiana has moved so far ahead of us in football it is laughable and sad at the same time, because they are still Indiana. they needed a defensive stop on a two=point conversion to survive against an FCS team and still easily blew Purdue out at home, becoming the fourth 6-6 or worse team to handily defeat Purdue at home in 2015.
So yes, Dollar Bill Darrell has a relatively easy schedule, especially when compared to a Gus Malzahn at Auburn. I still expect 2-10 at best and him to be retained because we haven't hired Burke predecessor yet and his buyout is too high.