Regardless of the outlook, I am still excited for football season. Next Saturday I will be sitting in Ross-Ade Stadium with fresh hope and anticipation. Maybe we’ll be surprised this year. Who knows. Those of us left will still go to games and hope to be entertained for a fall afternoon. There is nothing wrong with that.
Since we have just over a week to go I thought I would do a quick roundtable of what the staff is feeling as we head into the new season.
Who is your offensive MVP this season?
Jumboheroes: I hope and pray that he stays healthy and Markell Jones wins this. He's probably the most talented player Purdue has on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line could be trouble and would be the only reason I think he wouldn't win this one.
Jack Walker: Markell Jones
The Legend: Markell Jones
T-Mill: I am in agreement, it has to be Jones. I think he tops 1,000 yards and 10 TDs easily (at least I hope so).
Casey: You guys are silly. It’s Blough. It will always be Blough.
Who is your defensive MVP?
Jumboheroes: Ja'Whaun Bentley is the obvious choice to me. Linebacker has actually become a strength for this Purdue football team which isn't a sentence I thought I was going to say anytime soon.
Jack Walker: Jake Replogle
The Legend: Ja’Whaun Bentley
T-Mill: Bentley. He is absolutely critical in the middle of the defense to stopping the run. Last year’s stats show his value. He finished 7th on the team in tackles AND HE DIDN”T EVEN PLAY IN SEVEN GAMES! He was also third in tackles for loss.
Casey: Replogle continues the trend of havoc on the defensive line.
How many wins and in what scenario does Hazell keep his job?
Jumboheroes: It's tough to know what can keep him in his job after this year. With a new AD coming in there's no idea what could happen. If the new AD wants to let things play out I say 6 wins and a bowl appearance get Hazell another year. Anything short of that and I think he's gone. It could be though that the new AD isn't satisfied at all, Hazell wins 6 games, and he gets canned anyway. The new AD is just such a wildcard right now.
Jack Walker: 5 wins. For Hazell to keep his job - 6 wins and beat IU.
The Legend: At 6 wins Haze keeps his job if a slam dunk isn't available and gettable. At 5 he keeps his job if all games are close and there is no viable alternative available. Under 5 he's gone for sure. Over 6 he stays for sure.
T-Mill: At least the nightmare scenario of no new AD and Burke punting is off the table. I like to think Mike Bobinski is going to want to see improvement, but is five wins enough? Is four but several close losses? I think Hazell needs to get at least 6 against this weak schedule.
Casey: 4-5 wins. With a set of new coordinators, there will be enough to talk yourself into any kind of progress. They’ve been doing better on the recruiting trail of late, and Drew says this a lot, it’s death for a year or two to change coaches. It’s not what a lot of people want to here, but Hazel will be here next year at this time, too.
You get to pick one surprising upset Purdue springs this year. What game is it?
Jumboheroes: I think Purdue upsetting Iowa isn't out of the question. Iowa is a good team but isn't the great team they are being portrayed as. I think they will be vulnerable this entire season and could overlook lowly old Purdue.
Jack Walker: Northwestern
The Legend: Purdue beats Iowa
T-Mill: Penn State. They have a lousy one-dimensional offense and are absolutely ripe for an upset. It feels like last year’s Nebraska game.
Casey: Is IU an upset? At this point it probably has to be. We’ll down the Hoosiers, finally.
What is the most important game of the season? (Think of how things quickly turned after the Marshall loss.)
Jumboheroes: I think the Cincinnati game has huge implications for this team. I went to the game at Cincinnati where it was roughly 200 degrees (Juan can fact check me here but I'm pretty sure that's accurate) and we were all so full of hope. Then we walked into that nightmare of a stadium and things went downhill so fast it was almost scary. If Purdue can actually compete and perhaps even beat Cincinnati this year it could give fans and the team hope that something better actually is around that proverbial corner.
Jack Walker: Cincinnati - if we can beat a good non-conference team, there is hope for a marginally good season and more than one Big Ten win. If we lose, especially in a landslide, dump the Kool-aid.
The Legend: Cincinnati
T-Mill: it has to be Cincy. They are the toughest team in the first five games. Beat them and suddenly we might have a real, live football team against that can get on a bit of a roll. If they get another 42-7 blowout win it is over.
Casey: IU, for fuck’s sake, guys. We need to beat them and take back rank in this wasteland of a football state.
What is your final record prediction?
Juan: (This is the only question Juan answered) Alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol. That is my official prediction.
Jack Walker: 5-7. Not that I am an optimist, but based on the schedule.
The Legend: 6-6
T-Mill: 3-9. I don’t trust our tackle situation and it is going to ruin a lot.
Casey: 5-7, narrowly avoiding bowling to keep our holiday calendars clean.