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Cincinnati at Purdue: H&R Staff Picks

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The staff of Hammer & Rails is cautiously optimistic, which usually means doom is coming.

NCAA Football: Tennessee-Martin at Cincinnati Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow is Darrell Hazell’s Last Stand. Purdue fans have tried to be patient here, but at 7-30 over 3+ years patience is at an end. He began his career with excitement against Cincinnati in 2013, and now, the beginning of the end may come against Cincinnati.

I say that because tomorrow is his last chance to show there is even potential for him to turn things around. Cincinnati is a decent team, but they are not even close to being a ranked team. They are a team that Purdue, if it has indeed improved, should be able to beat. You may remember that Purdue had similar games last season against Virginia Tech, Minnesota, Illinois, and Indiana.

It was absolutely boatraced in all four.

Cincinnati is probably as good, if not a little better, than those four teams, but it struggled greatly last week. It is a team with some serious flaws. It keeps turning the ball over, it has inexperienced receivers, and it was horrid against the run last season. Because of all that, it is the last chance for us to have any faith whatsoever in Hazell. If Purdue wins, he gets a slight reprieve because it shows that there has at least been some improvement. If Purdue gets blown out like it did in 2013 Hazell is basically a dead coach walking the rest of the year.

With that in mind, let’s see what the rest of the staff thinks. Everyone is 1-0 after successfully picking last week’s win. Juan was kind enough to math us a chart of how we’re doing, too.

Edit: Since the table didn't come in well, click here to view the Google sheet.

Now, onto the picks.

Jack Walker

A close game that could go either way, but Malone abandons the Shoop method and has Markell Jones and supporting cast run the rock all game long with some passes mixed in against a weak run defense.  If Cincinnati had a lot of experience at receiver I'd probably predict them to win, but only one experienced receiver should help out our defensive backfield just enough.  Cincy has a solid running game, but our front 7 is much improved against the run. Purdue 34, Cincinnati 31

Juan Crespo

​I know Cincinnati is coming into this game limping after struggling with their game last week. After the mostly dominating win over Eastern Kentucky, it's easy to fall into the trap that is "Oh we'll beat this team because Purdue is actually looking good and we may catch the opponent at a bad time", but that plan has never worked under Hazell, especially last year. Just look at the Virginia Tech, Minnesota, and Illinois games. Purdue came into those games with a win the previous week (or at least with Minny, was coming off a close and hard fought half against a Top 5 MSU team), while the opponents looked vulnerable. Sure enough, those three teams scored 51, 41, and 48 points, respectively, against Purdue, and the games were never close. Maybe things are different with a basically new coaching staff outside of Hazell and Malone, but I'm not falling for the trap this time. If Purdue wins this game, I promise I will become more optimistic, but until then I'm keeping my hopes low until basketball season. Cincinnati 31, Purdue 17

Drew Schneider (TheLegendofShawnMcCarthy)

Purdue needs this one...desperately needs this one. It's hard to say that the second game of the season is a must win...but this one is pretty close. It's hard for me to see 6 wins if Cincy isn't one of them. I've got the Boilermakers picking up steam and winning 27-21 on the back of Markell Jones. I don't trust Cincinnati's offense, and while I don't really trust Purdue's defense either, I think Cinci throws 2 picks and Purdue capitalizes....Boiler UP.  Purdue 27, Cincinnati 21

Casey Bartley

Sorry, West Lafayette. We come crashing down quickly. We're back to real football competition and that means L's. Cincinnati 48, Purdue 24

Kyle Holderfield

I come to you with great depression after writing this prediction. I want us to win and I think we can win, but I cannot buy in after beating EKU, if we do win this game, we could start 5-0. Lose this and the team could lose confidence. I hate to have us losing, but you can all understand why I don't have high hopes. Cincinnati 38, Purdue 27

Andrew Ledman (Jumboheroes)

Three years ago the Darrell Hazell era opened at Cincinnati with a terrible defeat. I was there. It was one of the worst football experiences I've ever had. The lines into the stadium were long and unorganized, the stadium walkways were so tiny and cramped you couldn't get anywhere, the concession stand lines were so long and ran out of water despite the sweltering heat, and overall it was a terrible, terrible day. Purdue got trounced in that football game despite an early near scoring drive. This whole game is still giving me terrible flashbacks. In a way that Cincinnati game was a microcosm of the entire era under Hazell.

I honestly don't know as much about Cincinnati as I should. I know they didn't overwhelm last week against UT-Martin. In fact they were down 7-6 going into halftime. Not exactly inspiring confidence if you're a Cincinnati fan. Cincinnati also has the much hyped QB Gunner Kiel who I believe has either committed to or attended a University in every major college football conference including, oddly enough, IU. Kiel didn't play last week and has been benched going back to last season. Remember, this kid was hyped as a sure fire first round NFL pick. There are still rumblings he may pop up if the starter struggles even though Kiel is technically listed as third string. That worries me because he clearly has talent and the last thing you want is a guy coming in with a chip on his shoulder. That's my main worry about this game. Otherwise Cincinnati is a bit underwhelming, but then again Purdue is as well. We saw improvement last week but will it be enough?

I think Purdue can win this football game. They haven't won back to back games under Hazell. Ever. Never. Not once. How awful is that? Three seasons and Purdue hasn't won back to back games. It makes sense when you think about the fact that Purdue has hardly won ANY games under Hazell but come on. I'm going out on a limb and say that streak ends this week. Purdue gives everyone just a little bit more hope and pulls off the upset (?) victory. Purdue 35, Cincinnati 31

Rob St. Claire

May Harambe watch over us all.  Cincinnati 24, Purdue 20

Andrew Holmes

Purdue 31,Cincinnati 27

T-Mill

It is amazing what one blowout of an FCS team can do. Before the year I was convinced that Purdue was toast in this game. Now I am cautiously hopeful. I view this game as Darrell Hazell's last stand. Cincinnati was far from impressive last week. Purdue struggled in the second quarter, but still never let the game get close. If there is going to be a turnaround it starts in this very game. Purdue absolutely can win this. In fact, since they are playing at home I think they need to win it. If this were last season you could almost guarantee a home blowout loss because that happened four times to similar teams. A win at least opens a few eyes in the "Hey, maybe Purdue doesn't suck as much as we thought" category, which would be nice.

You got my faith one last time, Darrell. Don't blow it. Purdue 27, Cincinnati 24