Earlier today Kyle published a piece looking at potential wins and losses for the coming football season. Let’s go a little further Let’s look at each game as a best case and worst case scenario. We did something similar for the first year of Hazell and basically hit the worst case scenario because going 1-11 and needing everything in the bag to beat a 1-11 FCS team is about as bad as it gets. With no FCS teams on the schedule the potential for 0-12 is there, but hopefully it doesn’t get that bad.
September 2 vs. Louisville (Lucas Oil Stadium)
Best Case: Purdue actually manages to have an offensive line of sorts and the Louisville offense that struggled in the last three games last year shows up. Houston sacked Lamar Jackson 11 times last season, so if Purdue can even generate half as much pressure it will help. Purdue loses, but in a fun, optimistic shootout way.
Worst Case: Well, there was a game last year where Lamar Jackson threw for six TDs and rushed for two more in racking up 405 offensive yards. In one half. Yeah. That happens again.
September 8 vs. Ohio
Best Case: Under the beautiful new lights at Ross-Ade Stadium Purdue comes home and looks confident in a nice 14-21 point win over a MAC team. Yeah, Ohio was 8-6 last year, but they are still a MAC team and Purdue needs to get back to beating MAC teams. That is a sign Brohm has already surpassed Hazell.
Worst Case: Hazell was a dismal 1-3 against the MAC and Danny Hope was only 3-2. That’s 4-5 for us since the start of the 2009 season against the Big Ten’s little brother. The offensive line continues to be in shambles and Ohio springs the upset for their first B1G pelt since 2012 at Penn State. The lights mysteriously crap out with Purdue trialing 31-10 in the third quarter and all you hear is the cackling laughter of one Morgan J. Burke as he flees the scene.
September 16 at Missouri
Best Case: Missouri was BAD last year. They blew out Eastern Michigan and Delaware State, but lost at home to Middle Tennessee State. At least they could score some points. In 2015 they were 5-7, but were held to 10 points or less six times. The Brohmfense gets ramped up and Purdue springs the road upset. it becomes the first “winning streak” for Purdue in five years.
Worst Case: No one expects Purdue to go on the road and actually win at an SEC team, but this shows why. David Blough throws five interceptions and Missouri wins in a walk.
September 23 vs. Michigan
Best Case: A scrappy 2-1 Purdue, fresh off of the road win against Missouri, comes home against Michigan and gives the Wolverines a game for three quarters on homecoming. Michigan still wins, but Purdue at least makes them earn it.
Worst Case: My goodness, why was this game made homecoming? Michigan rolls Purdue by at least six touchdowns as they tear through the offensive line. Elijah Sindelar takes over for an injured David Blough.
October 7 vs. Minnesota
Best Case: P.J. Fleck’s talk is all hot air as his team struggles to get behind him. Purdue nearly beat this team a year ago in Minneapolis, so a win is not that farfetched. It is a close one, but Purdue scraps out its first conference win of the Brohm era.
Worst Case: Fleck really is that good and shows Purdue fans why we should have made a harder push for him instead of Brohm. The Gophers use their running game to dominate like they did two seasons ago.
October 14 at Wisconsin
Best Case: Since Wisconsin always beats Purdue they win. That’s probably happening anyway. Brohm at least makes it entertaining. Purdue has a slim halftime lead before Wisconsin’s talent wins out, kind of like last year at Nebraska.
Worst Case: Wisconsin Running Back X rushes for 233 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Badgers roll to a victory. So basically almost every Purdue-Wisconsin game after 2004.
October 21 at Rutgers
Best Case: I am in attendance with my family as Purdue wins the hotly anticipated battle for last place that many wanted last year. Purdue may have been an absolute wreck, but at least we won a conference game.
Worst Case: Really, is there anything worse than losing to Rutgers in Big Ten play? I suppose losing to them at home after you have a big lead. The Scarlet Knights enter this season on a 14 conference losing streak and didn’t even score against four Big Ten opponents last season. We weren’t THAT bad even with Shoop!
October 28 vs. Nebraska
Best Case: The most recent example of being Purdue Harbored is Nebraska, who did everything possible two years ago to hand the Boilers Darrell Hazell’s only home Big Ten win. Purdue gives them a game again, just like last season in Lincoln, but is unable to close out the upset in a 6 point loss.
Worst Case: Nebraska shuts down the running game for Purdue and proceeds to take advantage of our young secondary. They blow open a close game at halftime for a multi-TD win.
November 4 vs. Illinois
Best Case: The Cannon stays in West Lafayette. It is bizarre, but Hazell was 2-0 vs. the Illini in Champaign and 0-2 in West Lafayette. In fact, perhaps the worst game he coached at Purdue was the game two years ago when the Boilers gave up 382 yards rushing to a team that was averaging only 67.2 per game in Big Ten play. Unlike Hazell, Brohm can actually exploit the weakness of an opposing team instead of turning them into strengths.
Worst Case: Lovie Smith is not that great of a coach and Illinois, overall, is a pretty moribund program. This is the game I have Purdue winning in almost any scenario, so a loss would be pretty demoralizing. I believe because any team that lost to Hazell twice in three years has to be really, really bad.
November 11 at Northwestern
Best Case: Two years ago Purdue went to Northwestern and had something going before a missed field goal killed momentum and Markell Jones was hurt to kill the running game. Purdue can compete here, and Brohm works his magic to get not just a win, but bowl eligibility in year one.
Worst Case: The last two times these teams played Purdue looked good early, but faded late. That trend continues as the Wildcats dominate in the second half.
November 18 at Iowa
Best Case: Our Most hated Rivals are in the midst of a down year under Ferentz and Purdue takes advantage to get just its second win in the last 25 years in Iowa City. Iowa goes on to finish 3-9.
Worst Case: It is a good Ferentz year and the Hawkeyes win something like 38-17 on their way to a 10-2 season.
November 25 vs. Indiana
Best Case: This nonsense of Indiana winning four straight Bucket games ends. They will be a strong defensive team (who knew) but there are questions on offense. Purdue should be the opposite. Finally, the Bucket returns from its Exile that only took three home games in four years and the worst coach in our program’s history to achieve. After all, winning four straight Bucket games is the crowning achievement of Indiana football (Never mind Purdue did won 10 straight at one point and had a run of 24-3-1 from 1948-75 after the last time IU won four straight. You know what, let’s start another 24-3-1 run right now).
Worst case: Indiana wins a fifth straight Bucket game. I don’t care how it happens, losing five in a row to Indiana has to be some low mark of futility in the history of college football. Indiana has never won five in a row against Purdue and has only won as many as five in a row against Northwestern and Wisconsin in Big Ten play. That they have won four in a row is a testament to how awful Hazell was.