First, the good news: We are still 31 days from kickoff (allegedly) A lot can change in the next month and I still have my doubts we will see even a single down of football, but we have a new schedule. Gone are Memphis, Boston College, and Air Force (and they can re-appear later, perhaps). We welcome Ohio State to West Lafayette again, while Nebraska and Wisconsin switch places (Purdue will go to Madison and the Cornhuskers will now come to West Lafayette). There are still a ton of hurdles to get over, the largest of all being the unification of players (which I wholeheartedly support and Jumboheroes will be writing about later today).
So assuming there is actual, factual football, let’s try and guess what happens.
September 5 at Michigan - Early Michigan Preview I wrote - Well, this is one of the hardest openers possible, even if it will likely be in an empty stadium. It is Purdue’s first trip to Ann Arbor in nine years and the Boilers have won there just once in the last 54 years (Danny Hope surprise onside kick FTW!). The Wolverines are going to be top 20 good again this year and Jeff Brohm’s first team played them close in 2017 before fading late. To me, there are too many questions, especially at QB, to expect a win. Loss
September 12 vs. Iowa - Coach Brohm has done really well against Iowa so far. His first team pulled off a surprise win in Iowa City. In 2018 Spencer Evans connected on a late field goal for a two-point win. Last season Purdue lost, but was competitive without the services of Rondale Moore. Also, will Iowa’s players be in open revolts by then? Things have been brewing in Iowa City behind the scenes, and I think Purdue can take advantage. Win
September 19 vs. Ohio State - Welcome back to your personal hell, Buckeyes. Since the 2000 season Ohio State has only lost 27 Big Ten games... but five have come against the Boilermakers. The last Big Ten team to beat Ohio State was Purdue in 2018, which as the only blemish in the previous 32 games before losing to Clemson in last year’s semifinal. They have just 16 road losses in conference play since 2000, but again, five have come in West Lafayette. There would be a sixth and one less Big Ten and National championship if Holy Buckeye doesn’t happen, too. We cost them at least a chance at another National title in 2018, and maybe one in 2009. This is one of the most bizarre hexes in college football right now. It makes zero sense and I do not expect to win this game, but I didn’t expect a stunning 29 point blowout the last time, either. Loss
September 26 at Illinois - Early Illinois preview I wrote - Speaking of hexes, this series has been dominated by the road team of late. Purdue has won four in a row in Champaign, including twice with the noticeable Hazell handicap. Last season the Illini reached a bowl and beat Purdue in West Lafayette, but it was by far Purdue’s worst game and it was played in a swamp. I think we turn the tables this year. Win
October 10 at Wisconsin - Thank God Jonathan Taylor is gone. Purdue has had a couple of close games with the Badgers under Brohm, but they continue to have mastery over us. I regionally thought the streak would end this year in West Lafayette, but now we have to go to Madison. I think it continues for another year. Loss
October 17 vs. Rutgers - Early Rutgers Preview I wrote - Rutgers is terrible. They are “Lose to them and we aren’t winning a single game” terrible. Win
October 24 at Minnesota - Rashod Bateman is one of the first players to announce he is sitting out the seasons and that is a big loss for the Golden Gophers. He is probably the best receiver in the Big Ten not named Rondale Moore, but the Gophers are still really good and Purdue has yet to win at TCF Bank Stadium. Also, it is Minnesota. Something bad always happens when we play Minnesota. Loss
October 31 vs. Northwestern - Early Northwestern Preview I wrote - Northwestern is the mixed bag team of the conference. Two years ago they dominated the West and made a run to Indy. Last year they were flat out awful until beating Illinois. Now what do we get? The offense was absolutely atrocious last year and Purdue should have a healthier offense this season. That’s an advantage. Win
November 14 at Nebraska - Early Nebraska Preview I wrote - Aidan O’Connell made a name for himself last season and David Bell’s touchdown run late was a rare happy moment during the season. Purdue has won two in a row against the Cornhuskers and did so with a fourth strong walk-on QB last year. I think we make it three straight. Win
November 21 at Indiana - Indiana has won five of the last seven Bucket games, including last year in double overtime. That was a weird game as Purdue was down big, came roaring back, had a dropped catch in what would have been field goal range in the dying seconds, and lost in double OT. It was one of an astounding five games Purdue has lost on the game’s final play in the last two seasons. Indiana won eight games without actually beating anyone of note last year, but they still won eight games. Purdue needs to reverse that now. Win