There is likely still confetti on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium and probably a couple Georgia fans in the drunk tank downtown, but that doesn’t matter. The 2021 college football season is over. As a blogger, I am legally required to publish some form of “look ahead” article today under the guise of “Way Too Early”. Our resident lawyer Jumboheroes will back me on this.
Also, since we suddenly have no basketball tonight, it makes for even more content. It’s only 235 days until Purdue kicks off the 2022 season, so let’s look ahead.
September 3 vs. Penn State (7-6, 4-5 Big Ten, 15-3-1 all-time vs. Purdue)
If there is going to be a run at the West crown it will start in what might be a night game season opener straight into conference play. Based on past seasons, I can see this game getting shifted to Friday night on September 2nd or Thursday night September 1st. Regardless, it makes for a very interesting home opener. Purdue will have one of the best quarterbacks in the conference, and that usually translates into high expectations. This is the toughest of the three crossover games for the Boilers, so a win sends expectations sky high. After starting this year 5-0 and getting to No. 4 Penn State crashed to 7-6. Purdue fans certainly don’t know anything about that.
September 10 vs. Indiana State (5-6, 3-5 Missouri Valley, 0-5 all-time vs. Purdue)
The Boilers get an FCS game for the first time in six years and the Trees get a check. Purdue has never lost to an FCS level opponent since the division was created, and I don’t expect it to start here. There is no valid excuse to lose to an FCS team if you’re in a Power 5 conference… unless you’re dumb enough to schedule North Dakota State (sorry, Arizona). Should such a loss happen, said Power 5 team should be required to immediately give the conquering FCS team a home game the following season (i.e., Florida State should have to go to Jacksonville State in 2022). Be DEEPLY concerned if this one is even close. The Trees are probably better than UConn, at least.
September 17 at Syracuse (5-7, 2-6 ACC, 0-1 all-time vs. Purdue)
The Orange started strong, but closed 2021 by losing six of their last eight games. They lost to Rutgers by 10 and Clemson by 3, so they can have some weird results. It was still a better year than their 1-10 2020 season. They were 10-3 as recently as 2018, but have had a losing season for three straight years. We also get a domed stadium! Purdue hasn’t won indoors since the 2011 Little Caesar’s Bowl. It will be an interesting one to be sure.
September 24 vs. Florida Atlantic (5-7, 3-5 Conference USA, First Meeting)
I am very curious to see how this one turns out. A program like FAU often does very well in getting leftover talent in a talent-rich area. They were 5-7 this year, but went 11-3 and won their conference in both 2017 and 2019. Their one Power 5 game was a 35-14 loss at Florida when the Gators were still good. They closed by losing four straight and failing to score more than 17 in all four. This will be a very good tune-up game, something we haven’t had much of under Jeff Brohm.
October 1 at Maryland (7-6, 3-6 Big Ten, 2-1 all-time vs. Purdue)
When the Terps were good they were very good. They raced out to a 4-0 start and even spent some time in the top 25 as a result. Then they barely squeezed into a bowl by beating Indiana and Rutgers because they got blasted by the big 4 of the East. Once there, they blew out Virginia Tech. The last time we traveled to Maryland Darrell Hazell was very lucky to stay employed another week after an embarrassing 50-7 loss. Will they be better or a middling bowl team again? They do have some talent, but as of right now I’d say Purdue is a step ahead.
October 8 vs. Iowa (10-4, 7-2 Big Ten, 39-50-3 all-time vs. Purdue)
Don’t worry, Iowa. David Bell can’t hurt you anymore. It will just be Milton Wright this time, as Purdue receivers under Jeff Brohm tend to have career days against the Iowa secondary. The Hawkeyes will once again be a solid top 20 team, but Brohm has had Ferentz’ number at 4-1 over him the last five years. That makes me like our chances. It really is a favorable coaching matchup at this point.
October 15 at Minnesota (9-4, 6-3 Big Ten, 41-33-3 all-time vs. Purdue)
There exists a world where Purdue is 6-0 headed to Minneapolis, and it is world that has at least a decent shot of being reality in nine months. While Brohm has had Kirk Ferentz’ number since coming to Purdue, PJ Fleck has had Brohm’s. He is 4-1 against Purdue since rowing the boat to the Twin Cities while turning the Gophers into a reasonable clone of Wisconsin. This could be a gigantic game in the West next season.
October 22 vs. Wisconsin (9-4, 6-3 Big Ten, 51-29-8 all-time vs. Purdue)
Because of the COVID schedule shifts in 2020 we get a second straight home game against the Badgers. Will this finally be the year Purdue ends its futility against the Badgers? Coach Brohm has come close, but the streak continued this past season during Aidan O’Connell’s worst game of the year. This Iowa-Minnesota-Wisconsin stretch likely determines Purdue’s destiny in the West. It very likely has to win two of them.
Ed Note: Changes are a-comin’
Revised 2022 Big Ten football schedule release is tomorrow, per BTN. #Purdue should get Nebraska at home and Wisconsin on the road instead of traveling to Lincoln and hosting the Badgers two straight years.— Tom Dienhart (@TomDienhart1) January 11, 2022
October 29 vs. BYE
November 5 at Illinois (5-7, 4-5 Big Ten, 45-46-6 all-time vs. Purdue)
The first of two straight games against teams that had very frustrating 2021 seasons. The Illini were 5-7, but they made life very difficult on opponents in those losses. Four of the seven losses were by a touchdown or less, including the 13-9 loss at Purdue. Their offense was mostly awful. They couldn’t pass, but they could run a bit and the defense was generally pretty good. We do know Bret Bielema can be successful in the Big Ten as well.
November 12 at Nebraska (3-9, 1-8 Big Ten, 5-5 all-time vs. Purdue)
Will Scott Frost still be coaching the Cornhuskers at this point? Their ability to lose close games is simply astonishing. To go 1-8 in the league, but have an even point differential, is basically art. We know what Nebraska is at this point under Frost. They have a decent offense and a promising defense, but they will make 3-4 galactically dumb plays per game that will cost them tremendously. I know they are hyped as a preseason top 25 team, but why, at this point? The media does realize that even close losses are still losses, right? Nebraska has had a lot of them.
November 19 vs. Northwestern (3-9, 1-8 Big Ten, 33-52-1 all-time vs. Purdue)
At least this one will be on a real football field this year, but unfortunately it is due to be a Good Northwestern year. Quick, can you name the last time Purdue beat the Wildcats in Ross-Ade Stadium? The answer is… 2007! That’s a five game losing streak, all while Purdue has won twice in Evanston and once in Wrigley Field since. The biggest question for them is have they found a quarterback?
November 26 at Indiana (2-10, 0-9 Big Ten, 42-75-6 all-time vs. Purdue)
Indiana was one of 14 teams that began the season in the AP top 25, but finished unranked. They were one of six such teams that dropped out of the top 25 and finished with a losing record, joining North Carolina (6-7), Florida (6-7), USC (4-8), Washington (4-8), and Texas (5-7). They were the only one that failed to win a conference game, and they came very close to not winning an FBS level game. That is just some epic level faceplanting. I have no idea what they will do for an encore, but you have to marvel at how so much hype they received was hilariously wrong. They not only went 0-9 in the Big Ten in a year where some thought they could win the East, they failed to score 100 points total in Big Ten play and were held to 7 points or less SIX times.
I am not even going to begin to speculate on Purdue’s record to follow up this year, but on paper, at last, that is a very favorable slate. Iowa is the lone team that finished in this year’s top 25, and that was with a 17-point home loss to Purdue. None. Of our three non-conference opponents played in a bowl game, nor did four of our conference opponents in Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern, and Nebraska. Heading into the 2022 season the schedule, at least, sets up very, very nicely for Purdue.
Still, we’re Purdue fans and we know to take absolutely nothing for granted (as we’re learning in basketball at this moment).