It was a beautiful afternoon in Indianapolis. It was a day of freedom and promise, where you could do pretty much whatever you wanted to do. It was a good morning and early afternoon driving around with my sunroof open on some errands, I was looking forward to a late afternoon of watching football. Then Purdue was down 14-0 before ESPN could flip over from Cincinnati-SMU to our game.
It’s a good thing I was repairing a busted doorknob. At least it made the day productive.
Wisconsin has won 16 in a row against Purdue, and today was more of the same. Purdue was down 21-0 before the first quarter was even over. The Boilers succumbed to the usual big run followed by a big pass, turnovers, and other mistakes. The game was really over by the end of the first quarter, and the rest of the day Wisconsin was content to merely keep Purdue at bay. Another mistake early in the second half led to another TD, making is 28-3. Even when Purdue finally got a touchdown, Wisconsin responded with the backbreaking big run as Isaac Guerendo, from our own back yard in Avon, busted a 54-yard run just as we had the faintest hope of getting back into it. The final two touchdowns were cosmetic and will look good for the pollsters when Purdue finishes 8-4 or 9-3, but it was the same old, same old against Wisconsin.
Are we really surprised at this point? I don’t know who is going to take over as the Badgers’ permanent head coach, but it won’t matter. They’re going to do the same thing and until Purdue can finally stop it while not making our own mistakes, we will see the same results.
It is a streak so consistent that it will outlast my own tenure at this site. As of November 1, 2022, I am officially leaving Hammer & Rails and SB Nation.
No, I am not just fed up and walking away because of this game.
A few weeks ago I was approached by another entity, which will become clear soon, but I cannot officially announce who it is yet. They wanted to get to know me a little better and talk about what has been built here. They offered me an opportunity to become publisher of a new site. This came completely out of left field, as it wasn’t even on my radar before they reached out to me. I decided to accept their offer, and it means an end to my time with Hammer & Rails and SB Nation.
That means it is time for changes. As part of the offer I was asked to create a staff with the existing budget provided by the new venture. As a result, both Casey and Jace will be coming over with me. They will serve as full-time guys on my staff covering Purdue. We have had several discussions about the transition and they have some fantastic ideas on how to hit the ground running that I know you will enjoy if you follow us. Kyle is also coming over in a part time role providing some x’s and o’s analysis on things, as well as recruiting thoughts. I will still be doing some writing, but I will also be serving in an editorial role and working to secure local sponsors for podcasts and such (example: my existing podcast with Kory Sheets will move over). Casey and Jace will be the lead voices, and I am happy to take a small step back and be more “manager” than “writer” after millions of words here.
Not everything is changing though. Ledman (Jumboheroes) and Drew are staying around as your new managers. I am sure some of us will check in from time to time in the comments, but it will be their ship to steer in about a week and a half. I cannot think of two people I would trust more with this place. Both this place and the new venture will be great places for Purdue fans to gather, and it is an honor to hand the keys over to them.
I find it surreal that this weekend’s Wisconsin game is the last one I will write about here. It just makes me sad I could never write about a Final Four here, though Casey was sitting next to me in Louisville when I damn near had the chance.
I will have a big thank you post on October 31st, but I cannot thank the rest of the staff here enough, both past and present, for building this place. I will still write some over at our new digs, but I want to write some more thoughtful editorial stuff while also shedding light onto Purdue’s other sports.
It is very difficult to leave something I created so long ago. As you know, I am an emotional writer, for good or ill. I have grown from a hotheaded 26 year old when I started the “Boilermaker Football Blog” back in August 2006 to a somewhat wise 43 year old father today, and a lot of you have seen that along the way. I have even met many of you in person, be it a handshake and conversation or a “Yo, T-Mill” on the concourse at Ross-Ade or Mackey. This place has always been personal, and I have always tried to write like a fan that has been granted tremendous access. Just this March I was back on press row covering the Big Ten Tournament, but the most exciting part was meeting and speaking with Red Panda before her halftime performance of the Friday night games, and this was after I ran into Ed Hightower in the media room. Sitting courtside for Purdue basketball was just a bonus.
I am grateful for everything this place has given me. I am grateful it will live on. Finally, I am grateful for all of you who have made it possible, and I hope you will join Casey, Jace, Kyle, and myself over at our new venture (which will be officially announced by November 1).