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09/17/2018 - 3:05pm I have season tickets to…

I have season tickets to both Indy Eleven (USL) and Purdue football, and while the USL is probably the equivalent of fourth- or fifth-tier English soccer it's still televised, and even as a second-tier team, we get replays on a big screen since they play in Lucas Oil ... but the matches go at the same speed as top-tier soccer, we're wrapped up right around two hours even if they give 8 minutes of added time in the second half.

Contrast that with the two night games in Ross-Ade so far this season; the Missouri game somehow finished in less than four hours (but not by much), and the Northwestern game topped that mark. The endless commercial breaks are bad enough (although in club seating it does give you more time to get refreshments, I'd prefer to have to miss game time for that), but the replay system seems to have gotten worse, and I'm not sure it's as effective as it used to be, especially since officials seem to be missing calls that aren't reviewable - if we need any more evidence that officials should be paid full-time and working on their craft full-time, I can't think what that might be.

09/10/2018 - 2:38pm Ross-Ade also has been…

Ross-Ade also has been showing the time remaining in media timeouts, which was both a) excellent for the reason you mentioned and b) frustrating as all hell in the four-hour marathon that was the Thursday night opener against Northwestern, since the vast majority of the extra time could be directly attributed to commercials. (If it were a 51-47 game, that would be different.)

So I assume this was something approved by Big Ten/NCAA, or perhaps even requested by the conference so that the on-field TV personnel know when to signal the officiating crew to get the show moving again.

02/05/2018 - 2:12pm exactly

The last non-interim Purdue president before Daniels is an astrophysicist who's now director of the NSF. The acting president after her was a professor at Cal-Berkeley and Purdue before moving up to Provost.

The one good thing Daniels has done is (mostly) leaving the athletic department to them what knows it. It wasn't great when Burke was there, since Burke was aware of Purdue's deficiencies but unwilling to mount any serious effort to overcome them (but was still head and shoulders above his predecessors in trying to build a C-level athletic department). Bobinski seems to understand how to build something better than that, and actually has taken steps to do so (see: hiring Brohm, not having lost Brohm yet).

As mentioned in this space during the Dark Age, despite what the NCAA would like, college sports doesn't work entirely like a business. You can't #brand and #promote it at the expense of the experience of going to games, because it doesn't work that way. Daniels' background is as close to #brand as you can get without a marketing degree, and Purdue is sending out quite a bit of non-sports material exactly along those lines. From where I sit, criticism of his background is entirely on point.

11/04/2017 - 12:05am Good comparison to Brooke's situation

Obvs there are certain things that are a lot different, but their situations are probably about as close as they could be. Brooke came in as a highly-touted recruit, was an immediate starter at DS but clearly behind four-year starter Amanda Neill at libero (Neill was in basically the same role as Peters: four-year starter but only two at libero since Carly Cramer was a fixture there), then was on track to be the starting libero her sophomore season ... but the Boilers landed another solid recruit, Natalie Haben, and Peters stayed at DS. So she had another year of that next-person-up focus instead of the defensive-leader focus she might have been expecting ... and with Haben a year behind her, she might never have ended up at libero.

But Haben got injured, ended up not being able to continue her career, and now Peters is the starting libero, with the job clearly hers if she keeps playing at this level. (It has also seemed the case in the past that Dave Shondell sometimes favored an upperclassman at libero rather than a younger and perhaps better player.) She's done nothing so far this year to suggest anyone else has a crack at her job.

The comparison tails off at that point, since a libero doesn't have nearly the impact on a volleyball defense that a QB has on offense (a closer analogy would be a PG on defense: directing traffic, making some plays, but also heavily reliant on teammates to cover the rest of the court), but if Brandon ends up contributing at a level that mirrors Brooke's path, and if Michigan continues to grow their running game into full-on steamroller mode, maybe certain less-than-optimal things in the football world will be corrected. I miss when I could hang out with friends who are inexplicably MSU or OSU fans (thankfully most of the Ohio friends I have are Team Not-OSU) and talk about Michigan football.

09/20/2017 - 1:30pm Oh you kids

Middle Guard, or Nose Guard, was the middle position in a 5-man front; back in the ancient days, a lot of teams apparently used that front (surprisingly, in those days Ann Arbor did not teach football in elementary school, so I just have dim memories of things), which is why you'll see MG/NG in '70s stuff, and also why people continue to refer to Offensive Guard (instead of just Guard, like we do with Center) even though there are roughly two generations of fans who have probably never heard of a defensive guard position.

The 3M Pro Football game is where I first remember seeing a 5-man front: we had the 1969 edition, but I think both had a 5-3-3 and a 7-2-2, plus "Pass" and "Kick" defenses. I don't know what they called the guy in the middle of a seven-man line, but I bet someone else here does.

09/07/2017 - 2:32pm Another Purduebut ...

was that Louisville fumbled the ball away twice at Purdue's 1. One was a legit tackle/strip (on a drive that started at the Purdue 15 because of a fumble on a KO return), but the other was simply a snap that got away from Jackson. If the Cardinals convert one of those, there's not nearly as much drama; if they convert both then it's a completely different game.

Still, I think your recap is on the money. Does Purdue have a chance at (dumbest decision this year by a mile) homecoming? NO. Are they going to be horribly bad like under Hazell? Most likely not. Will they be good enough to escape the West cellar? Hmm, let's look at how Illinois is doing so far ...

06/27/2017 - 3:51pm I think this came up previously,

but IME you're spot-on that Purdue is extremely unlikely to add men's hockey, in part because the men's club team plays its home games in Fishers, a northeast suburb of Indianapolis.

It's not clear yet how different Bobinski will be from Burke (and King and all his predecessors), but even if there is going to be an increase in fundraising, that money seems earmarked for football-related stuff, mostly, and even at that Ross-Ade still seems to be destined for a split between new, nice seats around a crappy 1930s core, kind of like how Mackey has some nice things around a 1960s core. Diverting a significant amount into a new arena that could be used for hockey (and, say, volleyball, women's basketball, and wrestling - Holloway is too small and badly needs AC, while Mackey is cavernous despite WBB drawing top-25 crowds pretty much every season) seems like it would require a nine-figure gift from someone, since a good chunk of it would go to the two main venues.

And that assumes Bobinski wants to build a Big Ten-caliber athletic program and can help build the interest to maintain it. It sounds like the former may be his intent, but we'll have to see.

In terms of NHL interest, Indy has a long pro hockey history (Gretzky and Messier, right?), but also couldn't sustain even an IHL/CHL team. West Lafayette has its share of Blackhawks fans, even before the recent Cups, but why put that money all the way down I-65 when you could invest it in Evanston?

02/21/2017 - 3:45pm Minor correction

Purdue was actually a 5/12 upset victim last year, which makes a little more sense because The School Formerly Known As UALR was closer to the top of the remaining conference champions, but that still doesn't make up for the loss.

It's no coincidence that I really would prefer that Purdue stay up in the 4s. I think that the Boilers are much better prepared for that odd, unusual thing that some call Press* this season, but also agree that guard play is the weak spot. (Well, that and foul trouble. Put Teddy V on the floor and anything can happen.)

*I'm not sure which is more odd, that Painter could have learned more about breaking a press simply by staying in the same building and watching the women's team practice, or that Sharon Versyp can simultaneously be disappointing at her job and also know something better than Painter apparently does.

08/24/2016 - 5:59pm The other good news for Purdue

is that with a new AD, there is a greater-than-0% chance that he understands something about football coaches and whether or not the one you have (or the one you are trying to hire) is any good in your situation. The previous ... er, current lame-duck AD registered a big 0 on that scale.

Hopefully Bobinski is good at raising buyout cash.

02/15/2016 - 1:27pm Another problem

is that Purdue doesn't have a lights-out shooter to put in the corner for Hammons et al. (Not that they send a guard to the corner often enough anyway - all too often the "post game" is "dump it in to Hammons and get back on D".) So Michigan's free to double, because so what if you leave someone open?

Still another problem is that Purdue's guards do not get themselves open, and a fourth problem is that all too often they settle for passing the ball on the perimeter aimlessly before jacking up a late two that misses. (That's one of the reasons I think Swanigan has a high turnover rate: when he is on the court with Hammons, he frequently makes it a goal to feed AJ. This results in more quality shots - anything AJ puts up near the rim - but also results in more turnovers. I prefer those to 18-foot bricks.)

For a team that shoots FTs so well (among players who get minutes moving forward, only Cline is under .700, and he's only shot 7), Purdue takes a ridiculous number of shots that will not draw fouls.

Those weaknesses were ripe for exploitation by the right coach, and that's not taking into account Purdue's inability to handle any kind of pressure. I think the anomaly was the game in Mackey rather than the game in Crisler.

02/12/2016 - 5:43pm Home court is part of it

but I think a good bit of the rest is from Purdue's performance in conference play. Michigan's 104.0 OEff was the second-highest Purdue had allowed (only Iowa topped that, at 105.6) at the time, and was only the third 100+ effort the Boilers had conceded (the other two were Vermont (in a game where Purdue was at 140.6) and Florida). Since then, they've done worse than the Iowa game four times (including Iowa II) - they won two of them because they lit up Nebraska and because MSU??, but they also got thoroughly outplayed in three other road games.

Some degree of the defensive problems come from slow rotation - Mathias and Cline are most prone to this, but it's affected pretty much everyone other than Davis (even Hammons, sometimes). I think part of this is because Painter still hasn't found a starting-caliber 2 and part of it is because this team isn't a typical Purdue team defensively - they barely force turnovers at all anyway (only Cal - coached by fellow Keady player Cuonzo Martin - and MSU have lower TO% among power-conference teams), so it's not like there are one or two weak links in a strong team.

The main part is that I think they got in the habit of just funneling people to the hoop and letting Hammons, Haas and Swanigan send them away. That worked just fine in non-conference play when the only speed bumps were a young Florida team with a first-year coach and a Pitt team whose resume has been scuffing itself up in conference play ... except against Butler, who doesn't fall for that kind of stuff. In Big 14 play, it's been another story - too many quality teams, too many coaches who see the obvious and attack it.

That's the other piece. Painter's approach to halftime adjustments has been ... wanting. The in-state joke is that we've been laughing at IU fans for years because they (used to) think Crean is a great coach when he's basically a great recruiter who can't spell coach if you give him the vowels and consonants, but now it seems there may be more than one coach in the state like that, except Painter doesn't always recruit well either. The Iowa game in Mackey was particularly frustrating, because the Boilers played a first half that was far better than anything they'd done to that point ... and when Iowa came out in the second half and switched things up, Painter couldn't or wouldn't adjust.

Beilein seemed to take notes from that game, trying a halfhearted trap a few times because of how effective Iowa was at it (I mean, putting Robinson at midcourt caused Purdue's points to pick up their dribble, and it's not like he's a defensive terror), but unfortunately for Michigan, injuries mean his ability to adjust is limited. I suspect the game in January would have been different if he'd had more bodies regardless of quality, and in Crisler, he'd have that plus the crowd.

Purdue is just 2-3 in Tier A games in conference play, with the wins being MSU Tuesday and Wisconsin back in December when the Badgers were losing every Tier A game they played. (Wisconsin's only won one of those themselves: home to Michigan State.) Saturday is the third of a seven-game stretch that features six Tier A games for Purdue. If there's anyone on the Purdue side of things who feels comfortable with that 1-point spread, even if LeVert is out, I haven't spoken to them.

11/18/2015 - 7:37pm Four Boilers taken

a nice change from Football Draftageddon, where it would have taken about 176 rounds to find four Purdue players worth drafting. (sigh)

If you're waiting to move Purdue up to the 4 line until one of IU's players is booted for an extra recruit Tom Crean found on the side of the I-69 extension, so you can just swap the two schools, I'm cool with that.

09/15/2015 - 12:43pm Ah, Cleveland

Cleveland’s Farmer has one idea: What if you could design an offense to minimize the passing deficiencies of modern quarterback prospects?

Obviously this is a hypothetical question, given that Cleveland's needed an offense like this since Bernie Kosar retired and has yet to show one. (Also maybe Cleveland wouldn't think this was as necessary if they didn't keep drafting QBs with serious passing deficiencies.)

06/24/2015 - 2:28pm I just missed that era

As a freshman at Purdue in '85 (CS major), during orientation, we had a tour of the main terminal room and the adjacent room where people picked up their printouts (from numbered "bins", hanging folders, because you sent your files to the huge dot-matrix printers and the students who worked there would separate the printouts and sort into the bins; obvs you did not want to set your bin to anything divisible by 100, or to the other obvious numbers, otherwise you'd never find your stuff in with all the other underclassmen who thought it was funny to print to bin 69); also in that room were a handful of punch-card readers. Apparently they had recently phased those out for the common folk, so only a few grad students were using them.

I'm grateful for some of the principles I learned when I was there, because holy pants, is a lot of that other stuff outdated now. Even then, things were changing pretty quickly: in six years (I was ... not a devoted student), they'd moved from the monitored dot-matrix printers to self-serve laser printers, and computer labs were popping up on campus - obvs not the way they'd be used now, but the first time I used Office products was in a Mac lab in like 1990.

I'm glad the kids these days (adjusts onion on belt) don't have to go through some of the things we did back in the day.

03/17/2015 - 4:10pm Virtually no chance Purdue adds hockey

Among other reasons, Morgan Burke likes running a minimal athletic program (if they didn't count indoor and outdoor track separately, Purdue wouldn't even have the full 20 sports for Directors' Cup purposes), and the club team currently plays in Fishers (or other Indy-area suburbs), which is "convenient" the way having UM play on the north side of Detroit would be convenient.

And the budget is small enough that contributions from deep-pocketed alumni (say, Drew Brees) have to go to basic facilities or renovating ancient grounds rather than setting up new facilities, like a college-level hockey arena. Volleyball is probably the second-strongest sport at Purdue, and despite recent renovations to Holloway, it still doesn't have AC, which is kind of a problem when you play 4-8 matches a year in weather that makes a large room with many people in it very, very warm. Baseball and softball got new fields that AIUI are just modern. Ross-Ade expansion had to be put on hold because as you may have noticed, terrible teams at non-football schools don't draw very well, so to no one's surprise except Burke's, there isn't any extra money for anything.

Historically, Purdue's been content to run small-college athletics in a major-college conference. They're simply reaping what they've sown.

03/02/2015 - 2:30pm FWIW

A.J. Epenesa's sister Sam plays volleyball at Purdue; she was a highly-touted recruit out of Edwardsville HS and has been a solid three-year contributor (she'll be a senior in the fall).

That, plus the fact that Purdue barely garners a mention anywhere with respect to A.J., probably gives the average person perspective on the relative positions of Purdue's volleyball and football programs. (It is true that those sports offered package deals last year for days when both teams played. It's not true that you got a discounted football ticket with a volleyball ticket stub ... but maybe they should have done it that way.)

11/24/2014 - 2:45pm FWIW, Weber was also a long-time Purdue assistant

and was there with Keady when Painter played. Painter also took over at SIU after Weber left for Illinois.

10/16/2014 - 1:18pm speaking of bad AD ideas

Yeah, we posted about that when it came out: BTN had a follow-up post, and the final product apparently didn't look awful. I could go on at length ...

Michigan has a significant advantage in that the helmet design does not lend itself to Brandonesque clown games. OTOH, maybe a stunt like that would have gotten him fired sooner. (At least other big-money donors are stepping up to oppose Ross now - at least that's how I interpreted Denise Ilitch's public comments. Regent + Ilitch name/money = influence.)

10/16/2014 - 12:19pm Re: uniforms

I'm far from the target market for such things (I'm 47) but I'm not a fan of altering uniforms randomly at all. I definitely agree that it is a thing that works for Oregon, but I look at changing uniforms to draw recruits and/or fans kind of like Rodriguez and the 3-3-5: the thing that really works for Oregon is that the kids wearing the horribly ugly uniforms are also in a system that is churning out top-10 teams with offenses that are extremely fun to watch. Put MSU and South Florida in uniformz and that game is still one of the worst "football" experiences that have ever occurred. (Were they wearing uniformz? I can't even remember.)

I will also note that Purdue's dalliance with uniformz is not causing five-star talent to commit to West Lafayette. (It's also an odd thing for Purdue to do, because Morgan Burke usually won't spend a dollar unless he has a 50% off coupon and can haggle you down to 20 cents. Uniformz may be mostly free for the school - although I think there'd be a marginal cost in terms of storage and such for keeping an entire extra set of uniforms around - but it isn't as though the Boilers are good enough to get people to rush out and buy new jerseys just because they're different.)

10/14/2014 - 4:45pm FWIW

Etling has been benched in favor of Austin Appleby, who is managing to make a John Shoop offense not look like a train wreck. Pretty impressive, even with such a low bar.

Appleby's raw QBR in his starts are 98.2 and 45.7, but the former was against Illinois' "defense", so take the usual small-sample-size disclaimer and embiggen it.

On a related note, one thing I will grudgingly admit is that through the first three quarters of every game, the best QB is probably Cook. Fortunately for us all, the fourth-quarter hex Dantonio has brought upon himself is clouding Cook's stats ... even against the weak Boiler defense, he was pretty ineffective in the 4th.

10/02/2014 - 12:26pm I hope it does hurt Brandon's ability

to hire a new coach, by being another step in a process that results in Brandon being fired.

Questions about "stunts" should be directed at the guy who spends more time planning them in the stadium than understanding how to run a football program, much less actually running one.

08/06/2014 - 8:26pm Same here, maybe

It was either '72, because I think I was in kindergarten, or '74, because I thought the final was 49-0 only we left early when it was 42-0. So maybe we didn't leave early and it was only ever 42-0. I dunno. It's hard to tell when you're 5. Or 7.

Anyway, it was at once too much to comprehend and also quite a bit understated. The Big House is so big when you're little and it's full of people and you're coming in at kind of the middle, so it goes up a long ways and down a long ways ... but Minnesota back then was hardly a challenge, so it wasn't much more than a scrimmage, I think, especially not to the untrained eyes of a kid just learning about sports.

And then we left for the Land that Football Forgot, and I have not been back for a game. I had a chance in 2000, but, um ... it didn't seem like the right reason to ask permission to leave the state.

Anyway, I did see the 2008 48-42 loss to Purdue in West Lafayette. I had a friend at the time who liked to organize outings to games with people from both sides - at the time, it seemed cute, but looking back (and taking other things into account), it was maybe a bit sadistic. So I sat with a couple of Michigan-only fans in the crappy end zone section that was recently demolished, surrounded by Purdue fans, and watched a game that was exciting for about half the fans in the stands (obvs by then Purdue was selling a lot of tickets to away fans). I couldn't get my friend to understand why I wasn't excited by the win: a bad Purdue team (thankfully, Tiller's last) losing to a bad Michigan team. (I kind of root for the team that is better to win so that at least one of them has a chance at a good season ... so in football it's pretty much always Michigan.)

06/23/2014 - 1:06pm Yeah, if you go back and watch,

CR7 found himself offside on a number of occasions, and on at least one, he basically just stood there, knowing he was so far offside he'd never get back. On another, he had 3-4 of his teammates with him. Nothing like timing the offside trap so that the entire attacking section of your opponent is offside.

Contrast that with Dempsey's goal, where IIRC the Portuguese defender is sliding to prevent a cross, but by his presence also preventing anyone from being offside.

06/20/2014 - 1:07pm Let me be the first

to express my concern about the value of Ronaldo's playing career; if it's truly in the balance, I think we can all agree that the important thing is the health of the player, and naturally that would mean resting his knee, starting immediately, rather than putting further strain on it.

06/09/2014 - 1:20pm In literal terms, I don't think there is one

At least one site has the US as 250-1 to win the World Cup ... in 2013, one oddsmaker had the longest shot to win the conference, Illinois, as 100-1. (I haven't seen 2014 odds yet?) So from that perspective, it's probably Purdue: not gonna happen, next question.

Even if you were looking at, say, the World Cup vs. the Hot New Play-Off Thing, the US is more like Northwestern, I think: once upon a time, they gave it a good run, but things were a lot different back then, and except for one crazy run where they came up well short, since then, they've never really had a chance at all. The quality simply isn't there.

With respect to getting out of the group stage, they probably have a better shot to do that than Michigan does to win the Big Tenteen, although the concerns could be similar: a lot of questions about offense, with a defense that's doing what it can but sometimes has unfortunate lapses. One really talented guy can't carry the offense himself; even with two or three really good players, you've still got other guys on the field that have to do their thing, too.

05/31/2014 - 8:27pm Wigan players unable to convert chances?

(tries to find shocked face)


(fails badly)

Figueroa contributed well to the Latics, as Espinoza does now, but IIRC it's been years since they had a consistent goal-scorer that wasn't on loan from United. Injury troubles on the back line eventually dropped them to the Championship, and Coyle's mismanagement gave them a deficit that may have affected their playoff odds, but scoring pretty much overcomes everything if you can get it, and they haven't done that consistently ... so I'm not too surprised to see a couple of their name players continue that in international play.

03/28/2014 - 11:42am Purdue grad chiming in

One of the hotly-debated issues on Purdue blogs this year was exactly how much leadership they had in the first place: whether this was even more of a blow or whether it was addition by subtraction (see: Guptill and Di Guiseppe). Given Painter's consistent comments throughout the season, I lean toward the latter.

Purdue does return three of their four most efficient players, in Smotherman, Davis, and Stephens, but as with Carroll (9.9% of possessions), none of them were even in the Significant Contributor range. The two who were Major Contributors are Hammons and Scott, and neither of them posted numbers to be thrilled about. (Scott's ORtg was 91.4, using 25.8 of possessions, the highest figure on the team. MIGHT BE A PROBLEM)

With the offense at its worst since Painter's first year (cleaning up the mess that Keady left) and the defense rapidly approaching that, another hot topic has been whether Painter is a good coach/recruiter who's struggling to find the right combination, or if he just got lucky with Moore, Johnson, and Hummel, and basically rode that group to an extension he did not deserve.

People in the former camp ask for patience and want to give Painter a couple of years to straighten this out. Without knowing the details of the buyout clause in Painter's contract, I can't be sure if that will happen, but I would not be surprised if he had exactly one more season to fix things.

Purdue has finished alone in last place in the conference five times in league history. Painter was the coach for two of them: 2005-06 (the first year after Keady) and this year. If it happens again next season, I can't see Burke retaining him. Gutting the football and basketball programs at the same time kind of affects your ability to generate revenue, and Burke is sensitive to that.

If Painter stays, I agree that it will take a while to turn things around. I don't think there are signs in his recent recruiting classes that he can draw another group of Baby Boilers and rebuild the team quickly. If he goes, a quick rebuild is possible, depending on who's available and interested. The Purdue job can be a decent one, given the relative importance of men's basketball on campus (i.e. above football), but it might also be perceived as a position where the rebuilding task is greater than most coaches might want to try in a power conference.

12/17/2013 - 1:40pm Did someone say "fan of Michigan and Detroit teams"?

But wait, there's more! As an added bonus, I also root for my alma mater, you know, the Big Ten school that backed into a CBI invite and had the worst power-conference football team in the country. (Also the one that lost a regular-season volleyball match in five sets at home to Northwestern (??) and got whacked in the regional final by Wisconsin after crushing overrated Missouri at Missouri and sweeping Illinois at Illinois.)

And as awesome as the FA Cup final was, that was followed shortly thereafter by Wigan being relegated to the Championship, sleepwalking through much of the first half of that campaign, and then collapsing in Europa League play after being in position to qualify for the knockout stage with two matches left and their destiny in their hands.


10/14/2013 - 12:54pm Another thing about Linehan

is that he does not insist on running the ball when the team is not good at it. In 2011 (let's forget 2012 - no, really), the Lions were 31st in rushing attempts, just 10 carries ahead of a 4-12 Tampa Bay team that was probably worse than their record. He didn't go away from the run because the Lions sucked, he did it because the running game sucked.

Of course he also had/has Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson and a bunch of receivers not named Calvin Johnson who can still get open from time to time, and Borges does not (although Borges has a TE who can catch, at least until he officially becomes a WR), and Detroit is running the ball more this season because they have a back who can run in that offense ... but that just means Linehan is tailoring his play calls to the ability of his players. He is not calling power run after power run and hoping that his opponents magically do not detect the huge POWER RUN indicator in six-foot-tall letters above the formation he's just sent in.

10/04/2013 - 11:56am 1972 as well

although I was just 5, so other than "we played Minnesota" and "we beat them handily", I couldn't really remember anything else for sure. Oh ... also "the stadium is the most biggest thing ever." (Which is probably the case even if you are not five years old.)

For years I was convinced that we had left early and that it was actually a 49-0 game. (I lucked into a ticket when a friend's family had an extra one for some reason, and we moved three years later, so by the time I was old enough to wonder, it was too late to ask.)

So it was pretty much what you'd expect at the time: not Ohio? Then it'll be an easy win.

That turned out to be the only home game I've seen (see: moved three years later), so Michigan's averaging 42 points per home game I see in person. I should make plans for the Ohio game.

09/20/2013 - 10:37am What's interesting to me

is that the punting and field-goal decisions basically come from the same idea: never mind trying to win, just don't make the loss look too bad. (So you punt to make the other team drive farther for the next TD, or kick a FG to lose by 32 instead of 35.)

And it may be just perception - although I trust you more than my general ideas, because you have data at your fingertips - but it does seem like the current changes are only about punts. Coaches still love them some FGs, even if they are relatively long attempts (a 40+ kick in the NFL is no sure thing; in college, it's even less certain).

09/11/2013 - 5:52pm Sure, in a normal game

but that's the problem that USF has. They're so bad that there are some situations where no decision is any good.

I mean, 6 for 26. They were 19 of 40 against McNeese State. If there were ever a modern team for which the quick kick was designed, it's USF.

09/11/2013 - 3:16pm South Florida's decision was definitely correct

They ended up averaging 2.5 yards per play, both passing (!!) and running, were 1-13 overall on third down (with the conversion by penalty, of course), and were facing a team with an offense nearly as bad as theirs. Their previous possession ended on a failed 4th-and-4 from the Spartans' 32, the only USF fourth-down attempt of the game. Their only hope to cut into that deficit was to give the ball back to MSU and force them to run some plays ... sadly, it didn't work out, but in this particular case, I think it was the right call.

On the other hand, on the second play of the fourth quarter, South Florida punted from their own 8 ... for 15 yards. (Sparty did get a touchdown on that drive, but not before ending up with a 3rd and 21.) So ... maybe the problem was not punting on third down.

We were watching that game in preparation for the big one. It was one of the worst offensive showings I've ever seen, and my family had season tickets to IU games in the late '70s.

08/28/2013 - 9:41pm Carlson's long was 48

and he was no stranger to kicks from 40-49. (H/T Bentley. No Rose Bowl box? Anyway, it says 1938-78, but 1989-1991 are there too.)

Kicks by game, with misses in parens:

Notre Dame: none
UCLA: 46 36 43 24
Maryland: 48 30
Wisconsin: 33
Michigan State: 35
Iowa: 46 22
Indiana: 38
Purdue: none
Illinois: 47
Minnesota: (42)
Ohio State: none
USC: 19

1-1 under 20
2-2 from 20-29
5-5 from 30-39
5-6 from 40-49, including 4 makes from 46 or farther

That was some solid kicking.

08/21/2013 - 1:37pm The thing about big schools

is that people who haven't gone to one seem to have this idea that every day, everyone on campus runs around in random directions all the time, so you can't possibly see anyone more than once, because OMG TENZ OF THOUSANDZ OF PEEPUL OMG. (The best is when they now live in NYC or San Francisco or Chicago and can tell you about how they always run into this one couple on the way home from work. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.)

But when you consider only the people that have classes at the same time on a particular day, and then only the people that actually get up and go to those classes, and then only the people who are heading to class in the same direction, from the same direction, suddenly it's not such a big group after all.

Exactly how this works probably differs a bit depending on how campus is laid out - at Purdue, campus was/is basically one area, so even if you live off-campus, you're going to head in basically the same direction, so the group of Potentially Identifiable People is larger. If your destinations are spread out more, you're looking at even smaller groups, probably to the point where you can look out your window and see Hat Guy going by and think "crap, he's the last guy on time to class, I'm late".

07/11/2013 - 11:53am makes sense

given that Indiana-Purdue is protected, it's probably easier to keep seven matchups the same across those two years and then do the same moving forward.

07/04/2013 - 8:32pm except for all the others

Stevens wouldn't leave for another NCAA job, but Lickliter and Matta had no trouble leaving the Horizon for the Big Ten. I would imagine the next coach will be more like the latter two than Stevens.

06/25/2013 - 2:38pm Minor correction

In 1984, Purdue went to - and lost in - the Peach, not the Cotton. (It would be their last bowl appearance until the 1997 season.) The only team ever to appear in the Cotton Bowl as a member of the Big Ten was Ohio in the 1986 season. (Maryland, Nebraska, and Penn State went in their previous lives.)

The Peach Bowl was actually a cruel joke. I was a freshman at Purdue the following season; I can still remember seeing the occasional band member wearing their Peach Bowl jacket. With my Michigan background, I was accustomed to annual bowl games, and with Purdue returning senior QB Jim Everett and coming off a bowl appearance, I thought I'd be able to watch some quality football. (I was partly right - some pretty good teams came to visit Ross-Ade in those days.)

05/03/2013 - 1:42pm The ninth-worst offense, actually

the worst and best rankings use the same order (rather than putting worst at the top and 10th-worst at the bottom).

The second-worst offense is a Gary Nord offense, which comes as no surprise to anyone, period.

02/07/2013 - 2:46pm 71-60 UM

go away, MSU.

01/31/2013 - 5:24pm Purdue's monster-in-the-middle

is Mr. Hammons, btw.

This is good stuff. I think it reinforces the idea that context is really important for defensive statistics ... for example, Purdue's strong defensive efficiency (moreso in non-conference play after last night's beating) is really "Purdue's DE with A.J. Hammons at center". It isn't a coincidence that they're 10th in DE in Big Ten play and that Hammons has been in foul trouble in every conference game against non-terrible competition (fouled out against Iowa, 4 fouls against Illinois, MSU, and Ohio, 3 fouls including 2 early against IU).

01/31/2013 - 5:10pm well, that's the thing

A block simply means making contact with and appreciably altering a shot that is subsequently missed; it may or may not result in a change of possession. (And that's one reason to not get too caught up in analysis: a block can be deflected to a defensive teammate for a fast break, knocked into an offensive player's hands for a kind-of Kobe assist, swatted out of bounds, or who knows what, and all of them count as 1 block.)

It's like how blocking a kick doesn't count as a turnover in football. (Even stopping a fourth-down attempt isn't a turnover.) The name of the category is a simplification, so it covers some things it probably shouldn't and doesn't cover some things it probably should.

01/31/2013 - 11:32am 19-20, 95% from the line

I think some of Indiana's stats got compressed when you were writing that intro.

01/30/2013 - 11:24am 87-85 Michigan

in OT.

The cabinet theory isn't particularly interesting. I like the bar fight theory better - corruption of "Whose ear?" - if only because it's dumber and thus more likely to be true.

01/23/2013 - 1:22pm Michigan 84-55

Purdue can't shoot. This isn't a problem in a game where scoring happens when you shoot, right?

10/05/2012 - 2:31pm one note about special teams

Kawann Short is very good at blocking kicks. This is probably not a surprise, given his strength and position, but is worth noting.

10/05/2012 - 1:03pm Morgan Burke's been doing that for 20 years

a little drinking isn't going to change it much. Well, other than the fact that the stadium is uphill from the bars (and some of the tailgating areas). Bad planning.

Burke's approach, and that of George King before him, was that by God this is Big Ten football and you are going to show up. Actually improving the quality of the product on the field wasn't really a consideration (Exhibit A: every single coach under those guys; Tiller had partial success by running an offense people hadn't seen before and getting lucky with Brees, as much as it pains me to say).

Hiring a guy with no I-A experience on nothing more than Tiller's say-so did a lot to kill attendance. True, bar drinking does have a way of keeping people from getting to the game itself, but who wants to sober up watching Purdue fart away a lead against a MAC school or get crushed in Big Ten competition? (Not every game can be as exciting as you-know-which-one ...) And really, there can't be more than a thousand or so in the bars. That wouldn't even make a dent in IU's Memorial Stadium.

Burke seems to assume that he can focus on building competitive programs in other sports (which, TBH, he's done a pretty good job at) and that football will simply take care of itself. Younger fans might prefer to watch BTN; older fans have been through this many times already, thank you, no need to spend money on another 6-6 team. (It was one thing to have optimism in the mid-'80s with Jim Everett, or in the '00s with NFL-caliber QBs and Curtis Painter. Now, though ...) Burke's fortunate that a number of Big Ten schools travel well, or there'd be a much more noticeable drop in attendance.

10/03/2012 - 9:43pm that is easy to explain

aside from his having played for Ohio: Purdue has been less unimpressive, compared to recent seasons, than pretty much all other Big Ten teams, and everyone likes to be the first to spot a potential trend, so he's simply jumping on the bandwagon. Purdue: sucks less than other Big Ten teams. (Also, thanks to Wisconsin's collapse, the East Division is terrible. All Purdue has to do to win the title - ha ha! - is suck less than Wisconsin and then get lucky in the title game. Hope has shown he can get about one good game a year out of the Boilers, although unfortunately for him, they can't play Ohio in Indianapolis - that's who the good game tends to be against.)

Purdue's done a fairly good job containing Denard in the past. That seems less likely this season, given the overall suckiness of the LB corps. But then Borges could easily counter that by calling more I-formation plays and making Denard turn his back on Kawaan Short. Of course, what he should be doing is running a bunch of spread option plays, because ever since Tiller brought basketball-on-grass to West Lafayette, Purdue has been surprisingly unable to defend running QBs, which is pretty weird given that they should be practicing against some of those very same plays every week, yes? (Well, when you have someone like Painter running option plays, it's, uh, not quite the same.)

Marve was definitely the better QB prior to the latest injury, which is why APQBHG struck him down. (With an injured knee, he's most definitely a downgrade from CTB.) Henry is really the worst option of the "three", but don't worry, Gary Nord strongly believes in rotating QBs, because nothing strikes fear in an opposing coordinator's heart like facing the third- or fourth-best QB on the other team, so I'm sure he'll get some snaps Saturday. They will likely be running plays.

Prior to the Marshall game, consensus was that at least Purdue was bashing weaker teams, something they did not do in the past, and possibly, if ND was good, the Boilers might actually have a 7-5 team or something this season ... and with the conference looking so poor, maybe they could make a run. After that game, the usual questions about the defense and Nord's play-calling arose. (Also also, poor special teams play. There's this thing with covering kick and with missing XPs.)

So who knows? Purdue played a solid defensive game in South Bend, and they've moved the ball pretty well against bad competition. If Michigan's defense plays that role, it could be a problem. Purdue also just took a four-touchdown lead against a terrible team and desperately tried to throw it away; if they allow Denard to do what Cato did, they will not have to worry about blowing halftime leads, because they will not have one.

10/01/2012 - 3:10pm back in another life

I saw a game in SEC country against an SEC team, even if it was a bowl game and thus not at all the same thing. (The '87 Peach Bowl, Indiana and Tennessee. This was back when my allegiance was divided among hometown and 10 years of childhood and current school, and only one of those three was providing relatively cheap bowl opportunities.) I don't recall anything obnoxious from Tennessee fans - quite the opposite, actually - but of course Indiana, so even in the Bill Mallory era, I mean, why bother? (And still the Knight era, so anything like "you should go back to playing basketball" would backfire spectacularly.)

I saw two other bowls in SEC country, but neither against an SEC team (Florida State and then-independent South Carolina). It would be fun to go back and see one in a real stadium.

09/14/2012 - 11:53pm Two field goals and a two-point return.

Michigan botches the snap on its eighth TD. A UMass guy grabs the ball and takes off. No one really chases after him because it's 55-6.