The Boiling Point: Discussion on various Purdue sports topics.
Instead of doing a podcast this week we decided to take the topics we posted yesterday and put each of our opinions about them. Enjoy.
Football making bowl game
Scott- Its been four years since Purdue last went to a bowl game. From a new coach taking over a struggling program, getting to a bowl game is usually the goal in the third/fourth years since that’s when the majority of players will be his recruits. Is it going to be a “lower level” bowl? Yeah, probably the Ticket City Bowl. However, a bowl is a bowl and its a stepping stone for the program as well as you get to keep practicing or watch film and lift if you take breaks from a true practice to heal up. Purdue still could get a quality opponent if #8 Houston somehow loses this weekend; in that case they’ll probably face Purdue. Regardless of what the poll says on the left, not many people though Purdue was going to make a bowl game, especially when Rob Henry went down.
Zach- Going to a bowl game is a big deal for this program, even if it is a “lower-tier” bowl game like the TicketCity Bowl. At the worst, the school gets bowl money (which helps make up for the drop in Ross-Ade attendance under Hope) and an extra 4-5 weeks of practice (20 hours per week, it adds up). Playing in Texas – even if it is at 2 p.m. on a Monday – can’t hurt with recruiting either. The only way this bowl game becomes a problem is if it leads to another four-five years of Danny Hope and Danny Hope doesn’t improve any. Six wins works this year, but six wins again next year? That won’t work. Fans are already disgruntled and Purdue is in a position RIGHT NOW where it has to either extend his contact or cut him lose. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
How we felt about season as a whole compared to our expectations
Scott- Well I predicted a 7-5 record so technically they didn’t meat my expectations. This season can be defined as a roller coaster; there were tons of ups and downs. One week Purdue looks great and can compete or beat anyone in the conference, then the next week they’ll get blown out. Beating OSU who beat Wisconsin and competed against Michigan, where we got blown out by both, is a good example. Even through all those ups and downs, I give credit for still keeping it together to make a bowl.
Zach- I don’t remember my prediction, but I think it was around five wins, so I suppose this team overachieved in that sense. My problem with this season was you never knew what you were going to get each week (other than personal foul calls). The lack of consistency, along with the lack of discipline, really turned me off to this team. One week they’d beat a team like Ohio State and hang with Penn State, but then other weeks they had losses like Iowa, Rice, and the two road blowouts. I think the fact that the team never knew who their fourth-quarter quarterback was going to be kind of demonstrated how deep this inconsistency went with the team.
Will Coach Hope be back?
Scott- I think Coach Hope will definitely be back. I just don’t see how you can fire a coach that just made a bowl game in his third year. Not to mention the message it would send to any other legitimate coach Purdue would want to get. The arguments for and against Hope can be debated to pretty much the same degree. One thing that I think has hurt Hope in the public eye is that not many people liked the hire in the first place. Because of that any mistake he makes is going to be magnified even if coaches on all levels including the NFL make those same mistakes. It’s like Tim Tebow where not many people, including myself, like him as a QB and latch onto all the negatives, but he just wins in the end. Saying Hope “just wins” is obviously a stretch but 6-6 is an improvement.
Zach- I think Hope will be back next season, but I’m not necessarily saying he should (or shouldn’t). I just don’t see who out there Purdue could/would hire that would make fans happy. There are too many teams searching for coaches and not enough “proven” names out there. It’s a seller’s market, and Purdue simply doesn’t have – or won’t spend – the money to get a “big” name. They can’t simply get another guy like Hope and hope it works out better next time. Fans won’t accept that. Tim Beckman? While his offense is exciting, will the casual fan (read: Someone who doesn’t post on message boards) be excited reading that Purdue hired Toledo’s coach? Doubtful.
Why is Sumlin such a popular name to come to Purdue?
Scott- One of the hot names out there that Purdue fans want is Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin. I get the allure of him; Purdue grad and undefeated so far this year. However, a lot of midmajor coaches don’t pan out. For every Urban Myer there are a ton of failures moving to BCS level. Purdue isn’t in the position to just pray that a mid major coach can come in and be an improvement. Though I’m sure the same fans that want him will tear him apart as soon as he fails at anything. Sumlin doesn’t have a good record at Houston without their quarterback, Case Keenum. He didn’t even recruit Keenum actually. Sumlin is winning with the previous coaches talent. Kind of like Ron Zook winning at Florida with Steve Spurrier’s players, he becomes a “hot” name, and goes to Illinois and doesn’t do anything with his own players. I think Purdue needs to go after a proven BCS level coordinator or head coach that has a track record of winning. That’s all assuming that Hope would be fired of course.
Zach- I just don’t get the obsession with Sumlin, other than the Purdue connection (which is a turn-off for me). He didn’t recruit Keenum, nor did he install the offense that they run. People say Hope hasn’t had time to do his thing at Purdue, doesn’t that work the other way with Sumlin at Houston? He started the same year Hope started (recruiting, at least). There isn’t much more to add to this from what Scott already said. Obviously if Purdue hired Sumlin I’d be pumped, and I definitely think he’s an upgrade from Hope, but I don’t think Purdue is instantly a national title contender if he comes here.
#1 QB and IU decommit Gunner Kiel interest
Scott- The top rated high school quarterback in the country, and former Indiana commitment, Gunner Kiel has said he is interested in Purdue. Other schools competing are Notre Dame, Alabama, and LSU. Supposedly Purdue does have a real chance here. He wants to stay close to home(#1 priority), ND has multiple young QBs on roster and coming in from high school, and Alabama and LSU go against what he has said for being close to home. Though Gary Harris said same thing. Do I think Purdue will get him? Probably not, but at least Purdue is in the conversation with some of these top players like Zeke Pike and Deon Bush in addition Kiel.
Zach- Gunner Kiel isn’t coming to Purdue. Frankly, I don’t really want him – he’s already shown more interest in IU and Notre Dame – and I don’t like that he originally committed to IU because they didn’t have any other quarterbacks for him to compete with. He just doesn’t seem like the type of player I’d want to see at Purdue, regardless of rankings.
Basketball season so far
Scott- I’ve been pretty happy with the basketball season so far. Purdue has gotten tested by a bunch of good teams with their one loss to a really good Alabama team. Robbie Hummel looks back to form, Lewis Jackson is rounding out his game at point guard, and Ryne Smith is hot from 3. Anthony Johnson has been great off the bench and the emergence of Jacob Lawson has probably been the biggest surprise. His play looks to have moved Travis Carroll to third on the center depth chart and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting by the end of the year. Xavier is their next big test tomorrow and it should be a really really tough game. Biggest things that need to improve our free throws, rebounding, and defensive consistency.
How to solve basketball attendance issues
Scott- One thing that is becoming glaringly obvious at basketball games this year are the empty seats in the lower bowl; specifically the premium seats. The excuse of start times and distance don’t work either since it happens on the weekends too. Purdue probably shouldn’t have let people buy up to 10-12 tickets at the high donor levels. Here’s one outside the box idea, which means it will never happen because Purdue doesn’t think that way. Maybe Morgan Burke just needs to tell those seat holders that if they don’t show up to the games then he’s going to reevaluate the lower bowl seating, when re-seating comes up again, to get more students down there since they’ll fill up those seats. Before you say that will never happen, Burke already told the Paint Crew leadership before the season, which means before he saw empty seats, that they would reevaluate the Paint Crew seats once this season concludes.
Zach- If people don’t think there is a problem with those empty seats, they’re wrong. It’s embarrassing and it just looks ridiculous to see all the people packed into the sideline sides of the upper bowl, while half the lower bowl is half full because no one sits in the nice seats. I know they’re already paid for, so it doesn’t matter to Purdue that they’re empty, but it’s killing the environment. I think if they really wanted to have those seats, they should have cut out all the gold seats and the first two-three rows of black seats and made that pit area a standing-room only section for students. Pack that with loud kids, while the black seats are raised enough that the high rollers can see without standing up. It’s a win-win. It’s probably too late for that now, but to me it seems like a great compromise Purdue could have made.