Purdue Football 2022: Be Cautious

It has been 159 days since the 2021-22 men’s basketball season ended in infamy. Yeah, I’m still bitter about it. I’ve said it too many times, but despite all the hype and hype to end in that disappointment, it still hurts, especially when we’re a bouncer (2018 Ohio State) and a miracle (2022 Rutgers) win Big Ten four. times in six years.

But how is it related to football? Well, for the first time in what seems like forever, there are real expectations and even hope for a big season this year. Not exactly what it was for basketball, as a national football title and playoff appearance are beyond my wildest dreams, but this can be a banner year. I remember looking at Jeff Brohm’s early recruiting successes and the 2022 schedule several years ago and thinking, “You know, 2022 is shaping up to be a big year.” I felt like his top 30 classes would really come of age this season, and there was even a chance that David Bell and George Karlaftis would still be around.

The 2019 season was plagued with injuries and 2020 can basically be thrown away for everyone. You know it’s a weird year when INDIANA was a Big Ten that held off from playing Northwestern for the conference title.

Then it happened last year.

In every aspect, Purdue football exceeded expectations in 2021. As frustrating as basketball was with its high expectations, football was an absolute joy. We won eight regular season games! We beat an SEC team in a thrilling game of bowling for a ninth win! We beat two top 5 teams! I don’t think anyone had any real complaints, except maybe for the Minnesota game, which might be different if it wasn’t played in the rain.

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When was the last time we looked forward to a Purdue season with such enthusiasm? I’d have to say 2005. We returned a strong defense that year and Brandon Kirsch was a seasoned starter. Purdue started the season in the top 15 and some even talked about us as national title contenders because the schedule didn’t feature Michigan or Ohio State, and the idea of ​​facing them in the Big Ten championship game was a long way off as it didn’t exist yet.

After beating Akron and winning a night game at Arizona, Purdue was 2-0 and headed to the Metrodome to face Minnesota. I went to the Twin Cities for that game and the defense faltered, missing several chances to end the game with one play before losing 42-35 in double overtime. Purdue was then overtaken on national television by Notre Dame, doubled by Iowa, and then fell to Northwestern, Wisconsin and Penn State. He went from national title contender to missing out on a bowl altogether with a 5-6 record.

That team had higher hopes than the 2022 edition, but that doesn’t mean this team will suffer a similar fate. I admit being burnt out on basketball has me on guard for football, but the truth is, this is the best team we’ve had in quite some time. He’s got talent, experience and depth (except in a few places, but that’s true of all but about 5 college football teams). For once, Purdue can be a real contender in the Big Ten West. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that we can play in Indianapolis that first weekend in December.

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I titled this article “Exercising Caution” because of how disappointing basketball was, but if we beat Penn State tomorrow night, the door is wide open for a special season. I still see this as a bowling team. I think anything less than 7-5 is disappointing, but this program’s lack of historical success eases that burden of expectation. Purdue has won nine games in a season just 11 times: 2021, 2003, 1998, 1997, 1980, 1979, 1978, 1966, 1943, 1931 and 1904. It has only won 10 games once, in 1979. Another 9-4 La season would be thoroughly enjoyable, and anything beyond that would rank among the best in school history.

The pieces are there. Aidan O’Connell will shoot the ball a lot and probably break the single-season passing record. The offensive line has finally come together. The defensive secondary appears to be salty. The defensive line is a bit iffy, but it has the pieces to be good. Some key transfers shored up special teams, so this could be a better team on paper than it was last year, even without Bell and Karlaftis.

My cautious optimism says 8-4. Purdue’s entrenched fandom runs deep because we ALWAYS seem to find the banana peel when there’s a breakthrough right there for the taking. Maybe this is the moment when it really comes together. Get to Indy in December and let’s see what happens.

Yes, we are ready to be hurt again.

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