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Purdue Boilermakers Football Preview: Predicting the 2015 season

Winning games against FBS teams was certainly a step up for the Purdue Boilermakers in 2014, but as Darrell Hazell leads his third team things need to trend dramatically upward or it could be trouble in West Lafayette.

That all leads us to looking at the 2015 schedule and figuring out that answer.

Other Big Ten Predictions:
WestIowa | Northwestern | Minnesota | Illinois | Nebraska
EastMichigan | Rutgers | Penn State | Indiana

Let’s get right in to the 2015 season and see how our crack staff sees it all playing out.

2015 Purdue Boilermakers Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Sunday
Sept. 6
Thundering Herd at Marshall Thundering Herd
Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV
3:00 p.m. ET
FS1
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 12
Sycamores Indiana State Sycamores
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
12:00 p.m. ET
ESPNews
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 19
Hokies Virginia Tech Hokies
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
3:30 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 26
Falcons Bowling Green Falcons
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 3
Spartans at Michigan State Spartans
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
12:00 p.m. ET
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 10
Gophers Minnesota Golden Gophers
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 17
Badgers at Wisconsin Badgers
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
12:00 p.m. ET
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 24
Open Date
Saturday
Oct. 31
Cornhuskers Nebraska Cornhuskers
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 7
Fighting Illini Illinois Fighting Illini (HC)
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
12:00 p.m. ET
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 14
Wildcats at Northwestern Wildcats
Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 21
Hawkeyes at Iowa Hawkeyes
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 28
Hoosiers Indiana Hoosiers
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Dec. 5
Big Ten Big Ten Championship Game
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
8:00 p.m. ET
FOX
Buy
Tickets

*courtesy FBSchedules.com

at Marshall
Andy — Win
Dave — Win

Any team losing a quarterback that puts up 3,900 yards and 40 touchdowns is going to have trouble replacing him. Such is Marshall’s case, and even if this game is on the road that is advantage Purdue. Look for this to be a tone-setter for the Boilermakers, and we both se it as a good tone being set in the form of a road win.

vs. Indiana State
Andy — Win
Dave — Win

Indiana State is a very good FCS program, but it is also a program very familiar to Purdue and that means the Boilermakers won’t take this group lightly. The question is, can one of the top FCS programs give Purdue’s questionable defense enough trouble early on and pull off the upset? Simple answer — NO. Purdue has turned the roster over and honestly it appears things are better. It just won’t reflect much beyond this week.

vs. Virginia Tech
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

All the positive feelings of a two-game win streak to start the season are going to crash back down to earth in this contest against the Hokies. Both teams are in interesting spots with transition happening at key spots, but Va Tech has the pedigree to make it more like replace not rebuild. While this game is in West Lafayette, don’t expect an upset in the making.

vs. Bowling Green
Andy — Loss
Dave — Win

This is where things get tricky for the Boilermakers, because any real progress or stalling of the season will come down to this contest. Bowling Green can’t be taken lightly, finishing last season 8-6 overall and 5-3 in MAC play. However, that was a rebuilding year for the program and it was dealing with a season-ending injury to star quarterback Matt Johnson. Look for this team to compete at the top of the MAC East this season, and that spells trouble in West Lafayette. The Falcons are loaded on offense and actually may the biggest test to the Boilermakers defense, a test that D is going to fail in my estimation.

at Michigan State
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

If there’s one thing I know about the Purdue season in 2015 it’s that it gets few breaks on the scheduling front. Getting Michigan State off the heels of a loss to Bowling Green certainly counts as that. Sparty rolls and it isn’t likely to be pretty in East Lansing.

vs. Minnesota
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

Back-to-Back losses aren’t fun as the meat of the schedule comes, but three-straight losses? You can bet people are going to be calling for Hazell’s head. After a crazy 39-38 loss to Minnesota in Minneapolis, the Gophers make a statement that they are in the West division race for real. The Gopher defense is potent and with Jeff Jones in the mix at wide receiver the offense could be more dynamic than it has been in the past, which spells trouble for Purdue.

at Wisconsin
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

Darrell Hazell’s march towards the unemployment line continues thanks to the Big Ten schedule makers. Seriously? MSU, Minnesota and Wisconsin all in a row…why not just throw in Nebraska (oh just you wait, they are next) and some Ohio State in the mix for good measure. Purdue has historically struggled with games in Madison and the 2015 season won’t be any different as the Badgers roll.

vs. Nebraska
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

Oh, you thought I was kidding that Nebraska was up next? Nope, and if you’re counting at home, this marks a five-game losing streak as October ends. While Mike Riley’s bunch has plenty of questions to answer as the season begins, I fully expect those things to be sorted out and the Huskers looking to make up for an early season loss to Wisconsin. That’s bad news for Purdue.

vs. Illinois
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

Really this is Purdue’s first chance to see a winnable game on the schedule. Illinois’ defense has been equal to the disaster that is Purdue’s. This game is even at home. So why am I not seeing this as a win for the Boilers? Simply put, Wes Lunt and the Illini offense is going to torch this Purdue defense, while Purdue’s offense can’t sit here today and claim to be anything close to explosive. Give me the better offense against a terrible defense any day.

at Northwestern
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

If I’m right, this could be the week we see Darrell Hazell gone from the Purdue program. Not only is a five-game Big Ten losing streak unacceptable at this point in time during a coaching tenure, but especially so when you’re looking to build something strong. Hazell may or may not coach this game, but he won’t survive it and that has a lot to do with Justin Jackson at running back and this game being in the vortex of the Big Ten that is Ryan Field.

at Iowa
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

With Hazell likely out or at least the sharks circling until the end of the season, it won’t matter where these two teams stand. Make it a seven-game losing streak here as a trip to Iowa City is never fun, and likely not so for even the best of Big Ten teams at times. The outside distractions of questions about Hazell’s status as a head coach or who will replace him full-time are likely to be in full swing. C.J. Beathard has himself a career game amidst all that and the Hawkeyes earn a much-needed win.

vs. Indiana
Andy — Loss
Dave — Loss

This could be the rally game for the Boilermakers of 2015, given it’s an in-state rivalry and it may be the chance to send Hazell out a winner. It’s not going to happen, especially if Nate Sudfeld is still upright and throwing passes. Additionally, I expect the Hoosiers defense to be much improved this season and that isn’t good news for an offense that could struggle in West Lafayette. The Old Oaken Bucket goes to Bloomington and the Hazell era ends (if he’s actually still around) on a very sour note.

Purdue’s 2015 Final Record/Big Ten Finish:

Andy: 2-10 (0-8)/7th in Big Ten West
Dave: 3-9 (0-8)/7th in Big Ten West

Our Predicted 2015 Big Ten Standings: 

West:
1.
2. Minnesota Gophers (Andy)/Nebraska Cornhuskers (Dave)
3. Iowa Hawkeyes (Dave)/Nebraska Cornhuskers (Andy)
4. Iowa Hawkeyes (Andy)/ Minnesota Gophers (Dave)
5. Illinois Fighting Illini (Dave)/Northwestern (Andy)
6. Northwestern Wildcats (Dave)/Illinois (Andy)
7. Purdue Boilermakers (Andy/Dave)

East:
1.
2.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions (Andy/Dave)
4. Michigan Wolverines (Andy/Dave)
5. Indiana Hoosiers (Andy/Dave)
6.
7. Rutgers (Andy/Dave)

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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