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Purdue Boilermakers Football Preview: Predicting the 2016 football season

Many people inside and out of the Purdue Boilermakers football family believe that the Darrell Hazell era has gone on long enough. Results just aren’t there and the list of excuses is as long as we’ve got words for you to read.

That means, it is likely put up or shut up time for Hazell in his fourth year on the job for the Boilermakers. Will he get the job done or will father time run out on him in West Lafayette, Ind.?

Let’s see how our talking10 staff sees things happening for the Boilermakers in 2016 then.

2016 Purdue Boilermakers Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 3
Colonels Eastern Kentucky Colonels
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 10
Bearcats Cincinnati Bearcats
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 17
OFF
Saturday
Sep. 24
Wolf Pack Nevada Wolf Pack
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 1
Terrapins at Maryland Terrapins
Maryland Stadium, College Park, MD
3:30pm ET
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 8
Fighting Illini at Illinois Fighting Illini
Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 15
Hawkeyes Iowa Hawkeyes (HC)
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
Noon ET
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 22
Cornhuskers at Nebraska Cornhuskers
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 29
Nittany Lions Penn State Nittany Lions
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 5
Gophers at Minnesota Golden Gophers
TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 12
Wildcats Northwestern Wildcats
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 19
Badgers Wisconsin Badgers
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 26
Hoosiers at Indiana Hoosiers
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets

*courtesy of FBSchedules.com

 

vs. Eastern Kentucky Colonels
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

The Colonels aren’t exactly a FCS perennial power, finishing last season with a 6-5 record and will be breaking in a new head coach. Regardless of all that, EKU shouldn’t be much of a test for even this Purdue team.

vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

As much as the first game won’t be a test, Cincinnati aren’t the sleeping Bearcats they once were and on paper actually may be the more talented team. That being said, history suggests these types of games are major trouble for Purdue. Just look at Marshall last season for example. Unless something major changes, look for this game to set an ugly tone for Big Ten play.

vs. Nevada Wolfpack
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

The once proud Wolfpack program has taken an interesting turn as of late. Had this been three or four years ago it could’ve been an easy pick for a loss for this particular Boilermakers team. Instead, Nevada has slid back to the Mountain West mean on paper. However, don’t buy in that this won’t be a severe test for Purdue. There’s a new offensive system in place and the pistol-spread attack could give fits to an already thin Boilermakers defense. That said, a long trip from the mountains of Nevada to Indiana is enough to put Purdue over the edge in a tricky matchup.

at Maryland Terrapins
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

Unanimity for the staff on this pick…and that should tell you a lot about where this Purdue program is. Maryland was one of the worst offensive teams in the Big Ten last season and could barely beat a bruised and battered Rutgers on the final day of the season last year to avoid going winless in conference play. There seems to be more hope and more importantly, more talent spread out amongst the Terps than the Boilermakers…to the home team go the spoils in this tantalizing matchup.

at Illinois Fighting Illini
Andy: Loss
Dave: Win
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

A road victory for Purdue? Bold pick by Dave, but this has to be a game Purdue picks up if it wants any chance of saving head coach Darrell Hazell his job. For me, this pick isn’t just about who is playing whom where. Instead, it is all about talent and with Wes Lunt looking much more his old self this spring at quarterback for Illinois, I’m going to trust the more stable situation at QB to get the job done.

vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

Defending West division champions vs. the bottom feeders? Sure, the upset could happen…then again, the sky could fall out of the sky and the sun turn in to the moon too. As long as C.J. Beathard and the linebacking group are healthy, this is going to be a no-doubter on the schedule. Purdue looses big in this one.

at Nebraska Cornhuskers
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

As much as coaches don’t want to say they use “revenge” as a motivating factor, there is no way in hell Mike Riley doesn’t use the memory of last seasons embarrassing loss to Purdue as motivation for this game in Lincoln. There’s also no way in hell he can take a loss to the Boilermakers two seasons in a row and be likely to keep his job at Nebraska either. Look for this to be a “hide the kids” type of contest as the Huskers roll through Purdue.

vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

Penn State may not be world beaters, but they certainly are in a different class than this current crop of Purdue Boilermakers. Maybe home field allows for an upset like it did against Nebraska last season and if there is a team ripe for it, it could be the revamping and pressurized Nittany Lions. That said, the PSU defense is still really good and it has someone named Saquon Barkley going up against a bad rushing defense. Penn State all day.

at Minnesota Gophers
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

Road games in November are always tricky affairs in Big Ten country. There’s travel and weather concerns, not to mention playing a team that could be in a fight for their Big Ten title hopes’ survival. Minnesota is a criminally underrated team heading in to the season in my book, and with an improved and healthy Mitch Leidner at quarterback it could be a very interesting year in Minneapolis. Purdue goes in hopeful, comes away with another loss (marking 6 straight B1G losses to start the season in my view).

vs. Northwestern Wildcats
Andy: Loss
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Loss

A complete disagreement amongst the staff on this one and it is easy to see why. Personally, this was the toughest game to call on Purdue’s schedule because we simply don’t know where the defensive and offensive lines stand on either team. What I do know is that Northwestern has out-recruited Purdue consistently over the last five years and the depth and talent of said depth is greater than the Boilermakers. Come mid-November that matters. So…with that idea in mind, give me the visiting Wildcats over Purdue.

vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

Wisconsin with an offensive line back to old form, a star back from injury at running back and one of the nation’s stingiest defenses over the last decade? Of course this is going to be a loss for the Boilermakers. Unless the strange happens, and lord knows it has happened plenty of times in West Lafayette, Ind. between these two teams. I’m not counting on the strange happening, unless is QB1 for Wisconsin being the only player in the backfield that is also in the end zone at any point in this game for UW.

at Indiana Hoosiers
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Win
Zach: Loss

As the saying goes…”you can throw the records out when these two rivals get together.” It is true in the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket though, especially as of late. Home field matters and so does the greater talent of the Hoosiers on the offensive side of the ball. Both teams have plenty of issues on defense, but again…recruiting matters and Indiana has certainly stepped up its game there. Don’t be surprised to see the Hoosiers fighting for a bowl berth and that means this game means more to them and equals a win for me.

 

OUR PREDICTED 2016 BIG TEN STANDINGS: 

West:
1.
2.
3.
4. Minnesota (Andy)
5.
6. Purdue (tie – Dave)
7. Purdue (Andy/Zach/Kevin)

East:
1.
2. Michigan State (Andy/Dave)
3. Michigan State (Zach)
4.
5.
6.
7.

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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