Purdue Betting Odds Preview
The Purdue Boilermakers have done little more than tread water over recent seasons, going 22-28 since head coach Joe Tiller left town, splitting two minor bowl games. Purdue is also just 13-19 in Big Ten play over that span, and that wasn't good enough to keep head coach Danny Hope on the job. So the Boilers now go forward with another new coach, Darrell Hazell, plucked from the MAC. Can he revitalize this once-proud program?
Purdue had 14 starters back last year from a team that went 7-6 in 2011, so a return to a bowl seemed like a good bet. And while those expectations were met, it didn't come easy. The Boilers started 3-1, the only loss coming by a field goal to Notre Dame. But they then began their Big Ten slate with five straight losses.
Purdue got blown out by Michigan (by 31 points), Wisconsin (by 24), and Penn State (by 25), and lost to lowly Minnesota. But it played Ohio State surprisingly tough, giving up a late score and two-point conversion that forced overtime, before eventually falling 29-22. PU then won its last three games over three of the weaker sisters of the Big Ten, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, to get to 6-6. And these days that's enough to go to a bowl game.
The Boilers then got bounced by Oklahoma State 58-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl to finish 6-7 both SU and ATS. This year Hazell, who almost took Kent State to a BCS bowl last year, takes over a team that returns 13 starters. Just five starters are back on offense, as the Boilers lose two quarterbacks and last year's leading rusher and receiver, but eight starters are back on defense, including six of last season's top seven tacklers. But that defense got gouged for 416 YPG last year, so improvement is needed on that side of the ball. While Purdue has some talent, its schedule might keep it from getting back to a bowl this year.
The Boilers open at Cincinnati, and later host Notre Dame and Northern Illinois (which just beat Hazell's Golden Flashes in the MAC championship game last November to earn a berth in the Orange Bowl). Purdue then begins Big Ten play at Wisconsin, later visits Michigan State, Penn State, and what might be a decent Indiana squad, and hosts Nebraska, Ohio State, Iowa, and Illinois. Conceivably, the Boilers might be favored in as few as four games this season.
Big Ten Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of August 5
Ohio State -115
Michigan State +800