This will be head coach Danny Hope's fourth year as the head man in West Lafayette.
The first three years were odd. In Hope's first season, he inherited a team that returned four offensive starters, seven defensive starters and a vicious schedule. Despite long odds, his Boilers pulled the upset of his career by beating Ohio State. They also beat Michigan and came within two points of beating the eventual Pac-10 champ, Oregon, in Eugene.
In his second year, Danny Hope's Boilermakers were decimated by injuries. His team lost its first two quarterbacks and all its halfbacks. Purdue eventually started a true freshman at quarterback and a fullback at halfback. Not surprisingly, the Boilermakers finished 4-8.
Last year, the Boilers lost their quarterback again, though this time, they didn't have to start a true freshman.
When the dust had settled in 2011, Purdue wound up in a bowl game for the first time in Danny Hope's tenure.
Heading into 2012, Purdue has three experienced quarterbacks, a reasonable schedule and no position groups that need an overhaul.
Still, there are questions surrounding Hope's abilities. Most notably, can he coach up a defense or take Purdue past mediocrity?
This season, with Ohio State dealing with sanctions, Penn State experiencing a changing of the guard and Wisconsin in a bit of a down year, the Boilermakers have a unique opportunity to catch everyone off-guard and win the Big Ten Eastern Division.
2011 Record: 7-6
2011 Conference Record: 4-4
2011 Home/Away/Neutral Record: 5-2/1-4/1-0
2011 Record vs. Ranked Teams: 0-2
Record Last Five Seasons: 28-34 (tied for 77th-winningest FBS program over that period of time)
Conference Record Last Five Seasons: 15-25
Home/Away/Neutral Record Last Five Seasons: 20-15/6-19/2-0
Record vs. Ranked Teams Last Five Seasons: 1-14
Best Record Last Five Seasons: 8-5 (2007)
Worst Record Last Five Seasons: 4-8 (2010 and 2008)
Number of Coaches Last 10 Seasons: Two
In his playing days, Danny Hope was an offensive lineman for Eastern Kentucky.
After gaining some early experience in Florida high school ball, Hope worked as an offensive line coach at Louisville. After 10 years as a Cardinal, Hope became offensive line coach at Oklahoma.
He stayed in Norman for a year before Wyoming head coach Joe Tiller hired him to handle O-line responsibilities in Laramie.
When Tiller became the head coach at Purdue in 1997, Hope went with him.
Hope left West Lafayette in 2001 to become assistant head coach at Louisville. After one year in this capacity, he moved back to Eastern Kentucky where he assumed the head coaching job.
After spending five years in Eastern Kentucky, he took the "associate head coaching" job at Purdue, which basically meant that Joe Tiller would be retiring at the end of 2008 and Hope would succeed him.
In 2009, Hope became the 35th head football coach in Purdue's storied history.
In three years, he has compiled a 16-21 record. Last season was his first winning season and his first bowl bid.
At the moment, Hope is in good standing in West Lafayette; however, it remains to be seen how high his predecessor, Joe Tiller, set the bar for the measure of success at Purdue.
Coming next Wednesday, an overview and breakdown of Purdue's offense.
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