While the season hasn't even begun yet, much speculation rises on the security of Purdue coach Danny Hope. In his first two seasons in West Lafayette, the Boilermakers are a dismal 9-15, and are currently on a six-game losing streak entering the 2011 campaign.
Injuries struck the team last season, and have already begun this season with the absence of Rob Henry. In the midst of this, many questions have arisen about Hope, who hasn't had the most spectacular recruiting classes or ability to close out close games.
During the 2009 season, the Boilers lost five games by one possession or less. Some of these games left Purdue fans wondering what Hope was thinking (see timeout call against Notre Dame before the 4th down touchdown pass) but at least the team was in a position to be competitive.
The Boilermakers also accomplished an impressive feat when the team took down both Ohio State and Michigan in the same season. However, later that year they let a MAC team come into their stadium and beat them.
In 2010, Hope had some momentum with Rob Marve coming in at quarterback, but the injuries would soon start to roll in. Hope faced adversity and started the year strong going 4-2. However they lost a not-so-competitive game to Notre Dame, and again dropped a should be win to a MAC opponent.
While it looked like Hope would finally turn the corner as a coach, the wheels came off. Six straight ugly loses, capped off by IU coming to Lafayette and taking the Bucket.
While the season hasn't started, I feel the time would be right after this season to make a marquee hiring and establish Purdue as a true threat in the Big Ten. Hope's time has just about ran out in West Lafayette, and it is time for a change of direction. Here is a list of some available names who could make for either an interesting story, a solid fit, or a fantasy that will never happen.
This is me being a wishful thinker. Bellotti is going to be in high demand after this coming season. As predecessor to Chip Kelly, he brought Oregon to where they are now and started the winning attitude in Eugene.
As a head coach, Bellotti is 137-80-2, a very respectable 62.5 winning percentage. He is also 6-6 in bowl games as a head coach.
While he is currently an analyst and out of coaching, Bellotti is someone who I expect to see back in coaching in the next year. He is an experienced recruiter, a respected coach, and someone who, given the right situation, could build another team the right way like he did at Oregon.
It would be a far stretch to see someone this established come to West Lafayette. but if Morgan Burke wants to keep his job, he needs to go out and make a high profile hire to commit to the football program, something we haven't seen at the Boiler Nation.
We can't afford to hope to hit gold like we did with Tiller, especially with the hype building in Bloomington.
Bryan Harsin is one of the co-offensive coordinators at Texas. This sets up a perfect former Texas vs Oklahoma rivalry into the Purdue vs Indiana battle for the right to be called the second best program in the state.
Now I know this is Harsin's first season in Austin, but there would still be a rivalry feel to it. But while this would provide for a lot of good stories leading up to the initial meeting of the two, lets not completely balk at what he brings to the table.
Harsin is the former offensive coordinator at Boise State. He is slowly rising through the ranks as a guy who wins, and develops a lot of talent and utilizes it well.
Ever heard of a guy named Kellen Moore? Harsin coached him as his coordinator and quarterback coach during his time in Boise.
They run a very pass-oriented offense, something which goes back to when Tiller was at the helm, and gives them a fun offense which should be able to compete in the Big Ten.
I personally like this move because he is a young coach who played quarterback in college. He has worked with one of the most accurate quarterbacks in recent era, in Moore, and seems to be the fitting coach to bring the next era to the "Cradle."
Why would he come to Purdue you may ask? Fair enough. However, how many people would have seen Kevin Wilson leave a top coordinator job to coach at Indiana?
If Texas can rebound this season into an eight win team, if I were sitting behind Burke's desk, Harsin would be near the top of my list to call.
Once upon a time, Mike Haywood was on the fast track to success. The former Notre Dame offensive coordinator found considerable success in that role, leading the Irish to some of their greatest offensive seasons in history.
While debates were held on whether it was Haywood or Weis who deserved the credit, Haywood was given his first head coaching opportunity.
Oxford, Ohio and Miami University were not in a good football state of mind, with their football team finishing a dismal 1-11 in 2009.
They fired their coach and brought in Mike Haywood, who brought in a winning attitude that showed through the team and how they approached the game of football. That next season, Miami went on to win the MAC, along with a bowl game against Middle Tennessee State, and finishing 10-4.
Now controversy engulfs Haywood, as a domestic violence charge got him fired as the head coach at Pitt before he could even start the job.
While he comes with a lot of baggage, once upon a time, Haywood was a man on the rise, who brought a winning attitude wherever he went. He might be a wild card, but I think Purdue might need to take a chance on a big move in order to take the next step forward in the Big Ten.
Here is another coach with controversy in his past. Mike Leach obviously comes with baggage after his falling out with Texas Tech over allegations of hazing a player.
I can see how Purdue would not want to make that IU mistake and hire the next Kelvin Sampson (can you hear me now?). However, their might still be a little bit of magic left in this crazy man's head.
Once upon a time, Texas Tech was a play away from the national championship game. Leach's offense is going to come out and throw the ball all over the field and he will challenge you to stop it. Somehow though, nobody ever seemed able to stop it!
How fitting would it be to have an air raid offense to go along with the Cradle of Quarterbacks? It might be a match made in heaven or hell, but as I said before, Purdue might need to shake things up a bit and try for something risky.
Here is the story of an Indiana guy who has been out of coaching for three years. Fans have always been intrigued as to whether or not Gruden would transition back to the college game, and I think now may be the time where we see it happen.
His work with the NFL and the NFL Draft focuses around the quarterback position, where we see him break down the tape of each individual quarterback. This shows that he still knows how to run the college game and how to be successful.
As stated earlier, Gruden is an Indiana guy, (albeit he is more specifically a Notre Dame guy being from South Bend). However, there is no reason to think that the Purdue job might not hold a little bit of intrigue.
He is familiar with the area, is a name that recruits will know, and he has the experience at the next level coaching to get high-profile recruits.
On top of that his breakdown of quarterback films shows that the guy is going to put in the time and be able to breakdown not only tape of his opponents and how to exploit their weaknesses, but also how to fix their lapses and build upon his own team's strengths.