Little Caesars Bowl: What This Game Means to the Purdue Football Program

James Evens@JamesEvensCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2011

MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 05:  Head coach Danny Hope of the Purdue Boilermakers watches as his team takes on the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Madison Wisconsin.  Wisconsin defeated Purdue 62-17.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Purdue finished this season with a record of 6-6 and found themselves bowl eligible for the first time since Curtis Painter led the Boilermakers to a bowl in 2007. 

With Purdue headed to Detroit for the Little Caesars Bowl once again, this could be a huge turning point for a program that has suffered a plethora of losing seasons over the last five years, this could be a win or loss that tells everyone where Purdue is headed in the future.

With a lot of heat still on his back, even after making a bowl game, Danny Hope definitely needs a win in this game.

With his contract going up for review right after the bowl game, it could be essential for Hope to win this game to retain his job after three years at Purdue going 15-21. Hope's job is likely on the line, but if Purdue stays competitive in the game, he will likely be with the team for at least another season.

With a program that seems to be celebrating mediocrity and lowering attendance numbers, Purdue needs to change the culture of the program by winning this game. However, this game means a lot win or lose.

If a loss is recorded to a MAC school, Purdue will have the opportunity to switch things up on the sidelines and bring in someone new to get Purdue back to the prominence it once had in the Big Ten.

With the success of Purdue players in the NFL, especially at the quarterback and linebacker position, Purdue shouldn't have much trouble recruiting players and getting talent into the school.

The issue seems to be the recruiting style and methods of the current coaching staff, and if success isn't found in the bowl game this season, Purdue could be forced to make a change.

Either way, this bowl game is very important to the Boilermakers. Either win the game and jump start a fatigued fan-base, or lose the game and re-energize the base with a new coaching staff. The Boilermakers have a lot on the line in this one.