2009 Big Ten Team Predictions

Markusr2007Correspondent IMay 25, 2009

Kick off of the 2009 college football season is only 103 days away.
Time for ridiculously early football team predictions that make for great reading amusement in the merry month of May! Here we go:

Penn State
Penn State finished a spectacular football season in 2008 under Joe Paterno, who now enters his 44th year as Nittany Lion head coach. Penn State finished 11-2-0 overall, losing first a nightmarish evening away game to Iowa by a last second FG, and then experiencing a blowout loss at the hands of the USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl. Offensively, Penn State returns only 5 starters in 2009, including explosive senior QB Darryl Clark and star TB Evan Royster. Royster is durable hellion, who rushed for a staggering 1,236 yards and 12 TDs and a 6.5 ypc in 2008. With Clark under center in the spread offense, Penn State steamrolled the competition for 5,426 yards total offense last year. Unfortunately, the offensive line and receiving positions have been hit by graduation and must be reloaded. Wideouts Graham Zug and Brett Brackett must step up their game to replace the the firepower provided by the Butler, Norwood, Williams combo last fall. The TE position is very talented with Andrew Quarless and Mickey Shuler both returning. PSU loses 3 OL starters to graduation including all-star center AQ Shipley. Penn State may field the best defense in the entire Big Ten conference. Leading tackler Aaron Maybin is gone, but the Lions return 7 starters plus star LB Sean Lee comes back into the lineup. The Penn State schedule is covered in frosting and pretty little sprinkles called Akron, Syracuse, Temple and Eastern Illinois. The Lions miss Wisconsin and Purdue on the conference slate. If PSU can rebuild the offensive line and find some decent receivers, then it should be another very happy season in Nittany Valley.
2008 Result: 11-2
2009 Bakery Basket Opponent: Eastern Illinois
2009 Falling Anvil Opponent: Ohio State
Likely Outcome: 10-2, 6-2

Ohio State
In 2008 the Ohio State Buckeyes started the season slow, due to injuries, but seemed to improve as the year wore on right up to the Fiesta Bowl finale loss to Texas. The Buckeyes finished 7-1 in conference play and 10-3 overall. Offensively, QB Terrelle Pryor will run the show in 2009. Despite losing Beanie Wells, Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie to graduation and the NFL, there is more than sufficient talent to reload at every position, thanks to consecutive top 10 recruiting classes by head coach Jim Tressel and staff. The Ohio State offensive line has disappointed at times over the last three years. This year’s group should be much better with Browning, Brewster and Cordle returning, plus Michigan transfer Justin Boren at guard, and Andy Miller possibly playing at tackle. Replacing a power back like Beanie Wells would be a nightmare for most college football programs. Not for Ohio State. The Buckeyes return with tailbacks galore including Daniel “Boom” Herron, Brandon “Zoom” Saine, as well as incoming 5 star freshman Jamaal Berry from Miami, FL to drive OSU opponents “nuts”. Perhaps the biggest reason to watch the Buckeyes this fall is defense because they return 7 starters from a very good unit. Indeed, both LBs Marcus Freeman, and James Laurinaitus may be off to the NFL, along with talented CBs Donald Washington and Malcolm Jenkins, but the Ohio State front four of Worthington, Larimore, Gibson and Heyward may be one of the best in the Big Ten if not the nation. Despite the losses of Washington and Jenkins, the Buckeye secondary has depth and experience. The non-conference schedule will be a challenge - sort of. Toledo and New Mexico State are both dead on arrival opponents. But games versus Navy and USC might at least be interesting viewing. In conference play, the Buckeyes miss both Michigan State and Northwestern. OSU may very well blast through the first 9 games with little if any damage. However, the last three games might be the toughest: At PSU, Iowa, and then at Michigan.
2008 Result: 10-3
Bakery Basket Opponent: New Mexico State
Falling Anvil Opponent: at Penn State, USC, and (dare I say it?) at Michigan
Likely outcome: 9-3, 6-2

Michigan State
There’s a lot of excitement in East Lansing these days following a 9-4-0 season under Mark Dantonio, who is 16-10 so far and entering only his third season. MSU’s 2008 season had a similar start, middle, and end. All were punctuated by disappointing defeats to rather tough opponents. California, Ohio State, Penn State and Georgia all defeated the Spartans in rather convincing fashion. There were high points, however, including glorious wins against Notre Dame, Iowa, in-state rival Michigan and Wisconsin. Things appear to have changed for MSU football in the sense that the psychological problems under John L. Smith seem to be over. The Spartans played tough all year, competed in every game, and never quit regardless of the score. Dantonio deserves credit for this improved team discipline. In 2009, the Spartans return 6 starters on offense, but lose their leading passer (Bryan Hoyer, 2,400 yards) and leading rusher (Javon Ringer, 1,637 yards). Candidates at QB include talented veterans Kirk Cousins and Keith Nichol (an Oklahoma transfer). At running back AJ Jimmerson must pick up the slack for NFL-bound Ringer, or make room for talented 4-star freshmen recruits Edwin Baker and Larry Caper. Defensively, Michigan State still fields a good level of talent and experience, including four outstanding linebackers in Greg Jones, Eric Gordon, Adam Decker and Ryan Allison. The Spartan DL must be rebuilt, however, around star DE Trevor Anderson. If the Spartan defense can anchor the team long enough for the offense to gel, this should be another successful season for Michigan State. In non-conference play, the Spartans will play cupcake-extraordinaire and APR-challenged Montana State, followed by at Notre Dame, Central Michigan and Western Michigan. In conference play, the Spartans miss Ohio State and Indiana, and get to play Twisted (Big?) Sister school Michigan in the Green House.
In 2008, Michigan State’s schedule was the 15th toughest in the land. This year it looks to be even tougher.
2008 Result: 9-4
Bakery Basket Opponent: Montana State
Falling Anvil Opponent: if not Michigan, then at Illinois
Likely outcome: 9-3, 6-2

If there’s one team in the Big Ten that could really surprise people, it would be the Iowa Hawkeyes. And if we find ourselves so surprised come October time-frame, it will be because head coach Kirk Ferentz discovered another spectacular running back on his roster to replace the incredible Mr. Shon Greene. Candidates this fall include Jewel Hampton, Paki O’Meara, Jeff Brinson and Sioux City sensation Brandon Wegher. The good news from 2008, other than the encouraging 9-4-0 finish and a bone-crushing bowl victory over Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks 31-10, is that the Hawkeyes found a great QB to lead the team in Ricky Stanzi. This was important following the departure of former starter Jake Christiansen. Stanzi, in turn, has a group of reliable receivers coming back in ‘09, including star TE Tony Moeaki, WR Marvin McNutt, plus a receiver with arguably the coolest combo-name in all of college football: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos! Most Iowa fans are excited about this coming season, and maybe they have a right to be. Normally, 8 returning starters on offense and 7 returning starters on defense after a 9-4-0 season are good reasons for more than standard optimism. But Iowa simply must find the antidote for stupid losses. For example, yes, Iowa found a way to beat hated rival Iowa State 17-5 last fall in Iowa City, but then lost inexplicably to Pitt by one lousy point. Then the Hawks proceeded to lose to Northwestern by 5 pts at home, to MSU by 3 points on the road, and to Illinois again by 3 points on the road. This same Iowa team then found a way to pull out a rabbit against unbeaten No. 3-ranked Penn State on national television. It’s all rather silly. And not a little bit annoying. This year the Iowa Hawkeye football schedule is going to be merciless. Yes, Northern Iowa and Arkansas State make nice punching dummies. The Hawks drop Illinois and Purdue on the conference slate. But Iowa must run the gauntlet on the road: at Penn State, at Wisconsin, at Michigan State and at Ohio State. Oh, and did I mention the road game at hated Iowa State? The ingredients are certainly there for a very successful season. A Big Ten title is not out of the question here. But if the Hawkeyes do wind up with less than 8 wins it will be because the coaching staff failed to adequately replace tailback Shon Greene and address the problem of “closing the deal”.
2008 Result: 9-4
Bakery Basket Opponent: Arkansas State
Falling Anvil Opponent: at Iowa State and then at Ohio State
Likely outcome: 8-4, 5-3

The Fighting Illini really disappointed in 2008 coming off a 9-4 season and a Rose Bowl visit in 2007 to a 5-7 result in 2008. Tough non-conference road losses to Missouri 42-52 and Western Michigan 17-23 prevented the Illini from bowl contention. In 2009 Illinois will feature 8 returning starters on offense including the most prolific passing attack in the league, led by QB Isaiha “Juice” Williams and WR Arelious Benn. The ground attack will be led by tailbacks Daniel Dufrene and Jason Ford. Ron Zook’s spread formation offense features a battalion of dangerous receivers including Arelious Benn, Jeff Cumberland, Will Judson, AJ Jenkins and Chris Duvalt. Defensively, the Illini return 6 starters including tackling machine Martez Wilson. Illinois finished 9th in the Big Ten against the score allowing 27 points and over 350 yards per game. The guy handling Illinois scheduling should receive a public wedgy on campus. In non-conference play, the Illini must again confront Missouri, followed by powered sugar-coated Illinois State, and an ill-advised road matchup from hell vs. Brian Kelly’s Cincinnati Bearcats. The Illinois close the year versus the rabid rogues from Fresno State. In Big Ten play, Zook’s Illini will miss Iowa and Wisconsin, which is kind of a good thing. With Williams personally responsible for over 3,800 yards and 138 points, the Illini offense has all the firepower it needs to be great this year. The missing ingredient for Illinois' success remains to be the defensive unit, which finished 9th in the league in 2008.
2008 Result: 5-7
Bakery Basket Opponent: Illinois State
Falling Anvil Opponent: at Cincinnati (Yep. And you heard it here first.)
Likely outcome: 7-5, 5-3

Remember when the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team was ranked nationally until November 1, 2008, and then they were defeated in embarrassing fashion by Northwestern 17-24 at home in the Metrodome on national TV? What followed was a painful 5 game death spiral culminating again in defeat, this time at the hands of Big 12 opponent Kansas 21-42 in the Insight Bowl. The Gophers finished the season 7-6. It’s painful to look back and wonder how in the hell a 7-1-0 football team could fall apart and lose 5 straight football games, 3 of which were played at home and/or against substandard opponents. But with the 2008 season now safely in the rear view mirror, it’s also kind of scary to think about what this team might become now that Brewster’s Gophers enter ‘09 with the most returning starters in the league (18). The Gopher offense will be directed by 32 year old offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch who favors pro-set over spread formations. On the field the offense appears to be in great hands with star QB Adam Weber, who has a bucket load of talented targets to throw too like WRs Eric Decker, Ben Kuznia, Brandon Green and TE Jack Simmons. The running game is bolstered by the return of tailbacks DeLeon Eskridge and Shady Salamon. The big question mark has to be the Gopher defense. Former DC Ted Roof has left Minnesota for Auburn. The new DC will be Kevin Cosgrove, for whom Nebraska fans have an overwhelming amount of affection. Cosgrove will have 8 players back on the defensive unit, but minus leading tackler Deon Hightower. Key returnees include DTs Garrett Brown, Eric Small and LB Nathan Triplett. Minnesota’s recruiting classes under Brewster have been impressive so far, so it should not surprise anyone to see more contributions from younger players on offense and defense this fall. The 2009 Gopher football schedule is certainly more masculine than in years past. Air Force is the inaugural opponent for the new TCF football stadium in Minneapolis (I’d like to personally send a huge thank you University of Minnesota and it’s supporters for finally leaving that antiseptic Metrodome! May the Twins soon follow!). California will be a tough non-conference visitor to the new stadium this fall. Game outcomes against Syracuse and South Dakota State will likely be settled in the first 7 minutes of play. In Big Ten play, the Gophers must come to grips with the fact that the two weakest teams in the conference right now, Michigan and Indiana, will not be on the schedule. Normally, coming off a 7-6 season with 18 returning starters is highly encouraging in Big Ten football. Minnesota should be able to move the ball well offensively, but defensively the Gophers have to start stopping people. Minnesota will not have 4 non-conference creampuff games to help attain bowl eligibility. Instead, the Gophers must earn eligibility through Big Ten play.
2008 Result: 7-6
Bakery Basket Opponent: South Dakota State
Falling Anvil Opponent: California
Likely outcome: 7-5

Badger head coach Bret Bielema is 28-11 after 3 years at Wisconsin. Bielema badly needs a solid performance from his Badgers this fall. The bad news is that half of Wisconsin’s 22 starters are gone from the 7-6 team of a year ago, and this unfortunately includes the loss of leading rusher PJ Hill, who accounted for 1,161 rushing yards, and talented receiver Travis Beckum. Good news can be found in the return of starting QB Dustin Sherer and talented speed merchants John Clay and Zach Brown at tailback. WR David Gilreath and TE Garrett Graham both return as the leading receivers for the team, plus wideout Nick Toon is poised to have a break out season for the Badgers. The Wisconsin offensive line will again be huge, experienced and talented, so expect continued emphasis on the running game and ball control in 2009. Defensively, DC Dave Doeren has his work cut out for him with only 5 returning starters this fall. He must find a player to replace LB Jaevery McFadden who led the team in tackles. The Badger defense held opponents to 322 yards per game, which wasn’t too bad. But scoring defense knocked the Badgers to 8th in the league, giving up 25 points per game. The schedule looks pretty favorable for Wisconsin this fall. Northern Illinois and Fresno State will be tough contests, but games versus Wofford and Hawai’i will allow UW’s 2nd and 3rd string guys plenty of playing time. Someone should buy the UW scheduling manager a brewski because the Badgers miss Penn State and Illinois on the conference slate.
2008 Result: 7-6
Bakery Basket Opponent: Wofford (Yes, this is really happening.)
Falling Anvil Opponent: at Ohio State
Likely outcome: 7-5, 3-5

The Wildcats finished 5-3 in the Big Ten and 9-4 overall, and almost shocked the world in a close loss to a tough Missouri Tiger squad in the Alamo Bowl. This year Pat Fitzgerald’s squad returns 13 starters: 5 on offense and 8 on defense. Offensively there are huge shoes to fill with QB CJ Bacher, TB Tyrell Sutton and all of the best Wildcat receivers: Ross Lane, Rasheed Ward and Eric Peterman all graduated. The QB spot will likely be occupied by Mike Kafka who earned a lot of playing time last fall. Kafka is an elusive runner but the jury is still out on his passing skills. Freshman Dan Persa will certainly be on Kafka’s heels during fall practice, and freshman Evan Watkins might get a serious look as well. Jeravin Mathews and Stephen Simmons are capable replacements for Sutton at running back. WRs Andrew Brewer and Jeff Yarbrough have good hands and speed to help spread the field. Defensively, Northwestern loses three outstanding players including the team’s leading tackler, LB Prince Kwateng. Linebacker Malcolm Arrington and devastating nose tackle John Gill have also graduated. The 2009 defense will be bolstered by the return of DE Corey Wooten and LB Quentin Davie. The Wildcat secondary may be one of the most experienced in the conference with Brad Phillips, Brandon Smith and Sherrick McManis all returning. The Wildcat schedule is friendly to say the least. Northwestern misses both Ohio State and Michigan, and will play a list of easy opponents in Towson, Eastern Michigan, Syracuse. Only Miami (OH) might cause Northwestern to work up a sweat. The Wildcat schedule is so full of marshmallowy goodness that it should surprise no one to see Pat Fitzgerald’s team entering Spartan Stadium 5-1 or better on October 17. The latter half of the schedule is brutal, however, particularly the last 4 Wildcat opponents, PSU, at Iowa, at Illinois and Wisconsin.
2008 Result: 9-4
Bakery Basket Opponent: Towson (This is an abomination unto the Lawd.)
Falling Anvil Opponent: at Michigan State
Likely outcome: 6-6, 2-6

A 3-9 record in college football happens to Indiana, Purdue and Northwestern. It doesn’t happen to Michigan. In 2008, the Wolverines officially joined the company of marquee programs like Alabama, USC, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Ohio State by racking up a sub .500 season in football. Michigan’s last losing football season was in 1967, when the head coach was named “Bump”, Pontiac made the coolest cars in the world, and a guy named Johnson was in the White House. In 2008 Rich Rodriguez came on the scene in Ann Arbor and changed just about everything, except the winged helmets and the fight song. Coaches were fired, practice and workout regimes were revamped, the offense was completely changed, and many players left the team. When the smoke finally cleared, Michigan’s record string of 41 straight seasons of gridiron success was ash. The incredible streak of 33 straight bowl game appearances since 1975 also ended. Few Wolverine football fans understand how a traditional and perennial football power like Michigan could go from 9-4 and a butt whipping of power-house Florida in the Capital One Bowl January to be 3-9 a year later 10 months later.

So what happened to Michigan? Let’s review some facts: Entering into the 2008 football season, Michigan returned 2 starters from the 2007 offensive squad, which was a preseason national championship favorite. That incredibly talented ‘07 team with Mike Hart, Chad Henne, Mario Manningham, Jake Long, and Adrian Arrington finished 10th in the Big 10 in total offense (10th in yards per game and 9th in scoring)! Michigan’s 2 returning offensive starters were nominal contributors in 2007: WR Greg Mathews and TE Carson Butler. On defense, Michigan returned only 5 starters from a unit that finished 3rd in total defense (3rd in yards per game and 5th in scoring) in 2007. Michigan’s 2008 schedule was also the 17th toughest in the land. Before kickoff against Utah, preliminary indications were not encouraging.

In 2008 defense was to serve as anchor for the young, inexperienced offensive unit. Instead, the reverse was true. The Michigan offense was the anchor, and it would bust right through the hull as the UM defense tried in vain to bail out the incoming water with a spoon. Injuries plagued the UM backfield almost to a man. Steven Threet, Nick Sheridan, Brandon Minor, Sam McGuffie, Michael Shaw and Carlos Brown were all hurt repeatedly during the season, missing several games, and rarely at 100% health. The offensive line was inexperienced and playing a game of musical chairs with the coaches to find the right fit. To make matters even worse, the Wolverine football team seemed determined to find new ways to turn the ball over and make critical mistakes that placed the UM defense into the most precarious of circumstances possible week after week. Michigan’s offense was perpetually stuck in reverse, averaging a conference low 20 points per game and 290 yards per game total offense. Michigan’s 3rd down success rate was the worst in the league at 27%, placing it in the elaborate company nationally of teams like Toledo (3-9) and Tennessee (5-7).

The Michigan defensive unit, on its 3rd defensive coordinator in just 4 years, played predictably awful. While the Wolverines finished second in the league with 29 sacks in 2008, it gave up an astonishing 29 pts (10th in the Big Ten) and 367 yards per game (9th in the Big Ten). With jaw-dropping defeats to Toledo by a missed FG at home and a 35 point loss to hated rival Ohio State in the Horseshoe, it’s difficult to imagine things getting much worse for Michigan.

2009 holds some measure of promise, however. First, Rich Rodriguez has demonstrated (at least historically) a positive record in year 2 of almost every coaching assignment he has ever had. Rodriguez has managed to land 2 straight solid recruiting classes for the Wolverines in 2008 and 2009. Rodriguez also successfully signed UM’s first class of new preferred walk-on players for the 2009 season, which should help fill out the roster. In 2009 Michigan returns 10 starters on offense and 5 on defense. While UM fans should expect another year of excruciatingly inconsistent play at QB, “inconsistent” should be a major step upward from 2008. As for the quarterback position, 4-star freshman recruit Tate Forcier from San Diego, CA, is the likely starter under center. Forcier has good foot speed, excellent field vision, and surprising throwing accuracy. He enrolled in January and should have a solid grasp of the offense by fall practice in August. The other QB for Michigan might be another freshman, Denard Robinson, who possesses the foot speed of Marvel comic characters, and excellent throwing credentials from operating a spread offense in high school at Deerfield Beach, FL. Veteran UM QB Nick Sheridan also returns to compete in the fall. The entire Wolverine offensive line returns and should play considerably better, with greater depth, experience and competition than ever before as each UM OL player must learn to play multiple positions. The Wolverine backfield is quite good with Brandon Minor, Carlos Brown, and Michael Shaw all returning, and a talented crop of underclassmen behind them. Martavious Odoms, Terrance Robinson, Greg Mathews, Kevin Koger and JR Hemingway bless the Wolverines with both speed and good hands at receiver positions.

As previously stated, defensively Michigan will have its 4th defensive coordinator in 5 years in Greg Robinson. Robinson was the former HC at Syracuse, and was a successful DC at both UCLA and the Denver Broncos. The Wolverines return leading tackler Jonas Mouton at LB as well as All-Big Ten candidates DE Brandon Graham and LB Obi Ezeh, and senior Stevie Brown moving from safety to LB. The Michigan secondary played poorly in 2008, but has some experience returning with Donovan Warren, Michael Williams and Boubacar Cissoko. Troy Woolfolk and the two freshman Vlad Emilien and Justin Turner are likely to see early action.

Western Michigan and Notre Dame will be tough non-conference opponents, but both face Michigan in the Big House. Eastern Michigan and Delaware State should serve as confidence-building wins. In conference play, missing Northwestern and Minnesota probably doesn’t advance Michigan’s cause very much. To become bowl eligible Michigan must find a way to dramatically reduce turnovers, improve special teams play, not to mention score an incredible amount of points just to keep a thin defensive unit off the field. The lack of depth and experience at quarterback, DL, LB and secondary are all worrisome combinations that don’t bode well for Rodriguez in year 2. However, there should be just enough talent and experience offensively that the Michigan team can fully concentrate on defeating opponents on Saturday afternoon, rather than defeating itself. As fragil as the Michigan team might be this fall, opponents would be wise not to take the Wolverines too lightly.
2008 Result: 3-9
Bakery Basket Opponent: Delaware State
Falling Anvil Opponent: Notre Dame, at Wisconsin
Likely outcome: 7-5, 4-4

Indiana finished 1-7 in conference play and 3-9 overall in 2008. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to imagine Bill Lynch’s 2009 squad improving on that result. On the positive side, Indiana returns 16 starters for 2009, 8 on offense and 8 on defense. Defensively, a cast of good players return, including DEs Jammie Kirlew, Greg Middleton and Ryan Marrando and leading tackler on the team LB Matt Mayberry. The secondary is fortified with the experience of CB Chris Adkins, FS Joe Kleinsmith. Indiana gave up an embarrassing 35 points and over 432 yards per game, but the defense should improve with a year of more experience under its belt. Offensively, however, Lynch has to be concerned. Starting QB Kellen Lewis, who passed for 1131 yards, 6 TDs, 8 INTs and rushed for 500 more, has been kicked off the football team. Tailback Marcus Thigpen, who led the team in rushing with 631 yards and 7 TDs has graduated. Replacing Thigpen will be a running back-by-committee arrangement using the services of Bryan Payton and Demetrius McCray. The all-important quarterback role in the Hoosier spread offense will be manned by Ben Chappell, who also passed for over 1000 yards, threw 3 TDs, 4 INTs and rushed for 3 TDs himself last year. The non-conference schedule offers the Hoosiers little relief. Eastern Kentucky and Akron are probable wins, but cue the scary music once Western Michigan and Virginia come on deck. The Hoosiers do not play Michigan State or Minnesota. Indiana is going to show some slight improvement defensively in 2009 given their increased experience along the DL and secondary. Offensively, I expect the Hoosiers to play at least as well as last year with Chappell under center. I do think Indiana will beat rival Purdue in Bloomington come November, but that may not be enough for Lynch and staff to keep their jobs.
2008 Result: 3-9
Bakery Basket Opponent: Eastern Kentucky
Falling Anvil Opponent: at Penn State
Likely outcome: 3-9, 1-8

Dan Hope takes over for Joe Tiller as head coach of the Purdue Boilermakers in 2009.
Purdue finished 2-6 in conference play and 4-8 overall in Tiller’s final season. Tiller didn’t leave the cupboard bare, but the Boilermakers do lose a lot of fire power with only 5 starters returning offensively. Hope must somehow make do without the services of QB Curtis Painter, TB Kory Sheets and WR Greg Orton. Joey Elliott is the heir apparent at QB while Caleb TerBush and Justin Siller may serve as capable backups. The absence of Sheets at running back provides opportunity for talented Jaycen Taylor (recovering from knee injury), Ralph Bolden and freshman Al-Terek McBurse to deliver the mail. WRs Keith Smith and Aaron Valentin are fast and dangerous targets that produce well in games. Defensively, Purdue returns 7 starters including LBs Joe Holland and Chris Carlino. The Purdue secondary may be one of the most experienced and eldest in the Big Ten with 4 senior starters returning, including Dwight McLean, Torri Williams, David Pender and Brandon King as starters. The Boilermaker schedule is a mixed bag of sadomasochism. Sure, the Boilermakers open up versus Toledo in Ross-Ade Stadium. But then some numbskull went and scheduled Oregon, Northern Illinois and Notre Dame in succession. Purdue successfully dodges both Penn State and Iowa in conference play.. The interesting observation will be Purdue’s play down the stretch and whether the team can avoid key injuries. Tiller’s finale as Purdue head coach came in the form of a 62-10 drubbing of their rival, the Indiana Hoosiers, in West Lafayette for the Old Oaken Bucket. That humiliation is unlikely to stand.
2008 Result: 4-8
Bakery Basket Opponent: Toledo
Falling Anvil Opponent: at Indiana
Likely outcome: 2-10, 0-8

It hath been foretold!