Purdue has a new coach this year because Jeff Brohm, for whatever reason, decided to skedaddle himself down to Louisville, Kentucky. Not sure why. Doesn’t matter. He’s gone. [I have since learned he’s Louisville] He didn’t do a whole lot for Purdue. No, I shouldn’t say that, he did something for Purdue. He made Purdue into a solid team. He was a decent coach. He got Purdue to the Big Ten Championship. Unfortunately lost, but he did manage, in that whole scuffle last season for the west division, he did manage to put his team on top and won the right games. But then he left so now he means nothing.
The new coach, Ryan Walters, is a brand new, fresh coach. This is his first head coaching position. He’s only 14 years out of college. Only? He’s 14 years out of college. He played for Colorado; he was a safety. He’s been a positions coach, a defensive coach, and he just came from Illinois, so he’s been working with Brett Bielema. Brett Bielema has been bringing Illinois up and I think he’s going to make Illinois a dominant team. Brett was the coach of Wisconsin for a while. He’s a fantastic coach. He builds strong teams which is why I think Illinois is going to be a big team here in the west division real soon if not this season.
Ryan Walters comes into Purdue the Boilermakers, The Spoilermakers we call them sometimes because they have that record of knocking out top five teams which is fantastic. Pundits are wondering why they went with Ryan Walters. Like I said he’s an untried coach, he doesn’t have head coaching experience and Purdue is a team that was actually moving ahead they needed an experienced coach and they’re not getting one in Ryan Walters. Doesn’t mean he won’t do well; doesn’t mean he isn’t going to come out of the gate as a phenom and totally tear up the west division. It does make you wonder if they saw a spark in him or if they’re just trying to start out fresh and see what they can do.
The question is, essentially for Walters, is the pressure going to break him? Because you know becoming a head coach at any school really is going to be a big deal. Being a head coach at a Big Ten team is a bigger deal.
The non-conference season is fairly interesting for Purdue. They’re going to go up against Fresno State as the first game. Now normally I think that you know those non-conference games are just sort of practice games for Big Ten teams. That’s becoming less and less the case although I guess Michigan is being chastised for their non-conference games this year. Fresno State went 10-4 last year. They won the Mountain West Conference championship game, and Jeff Tedford is going to be in his fifth year. So they’ve got a seasoned coach, they’ve got a seasoned Championship winning team and that’s Ryan Walter’s first game. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him.
The next game is Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech was 3-8 last year. I’m going to call that a win for Purdue.
Syracuse was 7-6 last year but they were ranked as high as 14. They dropped out of the rankings. They lost their bowl game to Minnesota, at the Pinstripe Bowl. So yeah Syracuse is still going to be a tough game for Purdue, but definitely a winnable one.
In Big Ten play, they’re going to start out against Wisconsin. Wisconsin has a new coach, Luke Fickell, but Luke Fickell isn’t exactly new. He coached Cincinnati and he had a 57-18 record over there and did remarkably well. That’s going to be a tough game.
Illinois, Brett Bielema, who almost beat Purdue last year to go to the Big Ten Championship.
Iowa is always tough, always solid, but middle of the road and then they’ve got Ohio State, and Nebraska. Nebraska has a new coach, so there’s potential there. Then they’ve got Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, and Indiana.
You’ve got a lot of solid tough games here. I think you get a couple of wins out of this, maybe five wins give or take. I think he ends up 5-7 for the season, Ryan Walters has a hard road ahead of him, but I think he can get himself a few wins, for the team and for the players and build from there. He’s got solid talent on the team and he’s got solid education as far as training as a coach. He’s just never been a head coach before so I’m interested to see what he does.
I hope he does well I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Purdue just being the Spoilermakers you never really know if they’re going to ruin your season or if it’s going to be a win for another team. It’s fun to watch. They make the game fun. They make the game interesting and we’ll see what happens