The Purdue Boilermakers finished up the 2015 campaign with a record of just 2-10. That gives them an overall mark of 6-30 in the 3 years under head coach Darrell Hazell.
To the Boilermakers credit they were close in a number of games. They had a lead with less than 4 minutes to play in a 31-41 loss to Marshall in the opener. They lost on a last second touchdown at home to Bowling Green. Had a chance to pull off a major upset in a 21-24 defeat at Michigan State. As well as a 7-point loss at Northwestern.
This may be a make or break season for Hazell. Unfortunately for him the outlook looks bleak for 2016. While Purdue may have it’s best team in his tenure, it might not be enough. The Boilermakers lack the talent to beat the top teams and face a brutal schedule.
Big Ten (West)
|Date||Opponent||Spread (Est.)||Win Chance|
|Estimated Wins: TBD|
*We take the win chance by using the college football win percentage chart for each point spread.
Purdue’s season will likely be made in the first 5 games of the season. They open with 3 non-conference games at home. Two of those are very winnable against Eastern Kentucky and Nevada. The other would require a big upset against Cincinnati.
They then kickoff Big Ten play with back-to-back road games against Maryland and Illinois. You could argue these are there two best chances at securing a conference win.
That’s because their four conference home games are against teams who went 24-8 in Big 10 play last year. Those being Iowa, Penn State, Northwestern and Wisconsin.
They also have road games against Nebraska, Minnesota and Indiana. It’s not out of the question they could pull off an upset against the Gophers or Hoosiers, but it’s unlikely. The Boilermakers have won a total of 5 road games the past 6 years.
The one positive for Purdue is they will be one of the more experienced teams in the country. The Boilermakers have 16 returning starters, eight on each side of the ball.
If Purdue is going to surprise in 2016, they have to get more out of the quarterback position. The frontrunner is sophomore David Blough, who started 8 games last year. However, he only threw for 1,574 yards with just 10 touchdowns to 8 interceptions. Also in the mix is red-shirt freshman Elijah Sindelar.
One of the bright spots from last year was the emergence of true freshman running back Markell Jones. He rushed for 875 yards and 10 touchdowns with a solid 5.2 yards/carry. Jones would certainly benefit if opposing defense had to respect the pass a little more. Either way, he should be in line for a solid sophomore season.
Purdue will have to overcome the loss of wide out Danny Anthrop. He had a team-high 57 receptions to go with 430 yards and 2 touchdowns. Despite missing the final 4 games. A trio of seniors will lead the unit in 2016. The top target being DeAngelo Yancey, who had a team-best 700 yards and 5 touchdowns last year.
The offensive line gets back 3 starters, but lose both their starting center and left tackle. Arguably the two most important positions up front. The good news is that the Boilermakers are confident sophomores Kirk Barron and Martesse Patterson can fill those voids.
Having eight starters back on defense is definitely a plus. However, it doesn’t guarantee improvement. In fact, this is the 4th straight year they have had at least 7 starters back on this side of the ball. On all 3 previous occasions they allowed at least 31.7 ppg.
The biggest problem has been their inability to stop the run. Last season they gave up 215 yards/game and 5.1 yards/carry. There is reason to be optimistic that trend will come to an end. Purdue has 3 starters back in the trenches, led by senior defensive tackle Jake Replogle.
The Boilermakers also get back all 3 starters at linebacker. Those being juniors Ja’Whaun Bentley and Danny Ezechukwu and senior Andy Garcia. It’s not only an experienced bunch, but the best of the Hazell era.
The secondary gets back both starting safeties, including leading tackler Leroy Clark. They do however, lose both starting corners. It’s going to be critical the two new starters play well. The frontrunners are sophomore Tim Cason and junior Da/Wan Hunte.
Regular Season Win Total
Big Ten West Odds
Big Ten Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes
*Odds updated live on our college football odds page
Typically when a program is in year 4 under a head coach, you expect to see a big jump in production. Especially when you have an experienced team like the Boilermakers with 16 returning starters.
While I believe Purdue will be a much better team in 2016, I don’t think the record will indicate it. In fact, I have them going an identical 2-10. The only difference being that I have them going 0-9 in Big 10 play.
Keep in mind that even with the experience, they still don’t have the talent to match the top teams. More than anything, the schedule just doesn’t allow for many wins. Sure they have winnable road games, but none of which are easy. I wouldn’t be shocked if they pulled off an upset or two, but 4 wins is the max for this team.
Big Ten (West)
Big Ten Record
Win Total Prediction