AL HAMNIK: That smell at IU and Purdue? Another bad season

2013-11-19T17:15:00Z 2013-11-20T02:06:11Z AL HAMNIK: That smell at IU and Purdue? Another bad seasonAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
November 19, 2013 5:15 pm  • 

We must always open a window when talking about Purdue or Indiana football, two programs in dire need of Febreze.

Why can't either program break the chains of mediocrity and occasionally surprise us with a winning season, a bowl bid to anywhere, a reason to feel good about the future?

The chance of that happening is slim, however.

Purdue and Indiana football have become the Big Ten's whipping boys, and this from an average conference with only a few elite programs.

Our two punching bags had some valid history, some noteworthy tradition, years ago. And whether either will enjoy success one day is anyone's guess.

Coaching changes haven't worked.

Recruiting classes haven't made your eyes bug out or your heart skip a beat.

Fan attendance at games isn't anything special.

In fact, it was reported that end zone tickets for the Nov. 9 Iowa game at Ross-Ade Stadium went for 50 cents apiece on StubHub.

Purdue lost, by the way, 38-14.

The football gods have smiled a bit more on Bloomington, where coach Kevin Wilson's Hoosiers (4-6, 2-4) at least have looked competitive.

But they're far from ready to run with the big dogs.

Wisconsin waxed IU last Saturday, 51-3, rushing for 554 yards and seven runs of 30 yards or more.

Indiana had only three drives of six plays or more and was held without a touchdown for the first time in almost two years.

You couldn't get the Febreze out quick enough.

Indiana's last winning record was in 2007, its last bowl appearance that same year, and its last conference title in 1967.

Thankfully, they play basketball there.

Purdue (1-9, 0-6) has been kicked around like an old soccer ball this season and would be an underdog against a bye.

The Boilermakers have had two winning records since 2007, haven't been ranked nationally in the AP Top 20 poll since 2003, and last won a Big Ten Conference championship in 2000.

They probably own stock in Febreze.

Last Saturday's 45-21 pasting at Penn State was typical PU, start to finish.

Penn State released the hounds and chewed up Purdue with a 289-yard, five-TD running attack.

Purdue had 1 yard rushing at halftime, Penn State 182.

If this were boxing, they would've stopped the match.

"We have to go back and keep working on things we can get better at," new coach Darrell Hazell told reporters afterward.

"That's the only thing you can do at this point."

Indiana has a young defense. Purdue is young on both sides of the football. But is that really an excuse at this level? The game is still about preparation and execution.

Maybe we just don't have enough great high school players here to help Indiana and Purdue. Look around and your national powerhouses have few recruits, if any, from our state.

We have Division I talent, but not the Blue Chip variety.

It's there, of course, from coast to coast, but winning is what brings those elite athletes to your doorstep.

Right now, IU and Purdue have an empty porch.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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