csd Flashback: 10/31/1998

Right about now I will be sitting in Camp Randall Stadium for the first time. As I was preparing for this trip I started thinking about the only other football game that I attended on Halloween. It was in 1998, and it was at Ross Ade Stadium between the Purdue Boilermakers and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Before the game my friend Tires and I decided to dress up like Drew Brees. He was still not very famous so we could not get a jersey. What we decided to do was to use a marker to put his famous birthmark on our faces. With our ‘costumes’ on we went to the game to cheer on the Boilers. Drew did not disappoint us. He threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns. Two of those scoring passes went to Tim Stratton. In the process of winning the game Brees also eclipsed the season touchdown record for the Boilers. The Boilers never really were worried in this one. They had a 19-0 lead at the half, and won easily 36-14. We were also able to see backup QB David Edgerton get some time in. After the game we started noticing fans wearing the fake birthmark for the next few years. Did we start this trend? I don’t know. We were certainly in at the beginning though. The win also clinched Iowa’s first losing season since 1992. That was a fact that I would not appreciate for five years.

Game Preview: Purdue v. Wisconsin: Jump Around!

I have always heard how intimidating that Camp Randall Stadium can be if you are a fan of the opposing team. What better day to visit the stadium for the first time than Halloween? I am fully aware that the fans may not like my presence, but I am there to have fun. Besides they might think my Boilers jersey is just a Halloween prank. This could be a great game to go to if the Boilers play up to their potential. If they play the kind of road game that they played at Oregon they will win Saturday. If they play the way they did in Minneapolis, they will have some ‘splainin‘ to do. Purdue is a good football team that has the tools to win. They just need to put the tools together to get those wins. They will have to stop the run first and foremost. As usual Wisconsin has a huge back that is leading the conference in rushing. They always seem to find these guys. Our linebackers will have their hands full tomorrow. On the other side of the ball they need to execute the passing game. If they had executed better last week they would have ran away with the game. This should be a good game, and I hope that I am not disappointed. I have picked the Boilers to win, but I am not too sure of my pick. Wisconsin is very good at causing turnovers, and as we know the Boilers tend to turn it over. This will be the key stat of the game.

I was at the last meeting between these two teams in 2006. I took a friend to the game, and he even made the comment that he could not have possibly gone to a worse game. Purdue lost the game 24-3. At that point it was the lowest point total by a Purdue team since 1993. The next week Penn State shut the Boilers out to make the three points seem like an outburst. P.J. Hill ran for 161 yards and two scores. One of those scores is shown up above to the left. Purdue had lost its 11th straight game against a ranked opponent. That streak would continue until a couple of weeks ago when Ohio State helped us end it.

Predictions: Last week somehow I lucked out, and went 8-0. That brings my season total to 20-6. Iowa really helped that out with the amazing comeback with no time on the clock. This week I have no Slicer game to pick since they were ousted in the first round of the sectionals. I will replace that game with my first trip to Lambeau Field. I know that I am not really picking with my mind on that one, but hey I’m not going to pick against the Packers. I will also throw in a pick of the hockey game that I will attend Saturday in Wisconsin. Here are this weeks picks:

#17 Ohio State 45 – New Mexico State 3
#4 Iowa 35 – Indiana 17
#12 Penn State 38 – Northwestern 16
Michigan 28 – Illinois 10
Michigan State 21 – Minnesota 17
#4 Grand Valley State 38 – Northern Michigan 21
Notre Dame 49 – Washington State 23
Purdue 34 – Wisconsin 28
Bonus Pick: Green Bay Packers 24 – Minnesota Vikings 21
Bonus Hockey Pick: Wisconsin 3 – New Hampshire 2 (Saturday Night)

csd Flashback: 12/24/2004

Almost five years ago I attended my first Packers game. I was stuck in the middle of Iowa around Christmas with no way to get home. I did however have a small window of time available on Christmas Eve. My favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers, was playing just north of me in Minneapolis. I had never been to a Packers game before so I thought this was perfect timing. I got a seat in the upper deck that was fairly affordable. After that it was a simple three hour drive up Interstate 35 to the Twin Cities. What better way to make the most of a broken Christmas then to get to see your favorite team for the first time?

This was an important game for both teams. The team that won would take the NFC North. Of course I went wearing my Green Bay gear. The fans were giving me a hard time, but it was all good natured. That is until the fourth quarter. With the game tied at 24 and about 8 minutes left on the clock Favre through a touchdown pass to Chris Claiborne. The problem with that was that Claiborne played for the Vikings. The Vikings fans around me started really getting on me at this point. Almost to the point that I was thinking about moving. It must feel really nice to gang up on an opposing fan sitting by himself. After the pick Favre drove the Packers down the field to set up a key fourth and goal play. Favre completed a pass to Donald Driver to tie the game at 31 with 3:34 left. Minnesota could do nothing with the ball, and gave it back to the Packers with 1:35 left on the clock. The problem was that the Packers had the ball on the 13 yard line. Brett took the team down the field to set up a potential game winning field goal by Ryan Longwell. The kick was good, and the Packers walked off the field winners. What followed the kick was perhaps the worst display of sportsmanship that I have ever displayed. I really let everyone around me know what the final score was. I ran out of the stadium screaming and yelling. It is a wonder that I did not get beat down. How could my first Packer game have ended any better? Favre working the two minute drill to win the game. It was definitely one to remember.

Fast forward five years to 2009. I am getting ready to head to Lambeau field for the first time this weekend. Who awaits me on the Vikings? Ryan Longwell. Yes the kicker that won the game for the Packers that day. Oh yeah, and Brett Favre. I always wanted to see Favre play in Lambeau. I thought that I missed my chance, but now I can rectify that mistake. He is just on the other team. I will cheer Favre when he is introduced for what he did as a member of my team. If (when) he does something good though I don’t know what I will do. Part of the intrigue of gameday is going to be seeing what the Green Bay faithful will do to Favre. The game on Sunday will be my 7th pro football game that I have been to. Six of those games have involved the Vikings. Most of that is due to the fact that I have a good friend that is a Viking fan. I will have to shift things back into the favor of my team someday, but for now I will enjoy this great game. I will have my prediction for the game tomorrow in the usual post. Look for me on Fox Sunday at 3:15. I will be the one acting crazy wearing green. I am sure that I will have plenty of posts next week documenting the trip.

Third Times A Charm

Today the Purdue Boilermakers beat Illinois 24-14 to get their third win of the season. They now stand at 3-5 on the season, but more importantly they have won two in row. This game featured a quarterback with the legs to make plays. When the team needed a big run they got it from their quarterback. I am not talking about Juice Williams. I am talking about Joey Elliot. He made some great runs today that moved the ball, and one scored a touchdown. He looks like he is finally settling in at quarterback. This game was not pretty, but the Boilers did what they needed to do to win the game. One important stat that they won was the turnover battle. That is easy to do when you don’t turn the ball over at all. They came close a couple of times when returning punts though, but in the end the stats say zero. The Boiler punt return team needs to learn to get away from the ball if it not going to be returned. This game of chicken that they play with it is stupid, and will end up resulting in a stupid turnover. This team is now 3-5 like I said with four games left in the season. They need to win three of those to become bowl eligible. The next three weeks will go a long way to determine that. Next week they will go on the road to Wisconsin to try and make it three wins in a row. They travel to Ann Arbor the following weekend, with Michigan State coming in to end the home season. We need two of those games along with a win in the Bucket game to salvage this season. For now though lets just bask in the glow of this two game winning streak. This game also ended the two game losing streak against teams from Illinois. It also kept the Purdue Cannon at home where it belongs. Next week I will travel to Wisconsin to watch this Boiler team. Hopefully they can make my first trip to Camp Randall a good one.

As I am writing this I was able to witness the miraculous comeback win by Iowa. They have been showing that they are not afraid to lose the close game. Who is going to beat this team this season.

Game Preview: Purdue Boilermakers v. Illinois

Wow! Are we really to another football Saturday? The last week has been great reliving the Ohio State game. Now it is time to focus on this week’s opponent, the Fighting Illini of Illinois. What is there to like about this school? They play basketball at a place called Assembly Hall. They abbreviate their school with the letters IU. See any similarities here? This team may possibly be the worst football team in the Big Ten this year. They may be catching us at the exact right time though. We had not had any luck all season until last week. We beat what many thought is/was the best team in the Big Ten. Everyone has been telling this team all week how good they are. Now they have to face a team that they are favored to beat by 10+ points. I hope that the coaching staff has kept this team grounded all week. With a 2-5 record that should be easy to do. They need this win badly. The key to this game will be much like last week. They have to get up early to get Juice Williams throwing the ball. He is dangerous to the other team when he runs the ball. When he passes the ball he is dangerous to his own team. We have a good enough defense to stop the run. They may get a few big plays, but our team showed us what they could do last week. We just have to have the same intensity come Saturday. We are four games away from an improbable bowl. This game and the Indiana games are must wins for that to even be close to a possibility. The second season started last week, and so far we are 1-0. We are currently in possesion of the Cannon, which is awarded to the winner of this game. Maybe we can get it back on the field to fire off after a score. The current record when the Cannon is on the line has the Boilers ahead 29-26-2. We can notch win #30 this week. It would also get us a win against an Illinois team. We are 0-2 right now against teams from the Land of Lincoln.

In 2006 I made my first trip to Illinois to see them play the Boilers. The Illini were very sloppy giving us the ball five times. At one point they turned the ball over four times in five plays to help us jump out to a lead we would not give up. Does this sound familiar? At one point we were down 23-14 before coming on strong at the end to win the game 42-31. This was a great game for me because somehow I was among a bunch of Boiler fans, and the team came over to us after the game to celebrate. They had just become bowl eligible. I doubt that we would have been so excited at the time had we known what Maryland would do to us in the bowl game. On a sadder not it was also the last game for Chief Illini. I have only seen Illinois play Purdue twice, but this was by far my favorite game. The other game in 1998 was a blowout by the Boilers. The game in 2006 looked bleak until they fumbled the game away. That made the win that much sweeter along with getting back to a bowl.

Predictions: Last week I went 7-2 to bring my 2009 record to 12-6. Of course I missed the obvious pick of Purdue over Ohio State, and for some reason I thought that Iowa would finally lose. Camp Randall is usually pretty tough on opponents. I am usually a week off on my upsets so they will most likely lose this week. Especially since I am picking them to win. This week I will start off the picks with the local team the LaPorte Slicers. Many seasons have been ended at the hands of the Mishawaka Caveman. This may very easily be another one. They finally lost last week, and have dropped to a #8 state ranking. That will be enough to beat the Slicers though. This has been a good season for the Slicers, and I would like another chance to see them play. I don’t think that it is in the cards though. As I did last week I will pick all of the Big Ten games along with a few other schools that I follow. Here are this weeks picks:

Mishawaka 35 – LaPorte 14
#6 Grand Valley State 31 – Ashland 17
Notre Dame 35 – Boston College 24
#19 Ohio State 24 – Minnesota 21
#13 Penn State 27 – Michigan 18
#6 Iowa 34 – Michigan State 17
Northwestern 28 – Indiana 27
Purdue 34 – Illinois 13

Gordon Beckham AL Rookie of the Year!

It’s Bacon! I just heard this morning that Gordon Beckham was named the American League Rookie of the Year by the Sporting News. The award is voted on by a panel of 338 players so he was rewarded by his peers. Beckham moved his way up the White Sox ladder this season before quickly sticking with the club. He filled a hole at third base very well. He should be fun to watch develop over time. Bacon is the ninth Sox player to win the Rookie of the Year. The last was current Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. Congratulations Gordon!