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

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