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Inside The Bloggers Unwashed, Unshaven, Studio 2012: Purdue Edition

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ITBUUS is back once again with a look at all things Purdue. Travis Miller of the SBN Purdue blog Hammer and Rails was brave enough to volunteer. Is Danny Hope on the coaching hot seat? Will the team finally stay healthy enough to challenge Wisconsin's otherwise imminent Leaders Division title? How will Purdue basketball fare in Year One, post-Robbie Hummel? These answers and more, if you read on...

What is the general consensus amongst Purdue fans regarding the Danny Hope era thus far? Is his seat getting a little hotter these days?

A lot of fans are frustrated with him, but I think it stems from a very small number of games. When he went 5-7 with a very slapdash roster in his first season everyone was excited, mostly because he beat Michigan and Ohio State in the same year (rare for us). The next year everyone except the popcorn vendors was injured, but people started to turn on him. Last year the real frustration came from the QB-switching.

I think what has aggravated people most is the unexpected non-conference losses to Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Rice. Those are games we expect to win, but he generally handled those very poorly. Combined with the inexplicable timeout late in the 2009 Notre Dame game, I think people question his game-management skills.

Personally, I think he is doing fine as long as there is improvement this year. We have a unique opportunity because of Ohio State and Penn State’s situation plus an experienced team. With the Wisconsin-Purdue game being the de facto leaders Division title game I think he can change perception if we sneak into the Big Ten title game. His recruiting so far is excellent, but this is the year that the results (a 7-9 win season) need to happen.

Much like Iowa's running back issues, Purdue's quarterback situation seems to be a continuous running gag to appease the Angry Purdue Quarterback Hating God. Please get us caught up to speed on who is expected to start, and whether they will stay healthy enough the whole year to do some damage. Also, what other positions should opposing fans pay attention to (these can be strengths or weaknesses)?

Well, we have three quarterbacks with extensive starting experience. I think you’ll see Caleb TerBush start and rotate time with Robert Marve. Hope has reiterated that TerBush is the No. 1 guy going into camp, but I am a Marve supporter. I think he gives us the best chance to win more games and I want to see the guy have success after all he’s been through.

Henry will likely be used as a running back/receiver and wildcat QB. We need the depth at running back with only two completely healthy scholarship running backs (Akeem Hunt and Akeem Shavers).

As far as strengths, defensive tackle Kawann Short is expected to be a top 15 NFL draft talent. Ricardo Allen is becoming a nice cornerback as well with three interceptions returned for scores in his career already.

But seriously, should Wisconsin fans just go ahead and buy tickets right now for this year's Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis?

Given our history with the Badgers, yes. There is no team we struggle with more than Wisconsin, mostly because of their physicality. Even if Purdue stuns them, we still have that game sandwiched in between Michigan and Ohio State. Our ownership of the Buckeyes only extends to the borders of Tippecanoe County. This year, the game is in Columbus. For Purdue to have any chance it has to beat Wisconsin and win one of two against Michigan or OSU.

After an eight year stint in West Lafayette, Robbie Hummel has finally moved on. Who is going to pick up the slack for the basketball squad? Should we expect much of an NCAA Tournament run next March?

I absolutely expect to make the NCAA Tournament with an incredibly young squad. D.J. Byrd will be the lone scholarship senior and former walk-on Dru Anthrop is the only other senior on the roster. This will be a young team. We bring in four very talented freshmen in A.J. Hammons (a 7’ center), Jay Simpson, Rapheal Davis, and Ronnie Johnson (the little brother of Terone Johnson. All four were top 100 recruits and will be counted on early. They’re extremely talented, however.

Ronnie will likely start from day one at the point with his brother in the backcourt. Hammons allows Travis Carroll and Sandi Marcius to play their more natural position of the 4. Davis is an excellent scoring guard. Purdue’s only major weakness may be three-point shooting, but it will still be good enough to easily make the NCAA Tournament.

A decade and a half ago, Purdue football was a total afterthought. Joe Tiller then came in and introduced the spread offense to the ground-and-pound Big Ten with immediate success (i.e. winning records). As far as current fan support and enthusiasm are concerned, do you think football is at or near the same level as basketball at Purdue a decade and a half later?

Basketball is definitely king at the moment. Football attendance is down to pre-Tiller era levels with only last year’s Notre Dame game being a sellout. We had about 15,000 empty seats for the other six home games. For basketball, the incoming recruiting class this year and next year is generating excitement. If we stay as a tourney team this year (and it is a bonus that we have the longest active streak in the nation of winning at least one NCAA Tourney game if we make it) there is a lot of excitement. It also helps that we’re trying to keep pace with the hated Hoosiers there. Basketball in Indiana will always be No. 1. Now that Indiana is good again it is only going to make our fans love Purdue basketball more because those battle lines are fierce.

WORD ASSOCIATION (tell me the first thing that comes to mind for each of the following)

Bob Greise – Tacos for Juan Pablo Montoya

Drew Brees – Pasadena on New Year’s Day (He’s my man crush).

Gene Keady – The Combover

Bob Knight – Respect now that he’s not at IU.

Glenn Robinson – The Big Dog

Train – A really crappy band

And Finally: Give us your prediction on how this year's PSU-Purdue showdown will play out.

I think it depends on the number of defections Penn State ultimately suffers. Let’s face it: No team in the conference is in more flux than the Nittany Lions right now. That said, we played you tough in State College last year and still left five points on the field while giving you three more. I think we can win a tight one.

Thanks once again to Travis for his participation. Be sure to check out Hammer and Rails, and to follow Travis on Twitter at @HammerAndRails