College football is a magical, weird, and downright nonsensical sport. Most people (baseball fans) say baseball is the most random sport, the only one where every game is different and any outcome is possible. For the most part, that’s true. Upsets are routine, no-name pitchers throw no-hitters on the regular, and any hitter has the chance to hit four home runs on any given night. Teams can spend the first month of the season hot, then go .300 the rest of the way. It's not unheard of. That’s why they play 162 games every year; it's the perfect number to ensure we know exactly who is good, who is lucky, and which owners are too cheap to field a competent product.
College football has none of this. There are 14 games a season, and that’s only if you’re one of the best teams in the country. The teams are woefully unbalanced on account of differences in recruiting, money put into the programs, and quality of coaching. Naturally, we typically know week-in and week-out who’s going to win. We are so sure of this we rank each team before the season starts based on ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, then refuse to admit we’re wrong until a month into the season.
Upsets are always a bit of a shock. We say they can happen, but no one really expects them too. Nobody expected LSU to hang tough with Alabama this last week, or that Florida would get a Gamecock shoved down its throat for 60 minutes.
But absolutely no one is surprised when Purdue upsets someone. Little old Purdue, always the underdog so they’re perpetually on upset watch. Purdue, who is so unapologetically Purdue they do the exact same thing every season: they lose games early to opponents they should whip into shape, beat a team that is favored over them by double-digits, and then quietly fall into obscurity for the rest of the season. Maybe they make a bowl, but typically no more than eight wins in any one year.
The weird thing about Purdue is that they get to be relevant a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Remember that perennial state of being unranked? Well that also means they have the most wins as an unranked team over teams in the top-5 ever. No, really: with their win over #3 Michigan State, Purdue now has 17 wins as an unranked team over teams in the top-5.
But wait, how is that possible? You just said they were bad.
But they’re Purdue. They are going to Purdue. You can’t expect a Great White to ignore a dying seal. Purdue is the black hole formed from the weight of repeatedly crushing the hopes of College Football Playoff hopefuls.
But how do they do it? Sure, they’re always unranked and that gives more of an opportunity, but that doesn’t tell the full story. Plenty of unranked teams get slaughtered by top-5 teams every year; why is Purdue different?
I have a few ideas.
Probably the most popular concept on this list, there’s a nonzero chance Purdue is practicing the dark arts. Jeff Brohm is from deep in the hills of Kentucky, a place unknown to the common man. Here, at a college completely untouched by the outside world, he would’ve had the perfect place to learn how to cast spells and levy curses onto opposing defenses. He may even be making voodoo dolls of his opposing coaches.
Hand-in-hand with the above entry, founder John Purdue sold his soul to the devil to ensure athletic and academic success for his namesake. Unfortunately, Lucifer is going to Lucifer and decides exactly when Purdue gets to be successful. He loves chaos and makes sure Purdue is at the center of it whenever it arrives. He is nothing if not honest.
John Purdue Found a Monkey’s Paw
Seems self-explanatory. John Purdue found a Monkey’s Paw and, not knowing what it was, made a bunch of wishes because this was 1875 and he didn’t know any better. Plus, if it turned out to be magic, he could’ve made a ton of money off it. One of those wishes was undoubtedly academic success for the school, and over a hundred years later this is how the Monkey Paw curled. I don’t know why I’m the first person to think of this.
They Don’t Care About Other Games
Again, the title says it all. Purdue practices all year for one or two games. That’s it. They might get lucky and be able to use those gameplans against other teams, but they’re not overly concerned unless you’re ranked in the top-5. I mean, is there that big of a difference between Minnesota and Michigan State?
I think the most logical outcome is that Purdue has spies and repeatedly watches their opponents practice. Not human spies mind you; no, little tiny flies that look like dragonflies were built by the School of Engineering to find out everything about their enemies. It’s likely these were built on a government contract that was cancelled after a few were already designed and made.
It wouldn’t even surprise me if all this was done during the Cold War to gain ground on the Soviet Union after they successfully went to space. After the contract was cancelled, Purdue kept the dragonflies and started plotting out when and how to use them. For football, they have to choose their spots because of the amount of coaches and players at every practice; here, there’s an increased risk of being spotted. For other sports, like basketball, they can disperse them as they see fit.
They Have the Train from Back to the Future Part III
It’s a well-known fact that Doc Brown is a Purdue graduate. After all, why else would he make a time machine out of a train? So yeah, it’s canon.
Anyways, it’s possible that Purdue has the train and, sometime in the distant future, has already gone back and changed key events that would lead them to beating top-5 ranked opponents. They may have stepped on a butterfly, accidentally drove a car into a telephone pole, or orchestrated Jamestown. Needless to say, this is the timeline we are living in.
I have no idea what to make of Purdue. On one hand, they’ve beaten two teams this season in the top-3 and probably deserve to be ranked this week. On the other, I need them to be unranked so they can have their powers against Ohio State. What I do know is regardless of all of this, Jeff Brohm is going to keep making up the coolest plays ever:
Leave a comment, let me know what you think Purdue is up to.
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