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Gold and Black Illustrated Volume 28, Digital 5

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Page 9 of 60

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 5 10 P urdue football might have a problem. After a year in which most everything went right, now it may have a small concern. It would be a good problem to have, but good problems to have are still problems. It might be this: By virtue of their own immediate suc- cess, Jeff Brohm and all others with a hand in this have moved the goal posts, maybe started working over the definition of the term "success." Every new coach gets what we call a "honeymoon," that grace period in which some failure is both expected and accepted in the name of the big picture. The length of this term depends on the gravity of the inherited situ- ation and the new coach's ability to generate and main- tain a strong popularity quotient Sometimes, though, coaches cut their honeymoons short by winning too quick. Joe Tiller, unexpectedly, won immediately at Purdue and every one of those wins those first few seasons seemed to be parade-worthy for fans, but it wasn't all that long, then, that some began clamoring about "ceil- ings" and "next levels" and being good but not "elite." And as they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and Purdue's ability to hit those mythical benchmarks was inarguably limited by the absence of all-in investment in the program. Purdue was winning, so that wheel wasn't squeaking, I guess. It's a cautionary tale, I suppose, for modern times, because Jeff Brohm just won seven games in Year 1 when five would have exhilarated fans beaten down by the worst stretch of football in school history, depending on your definition of "worst." The Boilermakers, thanks to a se- nior class tired of being embarrassed and finally put in positions to suc- ceed by its coaches, won immediate- ly, but that same team that blew out Missouri at Missouri, blew out Iowa at Iowa, beat Indiana at home to clinch a bowl berth, then won said bowl in thrilling fashion is the same team that got over-run in the second half at home by mediocre Michigan and couldn't score on dreadful Rutgers. That imbalance between peak and valley shows this: The branches were flowering before the roots had really even taken hold. For a bunch of reasons, Purdue won right away when in the grand scheme of a rebuild it probably shouldn't have. That wasn't a great football team that won those games in 2017, and that's actually a compliment. The job is far from finished — far from finished — even if the results may cast an illusion to the contrary. The results were a hell of a lot of fun for Purdue, for sure, but also a bit of a distortion of its reality, maybe, and I do think that bears mentioning as the Boilermak- A Good Problem to Have From Editor Brian Neubert Item #7270 $24.95 (plus $4 S&H) Indiana Residents Please Add 7% Sales Tax ACCEPTING PRE-ORDERS NOW! EXPECTED SHIP DATE IS MARCH 19, 2018 GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED • 1-800-876-4678 2605 Yeager Road • West Lafayette, IN 47906 • Officially licensed Mickey Mouse banner (single-sided) • Designed to hang vertically from an outdoor pole or inside as wall decor • Durable polyester banner measures 28"x40" with a 2.5" pole sleeve • Poles and hardware not included • Made in USA The Mouse Is In The House!

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