Purdue doesn't have big football games very often. Sure, we might have big wins (over #4 Kansas State in 1998, over #5 Michigan State in 1999, etc) but there are very few games that are showdown games mainly because Purdue is rarely undefeated midway through the season.
In 2004 an undefeated and 5th ranked Purdue hosted #10 and undefeated Wisconsin in Ross-Ade. After taking control on the game in the fourth quarter, Purdue blew the game in the final five minutes. Up 17-7 midway through the fourth quarter, defensive back Kyle Smith dropped an easy interception. Wisconsin went on to score to close the gap to 17-14. On the ensuing drive, Kyle Orton fumbled reaching for a first down, and it was returned by the defense for a touchdown. So Purdue gets the ball back with 2 minutes to go, drives the field into field goal range, and the dependable Ben Jones missed a 40 yard field goal and Purdue loses 20-17. Purdue went on four-game losing streak from there and ended the 2004 season 7-5 including a bowl loss to Arizona State. Purdue followed that up in 2005 with its only losing season under Joe Tiller, and in 2006 Purdue, after starting the season 4-0, struggled to an 8-6 overall record. Finally, in 2007, Purdue has an opportunity to set things straight and get the program back on track for its first 10 win season in over 25 years.
The big game is against Ohio State, and I don't have a lot of confidence for three reasons:
1. Purdue's defense has shown itself to be suspect in each of the first five games. We made Notre Dame's "worse offense in all of college football" look like a powerhouse.
2. Purdue has not shown itself to be mentally tough. The 2004 collapse is a great example, as is the 2003 team that boasted nine players getting drafted into the NFL but still couldn't muster a 10 win season.
3. Purdue's "home field" advantage is mitigated by a) Purdue hasn't sold out its season tickets, meaning there will be a lot of Ohio State fans in attendance, and b) the crowd just doesn't seem into it. Our section was awfully quiet during the Notre Dame game.
That said, I'm so psyched. Big games for Purdue are a rarity, and I am so ready! ARE YOU READY TO GO, CUZ I'M READY TO GO! WHATCHA GONNA DO BABY! (Purdue fans get that line)