After 20+ years of following Purdue football closely, I'm done with the moral victories. Seen plenty of them. They're no longer impressing me. I enjoyed them during the Colletto years. I even enjoyed them during the Tiller years, but since we haven't beaten a ranked team in 5+ years, I've gotten numb to them.
Likewise, perennial visits to bowl games that didn't exist 30 years ago doesn't impress me either. I simply want to see a 10 win season occasionally. Say once every 10 years. Then I'll get excited. I'll suffer through some losing seasons to do it. But put together a great season now and then. Tiller got close a few times, and in 2003 and 2004 he had the talent to do it but never closed the door.
After last night's game, not sure if Hope is the one to get us there. Four games is certainly too early to tell (after all, two games into the season I liked the direction the team was heading). 1-3 against two MAC opponents and a ND game at home certainly isn't building confidence in me. And a couple things concerned me last night 1) the lack of offensive production in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, and b) the lack of aggressiveness on defense down the stretch. The former speaks to weaknesses in the coaching staff's ability to game plan and adjust properly; the latter speaks to the mindset of the coaching staff. This team will get eaten alive in the Big Ten if that doesn't change. Akers deja vu? At least Colletto consistently had offenses in the top three of the Big Ten, even if his defenses couldn't tackle to save their life (wait, didn't that happen last night?).
That said, it's been a long time (2004?) since I felt Purdue looked like a real football team, and the showings against Oregon and ND have convinced me they belong in the Big Ten. And not just because the Big Ten sucks this year. So I do have hope for this team. Just frustrated Hope isn't closing the door sooner with this team as I had expected.