Last season’s disappointing season for Purdue led to the firing of head coach Danny Hope. Purdue finished at just 6-6 and 3-5 in the Big Ten before getting clobbered by Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Now Darrell Hazell has taken over the reigns of the Boilermakers program in 2013, coming in from Kent State. While he would love to get off to a quick start in his first year, that will be very difficult for Purdue this coming year.
Purdue’s first seven games will be a gauntlet for the rookie coach and his inexperienced team. The Boilermakers open their season on August 31 on the road at Cincinnati, a team that won 10 games last year and is returning seven offensive starters. On September 7, Purdue will have their home opener, in what should be a cupcake opponent in Indiana State. The next week, Notre Dame will come to town for a rivalry game that Purdue has not won since 2007. The Boilermakers will then open their Big Ten slate with a trip to Wisconsin, a conference foe that Purdue has not beaten since 2003. Finally, before Purdue’s first bye week, they will have to host Northern Illinois, the 12-win MAC champions from last season, who return star quarterback Jordan Lynch.
A murderers row of sorts will create for a very difficult start for Hazell, as Purdue would be lucky to win just two or three of their first seven and are in real danger of starting 1-6. Nothing is tougher on a new head coach than being on an immediate hot seat. Unfortunately for Hazell, that immediate pressure will be nearly impossible to avoid.
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