Not enough hate?

Boiled Sports, pointing to the "hate week" content on some other sites, laments the absence of that sort of intensity on IU and Purdue sites as the Bucket game approaches.  I haven’t had much to say about it.  The main reason is that there’s not much to say in response to "62-10."  The Tiller era was a good era for Purdue and a bad one for IU, both overall and in the Bucket game, and I think the rivalry suffered.  From the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s, the tables were turned.  IU was going to bowl games nearly every year and Purdue was languishing in a 12-year bowl drought.  Still, the Bucket game was reasonably competitive and IU’s only two losing seasons in that period, 1989 and 1992, happened because the Hoosiers lost the Bucket game to horrid Purdue teams.  In other words, even when their teams were horrible, the Boilers held up their end of the rivalry.  IU didn’t do so during the Tiller era.  I think it is to Tiller’s credit that he was able to motivate his team for the Bucket game even when Purdue had bigger fish to fry.  

Boiled Sports usually is a bit more invective-filled than this site or Hammer and Rails (among BS’s greatest hits is the suggestion that Mike Davis was fired because he’s black–of course, Purdue has never fired a black coach because Purdue has never hired a black coach in a major sport–yes, I know about Carolyn Peck.  I said major sport).    The comment thread on BS runs the gamut from hate to indifference to pity when it comes to IU football, but shows unambiguous hate for IU’s basketball program and for the football programs at Michigan and Notre Dame.


I think this showcases Purdue fans’ complicated relationship with history.  On one hand, the dismissal of IU’s football program is based (quite legitimately) on history.  While Purdue is far from a top shelf program historically, Purdue’s overall record is far better than IU’s, and Purdue has won 64 percent of the football games between the two schools, nearly a two-to-one advantage.  So in some circumstances, such as when comparing the football programs at IU and Purdue, or when talking about the Cradle of Quarterbacks, history matters.  This changes quickly, of course, when the shoe is on the other foot.  If a Notre Dame fan points out that the Fighting Irish have won more than 66 percent of the games between Purdue, or if a Michigan fan points out that U-M has won over 75 percent against Purdue, or if a fan of one of those schools points to their numerous championships, Heismans, or anything else, then those fans are snobs, delusional, living in the past, and so on.  The same goes for IU basketball.  Purdue fans care about history when it comes to the Boilers’ substantial lead in the head-to-head series with IU, even though the entirety of Purdue’s lead was accumulated in the pre-NCAA Tournament era, long before IU won even the dustiest of its banners.  Hell, they even made T-shirts when Bob Knight was fired with a losing record against Gene Keady.  History matters when it’s time for the current Purdue team to pose with the Boilers’ 1980 Final Four trophy (they give out trophies for just making the Final Four?  I had no idea).  But don’t you dare mention those dusty old banners than no one cares about!   Living in the past!  Living in the past!  I think Purdue’s problem is that while the school has a solid tradition in both sports, there isn’t a major sport in which Purdue is one of the historical elite.  IU fans seem to have less of an issue with Notre Dame and Michigan and Ohio State fans’ high regard for their football programs because we feel the same way about our basketball program, which is (everywhere except West Lafayette) considered one of college basketball’s five or six best programs of all time.   Purdue fans don’t know what that’s like, so they lash out at any program with such a tradition.  

As for the hate, well, I generally reserve my hate for the Boilermakers rather than for Purdue University.  I think IU has a much nicer campus, and IU was a much better academic fit for me.  Still, I consider the schools roughly equal academically with different areas of emphasis.  IU’s SAT scores are modestly higher this year.  Purdue’s SAT scores were modestly higher for a few years before that.  As much as I enjoy yanking chains about animal husbandry and such, I don't put much stock in argument from either side that one of the schools is obviously academically superior.  Really, I think it shows some proper perspective that despite an intense athletic rivalry, the two schools share campuses in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.  Both universities are assets for the state. 

Still, I hate the drum.  I hate "Boiler up!"  I really hate "1-2-3-4-first down!"  I think the train whistle is obnoxious.  Even Lee Greenwood would think "I! Am! An American!" is goofy and over the top, however well-intentioned.  The way Tiller treated some of his players (and some of the players who jilted him, such as Greg Middleton) was pathetic.  Certainly, there are some Purdue players I don’t mind.  I never had a problem with Mike Alstott, even though he scored about 15 touchdowns against us in 1995.  Drew Brees, I didn’t mind [Mole!  Mole!  Moley moley moley moley moley moley...Mole!] even though he was very good against IU.  On the other hand, Brian Cardinal, Brad Miller, and Glenn Robinson can go to hell and they can save a seat for Chris Kramer.  It probably is more of a basketball rivalry than anything else.

So, is the hate there?  Yes.  I want IU to win this game very badly, partly because it would be good for the program, and partly because of how offensive it is to watch Purdue win in our stadium.  It’s a game that matters to both schools, if not from exactly the same perspective, no matter what the record of either team is.  That’s a rivalry.

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