As many of you have seen, IU has opened as a 20.5 point favorite against Purdue this weekend. While Purdue has been favored by 20 or more points several times over the past couple of decades, this is uncharted territory for IU in this series.
1993: IU -13 (IU wins 24-17 in Bloomington)
1994: Purdue -3 (IU wins 33-29 in West Lafayette)
1995: Purdue -4 (Purdue wins 51-14 in Bloomington)
1996: Purdue -6 (IU wins 33-16 in West Lafayette)
1997: Purdue -15 (Purdue wins 56-7 in Bloomington)
1998: Purdue -16 (Purdue wins 52-7 in West Lafayette)
1999: Purdue -13 (Purdue wins 30-24 in Bloomington)
2000: Purdue -16 (Purdue wins 41-13 in West Lafayette)
2001: IU -3 (IU wins 13-7 in Bloomington)
2002: Purdue -21 (Purdue wins 34-10 in West Lafayette)
2003: Purdue -26 (Purdue wins 24-16 in Bloomington)
2004: Purdue -21 (Purdue wins 63-24 in West Lafayette)
2005: Purdue -12 (Purdue wins 41-14 in Bloomington)
2006: Purdue -12 (Purdue wins 28-19 in West Lafayette)
2007: Purdue -2 (IU wins 27-24 in Bloomington)
2008: Purdue -11 (Purdue wins 62-10 in West Lafayette)
2009: Purdue -3 (Purdue wins 38-21 in Bloomington)
2010: Purdue -3 (IU wins 34-31 in West Lafayette (OT))
2011: Purdue -7 (Purdue wins 33-25 in Bloomington)
2012: Purdue -5 (Purdue wins 56-35 in Bloomington)
This is as far back as I can find online. If anyone knows of a site that goes back beyond 1993, I would love to see it. The good news is that in the past 20 years, IU has won the game straight up every time it has been favored. The bad news is that IU has only been favored twice. IU is 6-14 overall against Purdue in the past 20 games and 8-12 against the spread. This means that even based upon meager pregame expectations IU has underperformed a bit in this series, which anyone who has watched it knows.
Obviously, IU has an excellent chance to reclaim the Bucket for the first time in three seasons, to win the Bucket at home for the first time in six seasons, and to put the hurt on Purdue for the first time in a while. Still, a note of caution: it’s been 20 years since Purdue had a team this bad. In 1993, Purdue entered the game with a 1-9/0-7 record. IU, on the other hand, had a much better team that this season’s. IU was 7-3 with its only losses having come in competitive games against eventual Big Ten champ Wisconsin and at Ohio State and Penn State. Purdue, despite the record, was not as historically awful as this year’s team, but they were pretty bad, but IU still only won by a TD in Bloomington. Obviously, I’m not worried about the players and coaches looking past this game, but I think fans would be well-advised to expect a fight.
Another thing to note about the point spread: if IU beats the spread it will be among the most lopsided IU wins in Bucket history. IU has won by 20 or more points only six times: 36-3 in 1909, 37-0 in 1917, 20-0 in 1942, 26-0 in 1945, 35-14 in 1987, 52-7 in 1988.