2012 record: 5-6 (2-5)
2011 record: 7-6 (4-4), beat Western Michigan in Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl
2012 Sagarin: 67 (IU is #72)
2011 Sagarin: 65 (IU was #139)
Coach: Danny Hope (fourth year, 21-27)
Series: Purdue leads 71-37-6
TV: noon Saturday, Big Ten Network
Line: Purdue by 5.5
Blogs: Hammer and Rails, Boiled Sports
It's been an encouraging season for IU fans and a discouraging one for Purdue fans, but as the Bucket game arrives, the Hoosiers are in the same position they were in for much of the Tiller era: playing only for the Bucket while Purdue will be bowl-eligible if they beat IU. Danny Hope is widely rumored to be in trouble, and essentially no one believes that he could survive a loss to IU.
If IU pulls the upset (and the Boilermakers are favored by 6), then for only the second time in history the road team will have won four consecutive Bucket games. This happened previously from 1994 through 1997. One interesting fact about the Bucket game is that there hasn't been a big home-road split. Purdue is 37-21-5 at home, 33-16-1 in Bloomington (and 1-0 in a single game in Indianapolis).
While Purdue can earn a trip to the postseason, the game isn't without possible milestones for IU. Well, not milestones, exactly, but since Bill Mallory's firing IU has won three or more Big Ten games only four times: 1999, 2001, 2006, and 2007. A 5-7 record with three Big Ten wins would be a meaningful improvement over 1-11/0-8 and a reason for hope that IU can break through with a bowl bid in 2013, when the Hoosiers play eight home games. Of course, getting the Bucket, especially at home, is the biggest thing.