What makes the great rivalries great is the fact that they are organically grown. When you put two teams close by or otherwise pair them up enough, they'll start to get in each others way. Little by little, these flashpoints will add up until the hatred starts to flow naturally.
The rivalry between the Hoosiers and Boilermakers needs no introduction to the fine residents of the state that holds both universities, but in the 2015 season, things had grown a bit stale. Indiana was just starting to find their way out of the fog that set in following their Big Ten Championship in 2013 but had been plagued by inconsistency. Purdue was worse off, having missed the Big Dance the past two years and dropping home games to the likes of North Florida and Gardner-Webb that year.
So on January 28, 2015 in Mackey Arena, something had to give- and Indiana collapsed like a dying star. The Hoosiers were run out of the building in a 16-point loss, and would alternate wins and losses the rest of the year before closing out the regular season on a three-game losing streak. They would receive an arguably undeserved bid to the NCAA Tournament as a 10-seed, and play admirably in a loss to Wichita State.
But after that loss in Mackey, something else happened. Not all rivalry flashpoints happen on the court, and like a phoenix, this flashpoint rose slowly from the ashes following that cold night in West Lafayette. Did it catalyze the team's run to Big Ten glory in 2016? Did it mean anything at all? Historians may never be sure.
But this is that story.
Kyle Robbins (Editor-in-Chief, Crimson Quarry): I had actually just taken over the blog from [Kyle] Swick in a violent coup about a week beforehand. But he agreed to stay on as an assistant editor, which was nice. You never see that kind of post-coup cooperation anymore.
Kyle Swick (CQ Assistant Editor / Disgraced Former Editor-in-Chief): It's like the old saying goes: "always respect the results of a violent coup."
Robbins: Things were going reasonably well. Indiana had just pulverized a decent Maryland team on national television to move to 5-1 in the Big Ten. They got it handed to them at Ohio State in the last game before Purdue, but we still figured it'd be a tight game.
Ben Raphel (CQ Assistant Editor / Pessimist): I didn't.
Robbins: Purdue had some bad losses to that point, including three home games. There weren't a great deal of indicators that they were prepared to rattle off eight of their next nine after getting pushed around by a John Groce Illinois team.
Swick (Danville High School Alumnus): John Groce graduated from Danville High School.
Raphel: Right around that time, BOFA had come back in a big way in the meme market. It had probably been at least a decade and a half, if not longer, since I last heard someone get BOFA'd but it had become the vintage meme of the year.
Swick: Yeah when Richard Dawkins gets BOFA'd, you start paying attention.
Raphel: So Purdue races out to a big lead and basically never looks back thanks to one of the most asinine gameplans I can recall. The offensive blueprint was, apparently, to send a parade of guards into the lane to try and lay one off the glass over AJ Hammons.
Tom Crean (Head Coach, Indiana Basketball): Admittedly not my best work.
Robbins: I want to say he nearly had a double-double but with points and blocks.
AJ Hammons (Center, Dallas Mavericks): I nearly did.
Swick: Don't forget
The Region's Own Bryson Scott came off the bench and destroyed us before vanishing back into the ether, resurfacing two years later as the starting point guard for Fort Wayne, where he would then have another great game in a win over Indiana.
Bryson Scott (mystical Hoosier kryptonite): Stay tuned for 2020 when I'm inexplicably granted a sixth year of eligibility and score 25 for Houston Baptist in a win over Indiana, using that weird-ass layup motion that Swick hates.
Swick: Bryson, what is your career offensive rating in games not played against Indiana University?
Scott: I should get going.
Robbins: So we're in crisis mode at this point. Losing on the court is one thing, comes with the territory. The only thing that really matters is never taking an L online.
Swick: Yeah we've never taken an L online.
Raphel: Zero online L's.
Jack Dorsey (CEO, Twitter): It's true. Crimson Quarry dot com has never taken an L or been owned on our website or anywhere else.
Robbins: But #PurdueTwitter is flying high and our @s are completely out of control. It's helpful that most Purdue twitter accounts are just K-Mart brand IU accounts.
@HabitualBoiler: No idea what these nerds are talking about.
Robbins: Nevertheless, we have to get control of the message. So we've gathered in the Situation Room [ed's note: Nick's English Hut] with our Joint Chiefs of Staff [ed's note: one dozen shots of well whiskey] to put a strategy together.
Raphel: It becomes apparent rather quickly that it's going to take a Hail Mary to get out of this one.
Robbins: I was gonna try to BOFA'em.
Swick: When he told me what he was going to do, I threw up. It was a huge longshot.
Raphel: You're banking on them not having looked outside their corner of the internet at any point in that last month.
Swick: The blog was so fragile at this point. We were finally rounding into form and now Robbins is pushing our chips to the middle anyway. But if you want a risk-free lifestyle, don't become an amateur sports blogger.
Darren Rovell (Alleged Sport Business Reporter): This was going to make or break their brand.
Robbins: I take some time to figure out how I want to approach it, and shortly after midnight, the three of us each insert our keys into the computer that gives us access to the Twitter account, and I hammer it out.
@HammerAndRails y'all were great tonight. props to you, the bofa in the building was off the charts— CRIMSON QUARRY (@crimsonquarry) January 29, 2015
Swick: I didn't breathe until we got our response. Which took three minutes so I passed out.
Raphel: When the response came across, it felt momentarily like we had lost all over again.
@crimsonquarry thanks, gentlemen. Let's both get on a run and make the rematch more important.— Bad Hombre & Rails (@HammerAndRails) January 29, 2015
Raphel: It was a tough read. Were they avoiding it deliberately because they knew? Or did it sail unknowingly over their head?
Swick: But we had come this far. What did we have to lose by pressing the issue? At some point, someone was going to recognize what we tried to do.
Robbins: We really only had one option.
@HammerAndRails yea for sure, what'd you think of the bofa though— CRIMSON QUARRY (@crimsonquarry) January 29, 2015
Swick: I'm certainly not the most religious guy on the planet, but I remember spending the next two minutes deep in prayer. I wasn't even sure what I was praying for.
Raphel: And just like that.
Robbins: The place goes wild. It's like when you're down 2 late and you hit the layup with a foul. The bench is going nuts but there's always one guy holding everyone back to remind you there's still work left to do.
Swick: The graphics team was incredible. They had the response drawn up in a matter of minutes but we wanted to let things stew as responses flooded in. Really build the suspense.
.@HammerAndRails BOFA DEEZ NUTS pic.twitter.com/IkXwsrRocH— CRIMSON QUARRY (@crimsonquarry) January 29, 2015
Raphel: I was so deliriously happy; I thought we had won the game.
Crean: I try to tell guys to stay off social media after bad losses, it's basically poison. But as I get on the bus the entire team is screaming with excitement and spraying champagne like we won the pennant.
Kevin 'Yogi' Ferrell (Point Guard, Dallas Mavericks): I see this tweet and immediately show it to the guys. Their faces light up. You never see the winning team get owned this badly by the guys they just beat. It was historic. That's when we decided to make the call.
Jim Delany (Commissioner, Big Ten Conference): I don't normally take calls from players, but I had some time between conference calls to finalize the additions of DePaul and Tulsa to the Big Ten so I figured it would be good PR to speak to the constituents. Kevin told me what happened and it was an easy decision. I stripped Purdue of their victory and awarded it to Indiana.
Matt Painter (Head Coach, Purdue Basketball): I was furious at first, but after seeing the exchange, I'm just glad they didn't take more wins from us.
Vince Edwards (Forward, Purdue Basketball): It's disappointing, definitely, to walk off the court having scored more points than the other team and find out you lost. But you just have to learn from it, work harder, and keep moving forward.
Painter: All our goals were still in front of us. We could still win the Big Ten and we could still win our first game in the NCAA Tournament.
Edwards: We didn't, though.
Painter: Ditto for the next year lmao.
Ferrell: It definitely invigorated us, but in kind of a delayed way. Like we go out to Maui the next year and lose two bad games, then get pummeled by Duke. Season looks dead in the water.
Nick Zeisloft (Deadeye): So Coach Crean comes in to the locker room after the Duke game and has the exchange printed out on this comically huge poster board. No idea how he even got it on the plane.
Troy Williams (Doer of Both Good Things and Ba-): And he just said "are you playing AT this amazing own by Crimson Quarry on Twitter dot com or are you playing FOR this amazing own by Crimson Quarry on Twitter dot com?" Which, truthfully, did not make a lot of sense.
Zeisloft: But we got the gist of it.
Ferrell: And then we won the Big Ten for the second time in four years.
Swick: In 2010, Purdue won their most recent Big Ten championship, their second in sixteen years.
Ferrell: And then we beat Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.
Swick: Which was the second NCAA Tournament game Indiana won that year, which is two more NCAA Tournament games than Purdue has won in the last four seasons.
Robbins: I'm gonna ask H&R what they think of parodies.