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(All information as of June 20, 2007)
COACH AND PROGRAM
One year, you go 5-6 and get shut out of a bowl game for the first time in nine years. The next season, you go 8-6 overall, 5-3 in the powerhouse Big Ten and get back to the postseason.
So, everybody's happy, right? Not so fast.
"People around here are a little spoiled," Purdue defensive coordinator Brock Spack said. "We won eight games one year and went to the Rose Bowl. I understand it's part of the deal."
"That's the culture we live in," Purdue co-offensive coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher said. "The Internet culture, the microwave culture. Whatever you want to call it. Everything's got to be right now, and if you're not national champions, you're bad."
Joe Tiller's 10th Purdue team definitely had a bounce-back season. But some of the disappointment can be traced to Tiller's past success: A Big Ten championship in 2000. Two other January 1 bowls. Wins against Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin.
In 2006, the degree of difficulty didn't meet past standards. The Boilermakers beat only one bowl
team and that was a squeaker against 6-7 Minnesota. The other wins came against Indiana State, Miami (Ohio), Ball State, Northwestern, Michigan State, Indiana and Illinois.
When Purdue had a chance to step up against the big boys, it was staggered. Notre Dame beat the Boilermakers by 14 and Iowa beat them by 30. Penn State shut out Tiller's team and Wisconsin beat it by 21.
Quality wins are a big deal at NCAA Tournament selection time, and Purdue didn't have any of them.