On Sunday afternoon, Purdue announced that it had fired coach Darrell Hazell. While the timing seemed a bit strange, because I wouldn't think losing to Iowa would be the straw that broke the Boilermakers' back, the news certainly was not shocking.
As Hazell entered the 2016 season, I wasn't sure there was anything he could do short of reaching a bowl game to save his job. Seeing him canned with Purdue at 3-3 a week after the Boilermakers won at Illinois was surprising, though it's hard to argue with firing a coach who is 9-33 overall and 3-24 in conference play in three-plus seasons.
But I'm not here to dissect whether Hazell should have been fired, I'm here to offer Purdue -- and any other school in a similar situation -- some words on advice. Mike Bobinski is in his fifth week as the athletic director at Purdue, and now that he's made his first big decision, he has to work on the next major decision.
Hiring his first football coach.
An athletic director has a lot of responsibilities, but probably nothing can impact his job security more than hiring a football coach. Hire the right one, and you'll have carte blanche to do whatever the hell you want with the rest of the athletic department. Make the wrong hire and, well, nobody is going to care about how many titles the golf coach you hired is bringing in.
So Bobinski needs to get this right, and based on what I've seen already, I'm concerned he's falling into same trap as many athletic directors. He's looking around his conference where he sees schools like Ohio State and Michigan and thinking, "We need to be like those schools."
Pretty much every assistant at Ohio State and some at Michigan are likely to be candidates for Purdue, I'm told.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) October 16, 2016
This is the wrong approach.
Again, this not only applies to Purdue, but also any Power Five school like Purdue. A school that isn't a football power, but is instead a mid-tier-or-below Power Five school.
You will not beat the Ohio States and Michigans of the world by trying to be like them. They have more talent, and they're always going to have more talent, so even if you hire a brilliant assistant from one of those schools, that assistant may improve your situation, but he will not consistently beat those teams.
To do that, you need to think outside the box. The best approach, one not taken often enough by schools like Purdue, is to turn left when everybody else is going right.
In my opinion, deciding to run the option would be a better choice for a school like Purdue than trying to emulate what Michigan does ever will be. Purdue can look to its own recent history to see the benefit of being different. In 1997, Purdue hired Joe Tiller to take over a program that had two winning seasons in the previous 16. The program was a mess.
Tiller brought something new with him from Wyoming, his previous job: The spread offense. Now, the spread is so commonplace in 2016 that we label nearly every offense with multiple receiver sets a spread, but in 1997 it was very new at the college level. It was definitely a strange sight in the stodgy "three yards and a cloud of dust" Big Ten.
Purdue went 9-3 in Tiller's first season. It beat Notre Dame in Tiller's second game at the school, ending an 11-game skid against an in-state rival with this strange beast called the spread.
Tiller would spend 12 seasons at Purdue, and only had a losing record in two of them. He won a Big Ten title in 2000 and took the Boilermakers to their first Rose Bowl in 44 years. After Tiller retired in 2008, the Boilermakers hoped they could keep that magic by hiring his offensive line coach, Danny Hope, but the offensive line coach didn't have the same familiarity with the spread as Tiller. Plus, the rest of the world was catching up to the offense. After Hope failed, Purdue turned to Hazell, who was coming off an 11-win season at Kent State, but also had seven years of experience as an assistant on Jim Tressel's Ohio State staff at Ohio State.
And if he spent seven seasons at Ohio State under Tressel, surely he could bring what Ohio State does to Purdue!
Well, after putting together 10 winning seasons in 12 years under Tiller, Purdue has had one winning season in the seven full seasons since.
Purdue needs to find another Joe Tiller. Somebody who can go to West Lafayette and revitalize a program in sore need of new life. I don't know exactly who that is. It could be P.J. Fleck, or it could be some coach who isn't even showing up on the list of potential candidates. All I know is that it's probably not Les Miles, or anybody similar to Miles. Sure, that hire that would generate a ton of buzz, but the buzz only lasts so long.
I wish I knew exactly who you need, Purdue, because I'd tell you. But I can tell you this much: Think differently.
Revenge Tour of the Week
Speaking of potential candidates for the Purdue job, it must feel really good to be Lane Kiffin this week. His Revenge Tour 2016 had another stop in Knoxville over the weekend, and his team put a whooping on the Vols to give Tennessee its second consecutive loss.
The day began with a banner flying over the stadium mocking Kiffin...
...and it ended with him tossing his visor to a Tennessee fan who totally didn't want it.
As Alabama's offensive coordinator this season, Kiffin has had a chance to go against the two schools that have fired him: USC and Tennessee. In those games, Kiffin's offenses have racked up 1,059 total yards, 11 touchdowns and 80 points (Alabama also scored three touchdowns on defense and special teams in those games) and completely dominated.
Hell, against Tennessee on Saturday, Kiffin showed no mercy. He saw all the trouble Tennessee's defense had stopping read option runs against Texas A&M the week before, and kept running them over and over and over with Jalen Hurts. Seriously, go back and watch the tape. Kiffin called the same play numerous times, and Hurts ended up rushing for 132 yards on his own, while Alabama rushed for 438 yards as a team, averaging 8.9 yards per carry.
The Lane Kiffin Revenge Tour 2016 showed no damn mercy. Now all Alabama has to do is schedule the Raiders.
Bathrobe of the Week
I've never been a robe person myself, but it works for Gary.
Timeout of the Week
Did Butch call timeout there just to yell at the officials?— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) October 15, 2016
I don't know if this actually happened, but I'll take Wes Rucker's word for it. Covering Tennessee football is his job, and he was there watching it. I definitely hope it happened, that's for sure. The idea of a coach calling a timeout so he can chew out the officials is an idea I throw the full weight of my support behind.
In fact, I believe coaches should be afforded one extra timeout per half to do it. The NBA has full timeouts and 20-second timeouts, and college football should adopt full timeouts and cuss-out-the-referee timeouts. They last twice as long as a full timeout, and television broadcasts aren't allowed to cut to commercial for them. Instead, they must broadcast the ass-chewing, and have the analysts break down the action, and also bring in a certified lip-reader to help break down what's happening.
Second-Best Timeout of the Week
Don't try to make sense of this timeout to take a knee. Just roll with it. It's Purdue, Jake. pic.twitter.com/1FfwX8o6cT— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) October 15, 2016
Maybe this is when Mike Bobinski decided to fire Darrell Hazell?
Random Ranking of the Week
I've decided that every week I'm going to rank something at random. Something that has nothing to do with college football.
This week I'm ranking Nic Cage movies.
1. Raising Arizona
2. The Rock
3. Con Air
Stat of the Week
Seven of Alabama's 11 defensive starters have scored at least 1 non-offensive TD this season. That's unreal.— Alex Byington (@abyingtonTD) October 15, 2016
This is downright ridiculous. First of all, if you aren't aware of it, after doing it twice against Tennessee on Saturday, Alabama has now played 11 straight games in which it scored a touchdown on special teams or defense.
Second of all, 64 percent of its starting defense has scored a touchdown this season. Alabama has had seven different defensive starters score a touchdown this year, while South Carolina has nine touchdowns as a team.
Celebration of the Week
These guys shouldn't feel too bad about this. Things would get a lot worse for NC State later.
Photo of the Week
Like right here.
In case you aren't familiar with what you're looking at, this is the look you get when you just missed a 33-yard field goal at the end of regulation that would have beaten No. 3 Clemson on the road.
Alarming Bad Beat Trend Of The Season of the Week
A few weeks ago, The Monday After received a bad beat story from a reader after Arizona State's D.J. Calhoun returned an onside kick attempt by California 42 yards for a touchdown. Our reader had bet the under in the game, and Calhoun's touchdown took the point total over, costing him money.
It was a very bad beat.
Well, it's happened two more times since then, though not to any of our readers that we know of. Last week, it was Georgia returning an onside kick late in its win against South Carolina to ruin the under, and on Saturday, Florida's Antonio Callaway returned an onside kick 44 yards for a score that put the total of that game over.
Special teams units of the world, for the sake of all the degenerate gamblers out there, please stop returning onside kicks for touchdowns. You could be ruining lives!
College Football Playoff Projection of the Week
2. Ohio State
Until next Monday after!