Livin’ B1G: Miles And Miles Of Speculation

Les Miles-to-Purdue speculation, Michigan State’s rapid fall from grace, another missed opportunity for Wisconsin, and a quick look into basketball season in this edition of Livin’ B1G.

When I began writing Livin’ B1G, never did I think I’d devote so many words to Purdue football. Some people simply refuse, and who can blame them? After all, Jimmy Carter was President of the United States the last time the Boilermakers won 10 games.

I’ve read and written the name Darrell Hazell and spoke of his lack of job security far more than I could’ve imagined. So, like the entire Purdue fan base, I found myself breathing a sigh of relief Sunday when athletic director Mike Bobinski finally pulled the trigger on firing Hazell.

I’ll gladly admit that talking and writing about Purdue football would be far more interesting if Boilermakers fans got their wish with Les Miles being lured to West Lafayette. There are plenty of other worthy candidates, but even just the speculation provides entertainment – especially on Twitter.

Take a look at what some were saying during Purdue’s 49-35 loss to Iowa on Saturday, many hours before Purdue released an official statement on Hazell’s dismissal:

Probably never. I’m more on the side of these takes:

What’s shocked me the most, though, is how many people there are against Purdue hiring Miles. The attention alone would be worth it, considering MAC schools are currently out-recruiting the Boilermakers. However, there’s a group that disagrees. Who knew this many people cared that much?

The bottom line is that Purdue is desperate for some semblance of a competitive football program. Even if he might be considered too old to build a program from scratch, it’ll go after Miles because he would put butts in the seats and immediately give Boilermakers fans some cause for excitement.

The problem is that if Miles does go to Purdue, it shows he’s desperate for a job – any job. Myself, my seven other co-workers currently in the office, and group of three women I see walking across the street have a chance to beat the Boilermakers as they stand now – and that’s with all of us playing both ways. Miles would be dumb to walk into a complete rebuilding project considering the other options that he’ll have.

… I also feel the same way about P.J. Fleck, the much younger, much more suited coach to take over the disaster in West Lafayette. He’s completely turned around Western Michigan, going from 1-11 in his first season to posting better recruiting classes than Purdue, winning eight games each of the last two years and leading the Broncos to their first-ever national ranking.

And those are all the reasons I don’t want him to end up at Purdue, for his sake. Fleck, 35, deserves to coach at a program where the pieces for success are already in place rather than essentially taking over another Western Michigan, just for more money. He’s already the highest-paid coach in the MAC.

… What’s funny is that Purdue’s 3-3 record is actually better than Michigan State’s 2-4 mark. The Spartans are less than a year removed from a trip to the College Football Playoff and now look like a team that would finish fourth in the Sun Belt. They’ve lost four in a row for the first time in the Mark Dantonio era and just watched Northwestern – a team that scored seven points while losing to FCS foe Illinois State earlier this season – hang 54 on them Saturday.

It’s gotten so bad that I purposely wore my 2015 Final Four shirt to work on Monday to try and take my mind off the disaster of a football season, while also looking forward to watching the best recruiting class of Tom Izzo’s career.

… It seems like ages ago, but Michigan State was ranked No. 8 when Wisconsin went into East Lansing and won, 30-6. Unfortunately, that was the only victory the Badgers could muster during their run of playing three straight top-10 teams.

Wisconsin had Michigan on the ropes before losing, 14-7, in the Big House, then let a 10-point halftime lead disappear in Saturday night’s 30-23 overtime loss to Ohio State. The Badgers might be the best two-loss team in the country, and they’re certainly better than Nebraska, which jumped up to No. 8, two spots ahead of Wisconsin, in the latest AP Top 25.

… Another Badger made news this weekend on the basketball side. Nigel Hayes was named preseason Big Ten player of the year at the conference’s media days, then made strong comments about why college athletes should get a share of the massive amounts of revenue the schools bring in because of them.

He took it a step further Saturday, holding a sign near the College GameDay set prior to the football game against Ohio State.

Hayes had some rants on Twitter as well. This is a touchy subject for many, but it’s tough to disagree with Hayes’ points considering the profits made from unpaid athletes. I, for one, would like to see some compensation go their way.

… Soon, Hayes and the Badgers will be on the court trying to make another deep NCAA Tournament run. Here’s how I see the Big Ten standings unfolding:

  1. Wisconsin**
  2. Michigan State**
  3. Indiana**
  4. Purdue**
  5. Michigan**
  6. Iowa**
  7. Maryland**
  8. Ohio State
  9. Penn State
  10. Northwestern
  11. Minnesota
  12. Nebraska
  13. Illinois
  14. Rutgers

** = NCAA Tournament team

MORE: Big Ten Football Rankings – Week 8