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Friday, October 28, 2011

Know Your Foe - Purdue 2011

Saturday marks Michigan's homecoming game as the 6-1 Wolverines welcome Purdue to The Big House.  This will be the 57th meeting between the two schools, with Michigan winning last year's contest, 27-16.  But those are the facts you can find anywhere.  Below is the stuff you didn't know in another death-defying edition of Know Your Foe.

"Hey, IU -- blow me!"
History: Purdue was founded as a land grant college on May 6, 1869 when the Indiana General Assembly accepted a $150K donation and 100 acres of land from Lafayette businessman John Purdue to establish a college of science, technology, and agriculture in his name. But it wasn’t just the Morrill Act and Purdue's love of education that got the school started. It was spite. Purdue had been denied a professorship at Indiana University. So to help Indiana students have an alternative to the school in Bloomington, Purdue donated the money and land to help start the school that would bear his name.  Classes first began at Purdue on September 16, 1874 with 39 students. Purdue issued its first degree, not surprisingly a Bachelor of Science, in 1875.

As a side note, Mr. Purdue’s is buried on campus near the Union Building, which is surprising since we at the MZone thought it was hidden inside that giant drum they wheel around the football field.

Location: West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue is the flagship of the six campuses within the Purdue University System, one of the largest university systems in the United States. It is situated in Tippecanoe County about 65 miles northwest of Indianapolis. The place is named in honor of General Lafayette, a French military hero who fought with the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

Can't be all bad in WL, right?
While Andy claimed in a previous KYF to have known some nice looking Purdue grads, he also noted this in no place to go looking for girls. According to the 2000 US Census, for every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 137.2 males in West Lafayette.  This unusual distribution can be explained by Purdue's strong academic programs in male-dominated fields such as engineering.  Whatever the reason, the MZone hereby motions to rename West Lafayette as Sausage, Indiana.

Nickname: Boilermakers.  The nickname dates back to 1891 when a local reporter referred to the football team as “Boiler Makers” following a 44-0 whitewash of Wabash College. The title of the story was called “Slaughter of Innocents” (which is an apt description of the previous three years of Michigan Football). The next year the student newspaper (still called the Exponent) began using the name and it stuck. As far as nicknames go, this one is a true original. Purdue is the only college known as the Boilermakers.

Before becoming the Boilermakers, Purdue’s sports teams had a bunch of silly industrial/farming names, including the surreal “Clod Mashers and Lunch Punishers from the wilds of Tippecanoe County”. Other names were the Corn Huskers, Rail Splitters, Haymakers, LogHaulers, Blacksmiths, Sluggers, Hayseeds, Pumpkin-shuckers and my personal favorite: Cornfield Sailors...not that there's anything wrong with that.

Kiddie ride? Nope. Purdue's mascot
Mascot: The Boilermaker Special has been the official mascot of Purdue University since 1940. It essentially is a Victorian-era railroad locomotive built on a truck chassis. The Special was originally designed to demonstrate Purdue's engineering programs. It is "street legal" and can be driven on expressways at a top speed of 65mph and it attends all of Purdue’s football games home & away. Hats bearing the logos of defeated opponents are attached to the Boilermaker Special's cow-catcher (which leaves it pretty empty some years). There is a smaller version (called the X-Tra) for indoor events. The Special is operated, maintained, and funded by the unfortunately named Purdue Reamer Club.

Just to be confusing, the official mascot of Purdue athletics since 1940 has been Purdue Pete. He began as a logo for the campus bookstore. He made his first physical appearance as the athletics mascot at a pep rally in 1956. Pete has lost his head several times, literally. They lost his original paper-mache head in 1962 on the way back from Iowa City. The head was in the back of the Boilermaker Special when a strong gust of wind blew it out into the road. The crew stopped the Special and searched for hours for the head without any luck. The only thing they found was little piece of the shoulder pad.

About the only think missing from Purdue Pete, in our opinion, is a super 'stache in honor of the apparent coaching pre-req at PU.

Colors/Logo/Helmet: In 1887 Purdue University adopted its school colors, Old Gold and Black. These distinctive colors were inspired by the brass and iron found on the steam engine Lafayette that passed through the state (OK, we get it -- you like trains). Unlike Big Ten teams Iowa and Minnesota, the Purdue gold is actually gold, not yellow.

They use a “forward moving P,” as their primary logo. This logo is nice clean and basic. They have also used various versions of a train engine as an alternative logo. Again, it is a uniquely Purdue symbol and there is no confusing it with any other college logo.

Considering they have not had a ton of success as a football program, they have a pretty stable helmet history. In the early 1950’s Purdue’s helmets looked a little bit like the Michigan helmets without the wings. They went to a “numbers on the side” period in the 1960’s until they went with the current gold with a black P in the early 1970’s. However, for some reason during the last two years of the Fred Akers era they had a two-year fling with black helmets (1989 and 1990).

When Drew Brees led Purdue to the 2001 Rose Bowl, they wore a special “Rose Bowl” version of the helmet. I think it looked great because it combined the classic Purdue style with the very special (and rare, as it only happened once before in '67) occasion of the Rose Bowl visit.

Fight Song Hail Purdue! is the official fight song of Purdue University. The lyrics were written by James Morrison, to the tune set by Edward Wotawa in 1913. The song was initially titled "Purdue War Song" and was dedicated to the Varsity Glee Club, of whom Wotawa was a member.  The lyrics also talk about friendship, and time spent together, so it starts to devolve into a poem a guy would write to a girlfriend he just dumped, but overall a solid fight song.

Hail Purdue
To your call once more we rally,
Alma Mater, hear our praise;
Where the Wabash spreads its valley,
Filled with joy our voices raise.
From the skies in swelling echoes
Come the cheers that tell the tale,
Of your vic'tries and your heroes,
Hail Purdue! We sing all hail!

Hail, hail to old Purdue!
All hail to our old gold and black!
Hail, hail to old Purdue!
Our friendship may she never lack,
Ever grateful ever true,
Thus we raise our song anew,†
Of the days we've spent with you,
All hail our own Purdue.

When in after years we're turning,
Alma Mater, back to you,
May our hearts with love be yearning,
For the scenes of old Purdue.
Back among your pathways winding
Let us seek what lies before,
Fondest hopes and aims e'er finding,
While we sing of days of yore.

Academics: The reputation of Purdue as a top engineering school is well known. It was the first university in America to award an aviation engineering degree under the direction of the Wright brothers. Purdue was the first university in the country to offer college credit for flight training, and the first to offer a degree in aviation. Over the last ten years, Purdue has awarded more aerospace engineering degree than any other school, and awards more engineering degrees to women than any college in the country. It’s known as the cradle of astronauts, and has one of the largest international student populations of any public university in the U.S.

According to the latest US News and World Reports rankings, Purdue comes in #62.  Not exactly Michigan, but more importantly to John Purdue -- higher ranked than Indiana!

Athletics: Purdue was a charter member of the Big Ten and played a central role in its creation. They have an intense rivalry with Indiana in all sports. The Boilermakers battle the Hoosiers on the football field each year to win the Old Oaken Bucket. Purdue leads the series by a wide margin. Found on a farm in southern Indiana, the oaken bucket is one of the oldest football trophies in the nation. The winner of game gets to add a bronze "P" or "I" chain link and keep the trophy until the next face-off. Ironically, the first competition in 1925 led to a 0-0 tie, resulting in the first link on the chain being an "IP."

It is good that they battle so hard with Indiana, because in over 100 years of Big Ten football the Boilermakers haven’t really battled anyone else. They have won only one non-shared conference championship (1929) and have only shared of seven others. Only two of those co-championships have taken place in the last 55 years.

But in basketball it is a different story -- Boilermaker Basketball teams have won more Big Ten Championships than any other conference school, with 27 (Men 21 and Women 6). The guys have been to two Final Fours and the ladies three. The Purdue Women won the NCAA title 1999 while the Men were voted NCAA Champs in 1932 (before the NCAA tourney).

The rest of the Boilermakers athletic teams are just plain weak. In this century, they’ve only won a handful of Big Ten titles. They show no historical conference dominance in any sport. Their only other national championships have come in golf (1961 Mens and 2010 Ladies).

Purdue's Popcorn Engineer
Famous alums: Purdue alumni have headed corporations, held federal offices, founded television networks, and flown through space. Purdue’s distinguished faculty have won Nobel prizes, solved long-standing riddles in science, headed government agencies, and received countless awards. Famous Purdue people include: Russell Games Slayter, inventor of fiberglass; Harold Gray, creator of Little Orphan Annie; George Peppard, movie actor; Orville Redenbacher, popcorn king; and Ruth Siems, inventor of stove top stuffing. They have a nice list of famous athletes including legendary basketball coach John Wooden; NFL Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram; and Pro Bowl QBs Drew Brees, Len Dawson, and Bob (you can call me Brian's Dad) Griese. I would be remiss without mentioning that former Lions QB and current SEC lobbyist Gary Danielson went to Purdue. It is sad to see that a guy that went to high school in Michigan and attended a Big Ten School can be such a blow-hard against his midwestern football roots.

As I mentioned above, Purdue is known as the "Cradle of Astronauts". They have graduated 22 NASA astronauts, including the first and last men to walk on the moon. Pretty impressive. The most recognizable Purdue Space Man is Neil Armstrong. So yes, Purdue beats Michigan in the race to space -- but they have no US Presidents.  White House, Bitches!

The Game:  The previous two years, this is the point at which the bottom begins to fall out of the Michigan season: quick start, crappy ending.  But I just can't believe Brady's Boys will let that happen.  I can't.  Not again.  Not on homecoming.  Against a Danny Hope-coached team.

This game will be no cakewalk as Purdue stepped up and smacked Illinois last weekend on the road.  But that's more of a Zooker issue that something that can be attributed to Purdue props.

No, I think MSU was not the "beginning of the end," but rather just a stumble.  And tomorrow Denard has his best game of the season.

Michigan - 34
Purdue - 24


616goblue said...

I love it! "White House bitches, White House."


Dennis said...

One interesting tidbit about their football program is their QBs have passed for more yards in the NFL than any other school.

On an unrelated note, the Occupy Herbstreit pictures that are up in the last day or so have the sign bearer sporting a Michigan shirt. I guess the original guy is getting submissions from other folks, this guy was down in Houston.

Ramona said...

Informative as always :) And I even found a surprising tidbit of something to like about this week's foe: Hunky George Peppard went to Purdue??

Go Blue!!!!!!

Dennis said...

Oh, please win. Sorry we let Danny Hope get the idea he might actually make a difference with Purdue a couple years back.

Daniel said...

You forgot one of the greatest to come out of Purdue, Jim 'Chris' Everett. His attack on Jim Rome reminds me of the kind of stuff I could see current the current Purdue Coach doing.

Mikoyan said...

I love these.

George Peppard rocks....errr, rocked.

phil said...

Why is E. Gordon Gee picture in this KYF?

Dennis said...

John Purdue looks a bit like one of the quintet or quartet (depending on the Park) of singing ghosts at the Haunted Mansion.

CA MI Fan said...

Best sign ever;
Puredue, keeping ugly girls out of IU since 1865.

surrounded in columbus said...

another terrific KYF

beast in 'bama said...

If even my Rice Owls can beat Purdue this season, surely Michigan can!

Al said...

A Purdue grad told me that the nickname of the team was related to the fact that the Monon Railroad Locomotive Shops were in Lafayette, and some early football players worked there manufacturing railroad steam engines, hence the term "Boilermakers". It makes sense, especially when considering all of Purdue's various railroad paraphernalia.