Happy Monday! We hope you had a great weekend because we're starting your week off with some realness: Travis Miller, Purdue fan and manager of SB Nation's bravest team site, Hammer and Rails.
What's the most inaccurate stereotype of Purdue fans?
It's hard to say because there really aren't that many of us. We're not a bandwagon program. You're only a fan of Purdue because you went there or know someone who went there. Perhaps the biggest inaccurate stereotype is that Purdue is a small private school and, for many outside of Indiana, that it's an Ivy League-type of school. While we have great academics, we're actually a big state school of about 40,000 students on par with the rest of the Big Ten.
What stereotype should we be mocking instead?
That our administration is cheap and the athletic department is incredibly poorly run. I wrote about this last year in saying that if Purdue isn't going to bother to compete it should leave the Big Ten. The numbers are pretty damning too: Purdue is a founding member of the conference, yet has fewer conference titles overall (71) than the University of Chicago (73) despite Chicago having not competed in the Big Ten in over 70 years. We have the fewest national titles (3) of anyone not named Rutgers. Our athletic director has improved facilities but has run the football program into a crater, failing to capitalize on a very nice run from 1997-2004. Our university President has gone on record as saying that we will not get into an athletics arms race and he wants some of the Big Ten Network money used for the school as a whole instead of athletics, all while the athletic department has one of the smallest, if not the smallest, budgets in the conference while sponsoring the fewest sports.
Oh, and when Purdue does come close to success it often loses in comical, stomach punch fashion.
If a Purdue fan has to be roommates with a fan of another team, which one are they most likely to get along with?
Cleveland. We are very clearly the Cleveland of college sports. Right down to basketball being our best hope, yet always having someone else in the way.
What's the worst subsection of your fans?
We're all pretty much bitter and self-loathing at this point, but at Purdue football and basketball games there's a large group of high level donors in the good seats that pretty much sit on their hands and even encourage people not to get too loud around them. Of course, at football games you would hardly notice.
What is a Purdue fan's most delusional but firmly held belief?
That we will win a basketball National Championship someday. That's really what keeps us going. Indiana is a basketball state first and foremost. We share it with one of the most storied programs in all of college basketball. While we have a very comfortable lead in the overall series with Indiana and the same number of Big Ten championships, those five national title banners burn us even though the Hoosiers haven't won one in 30 years. We long for the day when it finally happens and Purdue gets the first (and yes, I know it will be met with "Congrats! Only four to go!) I say this even though it's been 36 years and counting since we last made a Final Four and I have seen at least half a dozen Final Four worthy teams dicktrip for a variety of reasons: 1988, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2010, and 2011 are all prime examples.
What is a Purdue fan's deepest fear?
That we will never reach another Final Four and have to watch Indiana win another title. Really, this scares us the most. As for football? We're living it. We have a coach with a massive buyout and a record of 6-30 and an administration that clearly does not care about competing. They don't understand that putting football first raises the overall amount of money coming in. We are the only Big Ten team this year without a prime time game, a direct result of Morgan Burke never installing lights and actively going against any night games on campus. Our deepest football fear is that Burke's replacement when he finally retires next year will be exactly like him.