If You Can’t Have a Bye, You May as Well Have Purdue

In 53 days and a wake up, we play Navy. I became acquainted with the “and a wake up” method of counting days when I was deployed and would anticipate going home as the sum of any number of days “and a wake up.” That the phrase includes the act of sleeping makes it particluarly appropriate when considering Purdue and the possible negative effects playing in Dublin will have on the Irish in 2012.

The NFL has  played a game in London every year since 2007, when the New York Giants played the Miami Dolphins. In 2008, the Chargers played the Saints (Who Dat!). In 2009, the Patriots played the Buccaneers. In 2010, the ’49ers played the Broncos and in 2011, the Buccaneers returned to Wembley to take on the Bears. After each London game, the teams returned to a bye week.

What happened to each team after the bye should raise a few red flags for Irish fans: the collective record of teams playing in London is 32-52. Of course, statistics out-of-context are usually misleading, and the London stats are no different. The 2007 Giants, for example, went 4-4 after London and still won the Super Bowl. The 2007 Dolphins went 1-15, for the season, so the argument can be made, and won, that it didn’t matter where on the planet the Fish played that year. Still, the post-London records are what they are. And here they are, thanks to Josh Katzowitz at CBS Sports: Giants (4-4), Dolphins (1-7), Saints (4-4), Chargers (5-3), Patriots (5-4), Buccaneers (3-6, 0-9), 49ers (4-4), Broncos (2-6), and Bears (4-5).

The Irish give us a season to analyze, too. In 1996, ND played Navy in Dublin in Lou Holtz’s last season as head coach. The Irish were 4-2 when they flew to Ireland for a November 2 game, followed, without a break, by Boston College, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Southern California. ND beat Navy and BC and annihilated Pitt and Rutgers. They ended the season with a loss, though, 27-20 in overtime to USC, away.

You can argue that the NFL teams who have played in London have been mediocre to bad and their post-London schedules accurately reflect that. You can also argue that the 1996 Irish suffered no ill-effects from their jaunt across The Pond, given their four consecutive wins, two of which were 60+ point punishings of Rutgers and Pitt. But, maybe all that travel did, finally, catch up to them in SoCal.

What concerns me most about 2012 and our trip to Dublin is that it’s the first game. If things go wrong, there’s not a lot of room to recover, not with Michigan State and Michigan waiting in the wings. And yes, I intentionally skipped over Purdue. Purdue, like BC in 1996, is our bye and scheduling them the week after traveling to Ireland and the week before Sparty tells you a lot about how we feel about them. “With proven experience at quarterback [. . .] and a defense littered with potential all-league talent, a second straight winning season is a realistic goal.” Actually, that’s not how ND feels about Purdue, that’s how Athlon Sports feels about Purdue. But, my point is the same: Purdue allows us to come back, get our legs underneath us, and get into what is going to be a season for the ages, one way or another. Finally, by saving the bye for later, we get to use it to full advantage and maybe get some players off of IR, instead of just recalibrating our circadian rhythms.

The NFL-London experience is worth keeping in mind when trying to prognosticate the coming season. While the teams that have played in London have not come back as world beaters, that may be more their fault than anything else. By playing a marquee matchup in Dublin, the Irish open 2012 in high style. By scheduling Purdue the next week, ND is banking on the Boilermakers being more bye than burden.

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  • Twibby

    Super interesting, Bayou. From my personal experience, I’ve found myself to have far more jet leg once landing in Europe than I’ve had while coming back (I think that’s mostly because I’ve been too excited to sleep on the way over and too exhausted to do anything BUT sleep on the way back).

    Let’s hope the Irish find a good way to deal with their jet leg and get back on track before playing Purdue. My bigger concern isn’t about them being physically ready to play that Saturday but about being ready to practice and study film early that week. Hopefully they get some of that film study out of the way in the weeks prior.

  • Ska

    Notre Dame should not look past any team on their schedule. Purdue has seldom been a bye for ND. There is a reason they are referred to as the spoilermakers.
    Fortunately, ND players are young and should be able to recover quickly from jet lag. The team should be back at ND sometime Sunday morning.
    One variable that was not discussed was the time the NFL teams spent in Europe. If memory serves correctly it was in the area of a week. Promotion etc. Can’t image ND being there for that length of time. Should lessen the 6 hour time difference acclimatization.
    A big prayer or two this trip has no impact on the games after Navy.

  • Ripple

    Careful. Look up trap game in the dictionary and Purdue ’12 might be pictured. Should always beat Purdue, but we’ve come into that game too confident before and walked away with a loss. Stay frosty.

  • Terry

    Any bets on whether or not this is going to be read over and over by Purdue coaches to their players and put on every bulletin board in Lafayette Indiana?

    Notre Dame has a well-deserved reputation for arrogance and this piece reinforces that with a capital T.

    Good work, genius.

    • Bayou Irish

      Arrogance would have a capital “a,” actually. I would love it if Purdue picked up this article and it blew up across the Internet or were pinned to all the bulletin boards in West Lafayette, Indiana. But, considering the ones of people who read my articles, I am comfortable that none of that will happen. Fact is, we are banking on Purdue being weak. But, as we showed last year and every year since about 1993, we can lose to anyone.

    • NDtex

      Example of actual locker room material: opposing player/coach says something and it gets printed out and handed to everyone.

      What isn’t locker room material: HLS. See that little notice at the bottom of every page here? It isn’t just there to look pretty. We are fans with opinions–period.

      If any coach is seriously looking at blogs or forums for bulletin board material, they should be fired immediately. This may be the most ridiculous idea I’ve seen in our comments and that’s saying something considering GrantlandX still wants Rees to start.

  • Brian

    You think the players and coaches are going to quote an article from some random website about ND and Purdue? Heck, Brian Kelly can go on an opposing teams board anytime he wants and find a post from someone claiming that their team will beat ND.

    Anonymous opinions don’t mean very much.

  • Jazzarena

    This game scares me, even without the game in Ireland. More than any other team on the schedule, Purdue sets up to be the Tulsa, South Florida and Syracuse of 2012. We should NOT look past these guys, and they should NOT be viewed as an automatic W. Although we have had their number in the recent past, that streak won’t go on forever. Purdue is not a throwaway game by any means.

    • Brad

      Haha. Purdue sucks, dude. Sleep easy.

  • Bayou Irish

    Who had us losing to USF last year? We can will a loss from any game on our schedule. Purdue is a classic “gotcha” game. If we look past them, we’re done. But, we need to become a team that plays consistently and up to our promise. We should beat Purdue this year. It’d be a shame if scheduling impacted that.

  • JD

    Interesting perspective? Right. Good work douche bag.

    • NDtex

      Hard-hitting counterpoint right there

  • http://www.herloyalsons.com The Biscuit

    Purdue post bringing out the trolls! haha, love it. And they get their buddies to come and give their mindless drivel thumbs up. Awesome.

    Continue being sad and bored with your program MildSimmerMakers!

  • Sam Fortune

    Purdue will be very good next season. Senior quarterback and solid run game behind a rather stout offensive line. ND will be good next year too – as we always are :) but this will be a good test for ND. D. Hope is doing a solid job of bringing Purdue back from the dumper. J. Tiller was a helluva coach and beat ND several times during his tenure. Hope is trying to do the same and has not accomplished it up to now. TerBush is not good because he is not consistent up to now, but he is their starter. They have question marks on D all over the place and Reese should be able to pick them apart like last year. Tired? Really? Trap? Come on. It will be a good game period.

  • http://potfh.com POTFH

    I hope that the Boilermakers kick Notre Dame’s ass up and down the field this year, for no other reason than to make your arrogant self feel foolish.

    • http://www.herloyalsons.com The Biscuit

      You really think that will do it? You should read some of the Purzzzzzzzzzz. The Purzzzzzzzzzzzz. Ah well, puts me to sleep. There are so many posts like this on HLS and not once have we ever ‘felt foolish’ later. Because, well, we don’t care what Purzzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzz….

  • Brian

    Wow, lots of sensitive Boilermakers out there. Face it folks, for as mediocre and depressing as ND has been over the years, Purdue has been downright atrocious. …with a capital “t” I guess.

  • NDtex

    I find the Purdue butthurt beyond hilarious. We’ve said far more scathing things about Michigan–Bayou was incredibly kind in comparison.

  • http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2012/07/09/bye-purdue/ Allergic To Bs

    I’m pretty sure that the Purdue was scheduled before ND moved the Navy game to Ireland.
    For you to say ND scheduling Purdue after Navy should ‘tell us what ND thinks of them” is a miscarriage of journalistic integrity and casts doubt about you ability to make value judgements based on fact. Enough of your nonsense. Purdue is never a gimme, if you know anything about the series. Work on your cognitive ability to draw conclusions based on fact rather than knee jerk speculation that only an ill or non informed fan might draww after downing a 12 pack.

    • Twibby

      I like the name you chose, Mr. BS. You are correct in saying that the Purdue game was scheduled before the Navy game (even though Bayou Irish was speaking about the schedule as a whole, not the specific timing of when the game contracts were signed), but that doesn’t change the fact that ND chose to accept the trip to Ireland while knowing that they’d come back to play Purdue 7 days later. If Michigan was already scheduled for September 8th we likely wouldn’t see the Irish leaving the country the weekend before.

      I don’t necessarily feel as strongly as Bayou Irish, but Notre Dame has won 21 of the past 26 games between the two schools. 4 of Purdue’s 5 wins over that time period came with either Drew Brees or Kyle Orton under center. Unless TerBush found Midas’s touch over the off-season, I don’t think he even belongs in the same sentence as those two great college quarterbacks.

      Also, stating a negative opinion about Purdue, even though you may not agree with it, is far from a miscarriage of journalistic integrity.

      • Twibby

        Also, Purdue has won in South Bend once since 1975 (in 2004 when Kyle Orton couldn’t be stopped).

    • Bayou Irish

      For me to post on this site should tell you all you need to know about my “journalistic integrity.” Your point is actually a very good one and indicates a deep understanding of scheduling, the word I chose to describe the laborious process of slating games, and then figuring out when and where they will be played. Whether ND “scheduled” the Purdue game after the Navy game was set in stone in Ireland or “scheduled” the entire “schedule” after evaluating all the pros and cons of every team, as Twibby pointed out, my point is unchanged: if we played Michigan or USC or Oklahoma the next week, I don’t think we’d be playing in Ireland. While I don’t know that we ever look past Purdue, I am pretty sure we don’t ever project that it should be a nail-biter or a loss. ND is 21-5 in the last 26 games, with the average margin of victory at 13 points. The Irish have won 15 of those games by more than 20 points. True, Purdue has beaten ND a lot, but we have played them since 1896 and that’s going to happen. We beat USC a lot, too, for example. Anyway, thanks for your comment. Now I’ve got to get back to the pub.

  • NormalBoiler

    While this post undeniably reinforces the perception that many Irish fans are arrogant (whether or not the Irish are close to contending for the national title), given how decisive 3 of the last 4 games have gone I can certainly understand the confidence.

    Besides the obvious difference in talent level at the skill positions (Michael Floyd, Golden Tate, Tyler Eifert) and the NFL talent that is Manti Te’o, there’s 1 key matchup Purdue often if not always lags significantly behind ND – offensive line vs. PUR defensive line. It’s a sickening feeling to see Cierre Wood et al rip off 8-10 yard runs at will the last 2 years; even though Purdue sometimes gets a decent pass rush, the D Line gets pushed around badly on running plays. The other team that manhandles Purdue like this is Wisconsin, only worse.

    So, I guess my only beef with the post above is the “Automatic W” mindset, but again some of it is based in the reality that Purdue has been mediocre (at best) under Coach Hope.

    Also, If Purdue needs something like this post for motivation, something deeper is wrong…

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  • WP Troxell

    WOW. It is quite arrogant to say the Purdue is a bye, particularly due to the fact the Irish were 8-5 last year and were embarrased twice at home (south florida and USC). With the players ND has returning, and not being in the preseason top 25, they will be LUCKY to beat Purdue. Very LUCKY

    • NDtex

      And despite all the embarrassment that happened in 2011, we still wiped the floor with Purdue.

      Also, do you have a time machine? I ask because preseason polls aren’t out yet so I’d definitely love to see these future polls that you speak of.

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