- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Recently, we asked you to pick the nonconference opponent you'd most like to see your favorite team play in the near future. You could pick a team already on the upcoming schedule or one that inexplicably hasn't been added.
This has been a fun exercise so far, and the response has been terrific. (Northwestern fans, you're last but not least; send us your picks here and here). Our penultimate stop on this series gives Purdue fans the floor:
Reid from Indianapolis: Playing Alabama would be fun, but I'm a realist and I understand that they could hang 70+ on my Boilermakers by halftime. I think going to play an evening game at UCLA or Cal would be a better option. Both UCLA and Cal are competitive in the Pac-12, which would make it a good game against a decent B1G team. It would be great for fans as well getting to leave Indiana for California. The game could also help with recruiting by getting Purdue some exposure on the West Coast. Overall, it would be great for the program so think Morgan Burke needs to get on it and give Purdue another quality OOC opponent.
John from Seattle: Boilermaker till I die. I attended both of the recent home and home series with Oregon where Purdue took them to the wire but came up short both times. I'd love another shot (or two or three) at them. Then maybe I could tolerate my Duck brother-in-law. I'd love nothing better than to see and hear Autzen Stadium go quiet (again). If you want Midwestern Boilers to show up to a game let's go down south a bit and challenge Kentucky to a football/basketball home and home cage match. Naturally, a Boilermaker has to introduce a basketball angle and there's nobody I'd like to see deflated more than John Calipari. Perhaps a double dip with the gridiron Wildcats could induce the package deal. Make it happen.
Ed from Scottsdale, Ariz.: Purdue needs to think outside the box for a non-con opponent and a few teams come to mind. The first being Mississippi St. Mississippi has a lot of talent, so getting some exposure there would be great for recruiting. I also like scheduling this game on a Friday or Thursday (to minimize other viewing options), as SEC fans (and potential recruits from the South) will all be tuning in to watch one of their teams. Miss St seems to top out as a 0.500 team in league play, so Purdue may be able to win the game too. The two other teams that are in similar situations are Texas Tech and Virginia. Both are BCS schools from states with talent, but both are definitely beatable. Again, the game should be a Friday/Thursday game for exposure.
Matt from West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue fan here. It's got to be Oregon. We had a great home and home with them a couple years ago. Even though we lost both, each was a great game! After that, throw in Texas A&M. Coach Sumlin is a Boilermaker. Plus, it'd be good to get back in Texas for the recruiting ties. Those would be the big ones for me.
Preston from Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan: Purdue Alum here. Since Purdue is trying to rebuild we need to attract new talent to our team through more aggressive scheduling. In the past we have had success building our team with juco players so we need to sell them on playing time against the kind of teams that spark their interest. Therefore I suggest scheduling middle of the road teams in the top three power conferences. Here are some ideas. Purdue needs to play a football game against a Texas team each year to boost recruiting.
Andrew from Fremont, Ind.: As a Purdue fan the one non-conference game always looked forward to is Notre Dame. Aside from the Crying Irish, I want to see the Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech make an appearance on the schedule. Sure the Jackets haven't been front page news, but a strong battle between top engineering schools would be neat to see, and Paul Johnson looks like he could turn Tech back into a winner.
Mike from Los Angeles: Purdue alum and fan living in Los Angeles. I don't think Purdue has played on the West Coast since Arizona in 2005-2006 and Oregon before that. Many fans would travel along the coast I think as the alumni base is national and fans travel. I have a wish list for right now (state of the program) and for the future as I believe Hazell is going to take the program to new heights: San Diego State, California, Washington, UNLV, South Florida (since they have been recruiting FL the past few years). In 4+ years: USC or UCLA, Texas A&M (Sumlin Purdue alum). And keep Notre Dame on the schedule!
My two cents: Purdue is in an interesting situation with its future nonconference schedules. The Boilermakers want to keep their annual series with Notre Dame, but with the coming nine-game Big Ten schedule, that leaves them only two other opportunities to line up opponents. The only power conference school on the future docket besides the Irish is Missouri in 2017-18. From the responses, it's clear that Purdue fans would love to see another marquee opponent besides Notre Dame, though Darrell Hazell is going to have to raise the program up before the Boilers can expect to handle such a rugged schedule.
Still, I like the idea of Purdue traveling to places like California, Texas and Florida for exposure and recruiting purposes. The Notre Dame series might get the Boilers on TV, but it doesn't get them out of the Midwest. An occasional trip outside of the area and into a recruiting-rich region would probably be a good idea for the program.
More fan nonconference picks
3hJosh Moyer and Dan Murphy