Preseason predictions: Purdue

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The blog has been a bit Michigan-MSU heavy today, so I'm going to shuffle around the predictions order and look at the Purdue Boilermakers.

1. The defense will be better than you think -- Purdue's defense was better than the numbers showed last year, and the unit brings back several key pieces. Safety Torri Williams leads one of the league's most experienced secondaries, and the line should be solid with end Ryan Kerrigan and tackle Mike Neal. The big questions come at linebacker and whether several young linemen (Kawann Short, Gerald Gooden, Nickardo Golding, Robert Maci) can grow up fast.

2. Caleb TerBush starts at least one game at quarterback -- Joey Elliott will enter the season as the starter, but he lacks experience in that role and comes off a serious shoulder injury. With a new-look receiving corps, Purdue figures to have some growing pains in the passing game. Offensive coordinator Gary Nord will take a look at TerBush, a strong-armed redshirt freshman. Elliott could keep the job all year long, but the odds say TerBush will get a chance at least one Saturday.

3. Purdue misses a bowl for the second straight year -- Danny Hope has his work cut out for him in Year 1, and the schedule does him no favors. Purdue must visit Oregon, play an improved Northern Illinois team and host Notre Dame, a preseason Top 25 squad. There are questions at quarterback and wide receiver, and the Boilers have two new coordinators. We'll definitely see some signs of progress, but not enough wins to reach a bowl game.