2013 Purdue football schedule: Dates, toughest opponents and more

Pat Lovell-US PRESSWIRE

Darrell Hazell has a blank slate at Purdue, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. A host of graduating players at skill positions and a tough non-conference schedule will make bowling hard for the ex-Kent State coach.

It's a new day for Purdue football under Darrell Hazell, and he'll have to hit the ground running, without much in the cupboard left over from 2012.

Danny Hope is gone after four seasons at the helm of the Boilermakers, during which he didn't manage a winning Big Ten season. And so are his assistants, but even the first offensive coordinator Hazell hired, Jim Bollman, is gone, quickly leaving West Lafayette to take the same job at Michigan State.

Oh, and the Boilermakers have to replace the top two quarterbacks, top running back, and top wide receiver on a team that went 6-6 last year. Have fun, Darrell!

Let's take a look at the Boilermakers' schedule, to see how things get started under the guy who nearly won the MAC last season at Kent State.

2013 Purdue schedule

Date Opponent Conf. Projected ranking

8/31 @ Cincinnati AAC 27

9/7 Indiana State FCS

9/14 Notre Dame Ind. 11

9/21 @ Wisconsin B1G 15

9/28 Northern Illinois MAC 40

10/5 Open date

10/12 Nebraska B1G 21

10/19 @ Michigan State B1G 19

10/26 Open date

11/2 Ohio State B1G 12

11/9 Iowa B1G 41

11/16 @ Penn State B1G 23

11/23 Illinois B1G 88

11/30 @ Indiana B1G 63

12/7 Big Ten Championship

Date Opponent Conf. Projected ranking

Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.

Hazell's first issue will be figuring out personnel. Purdue made a bowl game last year at 6-6, but a lot of those guys are gone. Quarterbacks Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush graduated, so there's a QB battle, one that Hammer and Rails thinks will be won by stud freshman Austin Appleby. With Antavian Edison gone, that as-of-yet undetermined QB loses its top target. And with Akeem Shavers gone, Akeem Hunt is the likely starter for the first time in his career at running back. It's a tough gig for new offensive coordinator John Shoop; new defensive coordinator Greg Hudson goes from a Florida State squad that allowed 14.5 points per game to a Purdue team that allowed 31.5 points per game, 87th in the nation.

And even once all that gets figured out, Hazell's Purdue career could get off to a rough start: the Boilermakers have one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation. They play a team that made the national championship last year in Notre Dame, a team that has a chance to win its conference in Cincinnati, and a team that busted the BCS last season in Northern Illinois. And their first four conference games are at Wisconsin, vs. Nebraska, at Michigan state, and vs. Ohio State. There's an FCS opponent sprinkled in there somewhere, but, man, that's quite the gauntlet to run.

Purdue has chances to get wins against Illinois and in the rivalry game against Indiana, but those games don't come until late in the season. Fans will have to be patient with a new head coach with an awful lot on his plate.

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