When asked to rank Purdue's highest rivalry, what school undoubtedly ends up on top?
Not so fast.
According to ESPN's Pat Forde, the Boilermakers just can't wait to tussle with Sparty. But wait, it gets crazier.
If given a second guess who Purdue can't wait to play after Michigan St., Forde insists it's that other team from Michigan. In fact, Indiana and Purdue don't even make the honorable mention team on Forde's Red-hot Rivalry listing.
The craziest thing about all of this: it's true.
Purdue fans got a bitter taste of success last season only to have Michigan St. pull away in the Big Ten race like a national finalist should. Sure, Purdue came back to win the Big Ten Tourney, but they didn't get another crack at the Spartans in the process. At the same time, no one could deny the psychological and nose-crushingly physical impact the Manny Harris play had on the Boilers. Purdue did in fact get a rematch with the Wolverines...and promptly lost by nine points. But as Forde notes, both crusher and crushee - Harris and Kramer - will be back on the court this season. Bring on round 3.
So, it's hard to imagine that entering what could be the third straight exhilarating season of basketball in West Lafayette that Indiana wouldn't even be in the top two rivalry spots. It's almost as surprising as seeing only one Big East matchup - Villanova v. Pitt - in ESPN's listing.
Do I think beating Indiana is going to be any less of a priority this season? Not in the slightest. For now though, I've got to think that Michigan and Michigan St. just have bigger circles on the calendar.
Oh, yeah. Football's coming soon too.