Purdue a legit Leaders contender in 2012?

If you follow this blog closely, you know that Adam and I have both been saying Purdue is a potential darkhorse team in the Leaders Division for 2012.

Colleague KC Joyner agrees and offers four reasons why the Boilermakers could wind up playing in Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game.

The first two are obvious: the upheaval among coaching staffs throughout the Leaders Division (new head coaches at Penn State and Illinois and several new assistants at Wisconsin) and Ohio State's ineligibility for the championship game as part of its NCAA sanctions. There is no clear favorite in the division this year, and Purdue could benefit, especially with Wisconsin and Penn State having to come to West Lafayette this season.

Joyner also offers some strong statistical reasons to believe that Purdue's defense could improve under new coordinator Tim Tibesar after a season in which the Boilers gave up too many big plays. And he sees potential gains by the offense, though Joyner says Caleb TerBush should be the full-time starter over Robert Marve if Rob Henry doesn't come all the way back from injury.

Check out Joyner's stats in his full story here.Insider What do you think? Are the Boilermakers a legitimate threat in 2012? Or are we giving Danny Hope's team a little bit too much credit after a so-so 2011 campaign?