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Toughest Venues: #7 Ross-Ade Stadium

Submitted by on May 20, 200821 Comments
Ross Ade Stadium sits at #7 on our toughest venues list
Ross-Ade Stadium sits at #7 on our toughest venues list. Tiller might have the high flying Boilermakers making waves in the Big Ten again, but the venue isn’t exactly as intimidating as some of the other gauntlets in the Big Ten.

ATTENDANCE: 6

Ross-Ade Stadium (Capacity: 62,500)
Home Games Overall attendance Avg. attendance/ game
2007 7 415,279 59,326
2006 6 388,198 64,699
2005 6 377,977 62,996
2004 6 381,292 63,548
2003 7 410,176 58,597

Ross-Ade marks the first stadium on our list that really has no problem filling its stadium. 3 of Purdue’s last 5 seasons have averaged attendance well beyond capacity. But Purdue gets low marks for reducing its stadium capacity from 70,000 during its last renovation in 2001 to the current 62,500.

With that in mind, last seasons’ average attendance fell short of the 3 seasons preceding it. And that was during last year’s 7-5 season when the Boilers went 5-2 at home.

TRADITION/HISTORY: 3

One of the original founding members of the Big Ten in 1896, the Boilermakers have a total of 0 football national titles. You read that right, none. What’s even more worst is that they have a total of 2 national titles in everything else excluding football. Not in the last decade, not in the half century, but since the founding of Purdue University. This in comparison to fellow Big Ten brethren Penn State and Michigan with 33 and 32 championships each (excluding football), Purdue has relatively no athletic history. Even less when it comes to football.

But hey, at least Purdue fans have the ‘Boiler Up’ chant.

FANS: 8

The fans at Purdue are great. For a fan base that has to watch games in an aging Ross Ade, they are still energetic, courteous and loud. Night games at Ross Ade can make life hard on visiting teams because of their fans. The only problem I have with Boilermaker fans are their ‘Boiler Up’ chants which are as repetitive as it is mind numbing. The only chant I can stand less is the Florida State Seminoles warchant which is reminiscent of a groaning hippie high on drugs. But back to our point.

The Boilermaker special is the nation\'s only locomotive cheerleader.
As the only locomotive mascot in the nation, we considered the Boilermaker Special part of the fan category. After every touchdown, or prior to the opponent’s third down, the locomotive blares its train horns in succession. Annoying and effective at the same time, we awarded Purdue fans and its train high points for creativity.

VENUE: 5

Built in 1924, Ross Ade is one of the older stadiums in the conference. With age comes outdated facilities, and necessary renovations. In 2001, Purdue made such upgrades adding restrooms, larger concourses and a brand new press box. But unfortunately it is still one of the smaller, more outdated venue for a ‘mediocre to big time’ Big Ten school.

Fortunately for Boilermaker fans, when the school agreed to renovate Ross-Ade in 2001, they announced 2 additional phases which would depend largely on attendance and demand. While phase 1 has been completed adding new amenities to Ross-Ade, phase 2 would add an upper deck to the east side of the stadium and phase 3 would add an upper deck to the north bend of the stadium. Both phase 2 and 3 would depend solely on future ticket sales and demand. Last year’s average attendance of 59,326 (well below the official current capacity) did not help Purdue’s cause.

If there is one thing that Purdue can outperform any of its conference rivals, it is its innovative ability (being an Engineering heavy institution and all). Just this past season, Purdue introduced the eStadium system at football games which provides fans at Ross-Ade the ability to watch instant replays from six different angles on their cell phones. It also lets them search for videos of certain players or certain plays all free of charge.

While that is all novel and fancy, eStadium does nothing for home field advantage. As of now, Purdue will still be known as one of the easier ‘tough venues’ in the Big Ten.

WIN/LOSS RECORD: 5

Home Away
W L W vs ranked L vs ranked W L W vs ranked L vs ranked
2007 5 2 - #4 Ohio St 2 3 - -
2006 5 2 - #21 Wisconsin 3 3 - #12 Notre Dame
#9 Iowa
#25 Hawaii
2005 3 3 - #13 Notre Dame 2 3 - #19 Wisconsin
#11 Penn St
2004 4 2 - #12 Wisconsin
#11 Michigan
3 2 - #20 Iowa
2003 6 1 #12 Iowa - 3 2 - #4 Michigan
#6 Ohio St
overall 23 10 1 5 13 13 0 8

Boiler fans have enjoyed success especially at home in the past half-decade. During that span, the worst home record they experienced was in 2005 when they went .500 at home with a 3-3 record. Not exactly a cause for panic.

Being consistently decent at home has become Purdue’s curse as they have been stuck in mediocrity ever since winning their last Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl trip in 2000. The last time they upset a ranked team at Ross Ade was in 2003 against #12 Iowa. Since then, 5 different ranked teams have beaten the Boilermakers in West Lafayette.

It is great that they win most of their games at home, but until they begin to actually upset ranked teams, Purdue will continue to be just average and thus just a 5 in this category.

TOTAL: 27 OUT OF POSSIBLE 55

Have you attended a game at Ross-Ade? Let us know how your experience went. Your memories of the venue might differ greatly from our perspective and we would like to know.

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  • http://www.offthetracks.org T-Mill

    Thanks for the review. It’s about what I expected int hat we’re ahead of the bottom teams of Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern, and Minnesota, but we haven’t done anything to warrant moving up. At least since 2000 most of those losses to ranked teams have been of the absolutely agonizing and gut-wrenching variety (see Wisconsin 2004)

  • http://www.offthetracks.org T-Mill

    Thanks for the review. It’s about what I expected int hat we’re ahead of the bottom teams of Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern, and Minnesota, but we haven’t done anything to warrant moving up. At least since 2000 most of those losses to ranked teams have been of the absolutely agonizing and gut-wrenching variety (see Wisconsin 2004)

  • nate

    Don’t forget the worlds largest (?) drum, Breakfast Club (boy was I naive about that one), and probably the most underrated advantage is the way the wind whips through their small stadium, thats a HUGE factor. When i was out in ’06 the winds were 30 mph+ and no one could get a pass to hit its target. The fans are awesome, very welcoming. I’m not really sure where the stadium is in relation to the campus, but it was a half-hour walk from where we were parked, quite the buzzkill.

  • nate

    Don’t forget the worlds largest (?) drum, Breakfast Club (boy was I naive about that one), and probably the most underrated advantage is the way the wind whips through their small stadium, thats a HUGE factor. When i was out in ’06 the winds were 30 mph+ and no one could get a pass to hit its target. The fans are awesome, very welcoming. I’m not really sure where the stadium is in relation to the campus, but it was a half-hour walk from where we were parked, quite the buzzkill.

  • http://www.boiledsports.com J Money

    Not sure this comment is warranted: “Purdue has relatively no athletic history

    But other than that, nice analysis. You’re right, it can be a tough place to play but in general it’s not a place teams fear coming into. The biggest games played there in recent years have been rocking (mainly the 2000 season shootouts with Brees) but, again, you’re completely right about not stepping up and winning at least a few games against ranked opponents. Such is Purdue football’s rut — that may change as Joe Tiller rides off back to Wyoming.

  • http://www.boiledsports.com J Money

    Not sure this comment is warranted: “Purdue has relatively no athletic history

    But other than that, nice analysis. You’re right, it can be a tough place to play but in general it’s not a place teams fear coming into. The biggest games played there in recent years have been rocking (mainly the 2000 season shootouts with Brees) but, again, you’re completely right about not stepping up and winning at least a few games against ranked opponents. Such is Purdue football’s rut — that may change as Joe Tiller rides off back to Wyoming.

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com/ Charlie

    The drum is awesome, but has lost some of its charm since it was dethroned as the largest drum by Texas’ Big Bertha. Now its just another giant drum.
    .
    The wind is a HUGE factor in Ross-Ade. Like Nate mentioned when the wind picks up and begins to whip. Passing is effectively rendered useless. But he forgot to mention that Purdue is one of the pass happiest teams in the Big Ten conference that historically has been dominated by run-first teams. Great points guys.

  • admin

    The drum is awesome, but has lost some of its charm since it was dethroned as the largest drum by Texas’ Big Bertha. Now its just another giant drum.
    .
    The wind is a HUGE factor in Ross-Ade. Like Nate mentioned when the wind picks up and begins to whip. Passing is effectively rendered useless. But he forgot to mention that Purdue is one of the pass happiest teams in the Big Ten conference that historically has been dominated by run-first teams. Great points guys.

  • nate

    1) damn texas and their world’s biggerest drum
    2) yes, purdue is fond of the forward passing era thanks for picking up where i lack

    this is a great rundown of all the stadiums, keep doing what your doing

  • nate

    1) damn texas and their world’s biggerest drum
    2) yes, purdue is fond of the forward passing era thanks for picking up where i lack

    this is a great rundown of all the stadiums, keep doing what your doing

  • Purdue Matt

    “Purdue has relatively no athletic history.”

    A little harsh considering the basketball program has the most Big Ten titles and a winning record against every other school.

  • Purdue Matt

    “Purdue has relatively no athletic history.”

    A little harsh considering the basketball program has the most Big Ten titles and a winning record against every other school.

  • Big10Nut

    Hey, Texas’s drum isn’t bigger than Purdue’s. Read-up on it before you post incorrect info.

  • Big10Nut

    Hey, Texas’s drum isn’t bigger than Purdue’s. Read-up on it before you post incorrect info.

  • http://quebecpenspinning.com/ Charlie

    Texas’ Big Bertha measures 8 feet (2.44 m) in diameter and 44 inches in depth.

    Purdue’s “World’s Largest Drum” measures just under 8 feet in diameter and is 2 feet wide between the two heads.

    When Purdue’s drum was made, it was in fact the largest drum constructed, but have since been surpassed not only by Texas’ Big Bertha, but the Millenium Drum as well. This is why Purdue University no longer calls it the “World’s Largest Drum” instead dubbing it the “Big Bass Drum”.

    So yes, I have read up Big10Nut. But because only Purdue showed up to the national convention in Wichita, Kansas in 1961 when they challenged Big Bertha of Texas, there has no official declaration of the biggest drum between the two. So I can see where that is confusing

  • admin

    Texas’ Big Bertha measures 8 feet (2.44 m) in diameter and 44 inches in depth.

    Purdue’s “World’s Largest Drum” measures just under 8 feet in diameter and is 2 feet wide between the two heads.

    When Purdue’s drum was made, it was in fact the largest drum constructed, but have since been surpassed not only by Texas’ Big Bertha, but the Millenium Drum as well. This is why Purdue University no longer calls it the “World’s Largest Drum” instead dubbing it the “Big Bass Drum”.

    So yes, I have read up Big10Nut. But because only Purdue showed up to the national convention in Wichita, Kansas in 1961 when they challenged Big Bertha of Texas, there has no official declaration of the biggest drum between the two. So I can see where that is confusing

  • MarkJones001

    Thanks for post. It’s really informative stuff.
    I really like to read.Hope to learn a lot and have a nice experience here! my best regards guys!

  • MarkJones001

    Thanks for post. It’s really informative stuff.
    I really like to read.Hope to learn a lot and have a nice experience here! my best regards guys!
    ———————–
    big bertha–big bertha

  • Boiler1978

    I love Purdue's stadium. It's no fuss, and even a bit old-fashioned. But, I'll take it any day over Beaver Stadium. Sure, it's big and loud, but it has all the comfort and style of an alien spaceship landing in a beautiful mountainous countryside.

  • Boiler up?

    As someone who has attended another BCS conference school (Oregon) and is now attending Purdue, the stadium experience at Ross Ade is kind of sad. I’m not sure who thinks that this stadium is loud, but it isn’t. The fans sit on their hands until something happens, instead of keeping a loud atmosphere to prevent the visiting team from making something happen. There is nothing intimidating about this place. I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

  • Jbredbird

    Why don’t they use some space on that giant pressbox facade on the west side to tout some of their great players like Dawson, Griese, Breese, Woodson and Alstott. Having been to a number of Big 10 and Big 12 stadiums, I would rate the atmosphere and tradition at Purdue as mediocre.