January 14, 2008

Located between two hated rivals (Indiana and Notre Dame), Purdue is the best college in Indiana and one of the top universities in the nation. When it comes to sports, it is old gold and black all the way. The only thing Purdue students disagree on when it comes to sports is which NFL team to cheer for -- as the campus is split down the middle -- half Chicago Bears, half Indianapolis Colts. In fact, Ross-Ade Stadium would have been a perfect location for last year's Super Bowl. For those who have never been to West Lafayette, here's a refresher course on all things Purdue.

Buffalo Wild Wings. For students and fans who don't have the Big Ten Network (which is pretty much all of them unless they live in the dorms or have satellite television) or for those who want to watch their favorite pro team, "B-Dubs" down in the Levee is the best place to watch a game. The atmosphere, the huge televisions, and of course, the famous wings make it the perfect place to cheer on the Boilermakers.

Mad Mushroom. With its late-night hours and homemade pizzas, Mad Mushroom wins over pizza fans at Purdue. With its great daily specials (14-inch cheese for $3.99 on Monday and Tuesday), it's hard to choose another pizza joint. From simple cheese to the outgoing pineapple, there doesn't seem to be a topping Mad Mushroom doesn't have. Oh, and its cheese sticks are to die for.

Triple XXX. There's a reason the Food Network came to Purdue ... for the burger. And not just any burger, but freshly-grinded, handmade ground beef patties, cooked to the customer's pleasure. The 24-hour, drive-in, diner-style restaurant has been a student favorite since it first opened in 1928.

Chauncey Hill. Stores, restaurants and bars; everything you need after a victory is all on one hill.

Women's Golf. The Purdue women's golf team has quietly become a national powerhouse since coach Devon Brouse took over the program in 1998. The Boilers have participated in the NCAA Championship every year since his arrival, including runner-up in the 2006 NCAA Championship. The Boilers won their first Big Ten title in 2000 and won it again in 2006. The team has had three Big Ten players of the year, four Big Ten freshmen of the year and an All-American in the last nine years.

Hail Purdue. The best colligate fight song in the nation, hands down. This cheer is sung throughout the university on a daily basis. Whenever there is any kind of Purdue event, you can put money on it, this cheer will be sang, and sang loudly and proudly. Hail Purdue!

Von's. While it's known for its new and used bookstore, Von's has much more to offer. The strip of four shops (Von's Books, Cards, Gifts and Records) is the perfect place to get that out of date book, buy a birthday card, buy or make your own jewelry or find the CD of that indie band you've been looking for.

Harry's Chocolate Shop. It isn't the cleanest, most attractive looking bar on campus, nor anything close to a chocolate shop, but Harry's is tradition at Purdue. The drinks are a bit pricey, which could put a hole in your pocket if you want to "Go Ugly Early" or "Drink'em Cute," but you get what you pay for as they are said to the strongest around. The music selection is great and the food isn't bad either.

Purdue Bell Tower. Standing 160-feet tall, the Bell Tower can be seen from almost anywhere on campus. Chiming the fight song and alma mater at noon, 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., it's a daily reminder that you're a Boilermaker. Just don't walk under it if you're an undergrad, as it's said if you do, you'll never graduate.

Indiana University. When it comes to rivals, Indiana is at the top of Purdue's list. From men's basketball to football, the Boilermakers loathe the Hoosiers in every way, shape and form all the way back to the days of Bob Knight and Gene Keady. However, with Purdue leading both sports' series records (107-83 basketball, 68-36-6 football), some wonder why Purdue calls it a rivalry. Aren't they supposed to be a lot closer? Guess not.

Sledding At Slayter Hill. While students can listen to quality music at the Slayter Center during the warmer seasons, most students look forward to winter and sledding down Slayter Hill. So, grab a food tray (or your favorite couch) and I'll see you at the bottom.

John W. Hicks Undergraduate Library. With its newly renovated 24-hour study lounge and coffee shop (Undergrounds), Hicks Undergraduate Library is an even more popular place for students to go and cram for an exam. The library, which is technically two stories underground, is full of resources from books to periodicals with plenty of places to study on one floor, while the other floor is dedicated to a multimedia computer lab and even more desks and places to study.

LovShack. What kind of food do they serve at the LovShack? Picture a Hot Pocket calzone on steroids, packed with much tastier ingredients. Over 30 calzones to choose from, there's no way Jim Gaffigan flushes it down the toilet. It's delicious. I recommend the Boilermaker with marinara.

Breakfast Club. This isn't your 1985 Breakfast Club, although one student might be dressed as Clair Standish. Every home football game, students pack Chauncey Hill at 7 a.m. to do what college students do best -- drink. However, this day is different compared to all the other drinking days. Students dress up in the most outrageous, out of this world, and sometimes ordinary, costumes their college degree bound minds can think of. Picture sitting at the bar and the Incredible Hulk and Captain Hook walk in -- that's a Saturday morning game day at Purdue. Beer, it's what's for breakfast!

Grand Prix. An annual event that started back in 1958, this 50-mile, 160 lap go-kart race that happens every April is a lot better than Indiana University's boring bicycle race. Known as "The Greatest Spectacle in College Racing," the karts are made from scratch, all using the same Yamaha KT-100 engine. The event itself though, doesn't compare to the week long partying the goes on days before the race even starts, which gives reason to why no one really remembers who won the race until reading the papers the next day or so.

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