The Orlando Sentinel has ranked all 125 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country. The Sentinel staff will take a closer look at a new team daily, counting backward from No. 125 to our projected No. 1 team.

Today at No. 78: Purdue

Coach: Darrell Hazell (0-0, first season; 16-10 overall)

2012 record: 6-7 (3-5 in Big Ten Conference, fourth in Leaders Division)

Look back: In four seasons at the helm of the Purdue football program, Danny Hope was never able to enjoy the success that his predecessor – Joe Tiller – was able to enjoy in West Lafayette. Hand-picked by Tiller to be his successor, the 54-year-old Hope never was able to get the Boilermakers to compete for a Big Ten title. In fact, the Boilers were 22-27 during that time including a 6-6 record in 2012. Despite leading the program to back-to-back bowl games, school officials fired Hope at the end of the regular season and in the offseason, hired Darrell Hazell. Hazell, who had spent six season coaching at Ohio State, was coming off a season where he led Kent State to a school-record 11-win season.

Offensive starters returning: 5

Offensive starters lost: 6

Defensive starters returning:  9

Defensive starters lost: 3

Key losses: QB Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush, WR Antavian Edison, RB Akeem Shavers, CB Josh Johnson, LB Robert Maci, DT Kawaan Short

Top returnees: WR Gary Bush, RB Akeem Hunt, P Cody Webster, S Landon Feichter, LB Will Lucas, LB Joe Gilliam, S Taylor Richards

Strengths: Purdue has one of the deepest and most-experienced secondary in the Big Ten. The group is led by a pair of safeties:  Landon Feichter – who led the team in tackles (80) and interceptions (4) – and Taylor Richards (51 tackles). Despite having one of the worst pass defenses in the conference, the secondary did have 14 interceptions, three of those returned for touchdowns. … Defensive coordinator Greg Hudson will have the task of turning around a defense that allowed 416 yards per game last season. He has the luxury of having nine returning starters including the entire linebacking group as well as three of the four defensive linemen.

Weaknesses: Purdue has a history of developing some of the nation’s top quarterbacks (Drew Brees, anyone?) and Hazell will need to turn back the clock if he is going to find a signal-caller to lead the Boilers in 2013. Senior Rob Henry has the most experience on the depth chart (1,212 career passing yards, 11 touchdowns), but is injury-prone. That could open the door for true freshman Danny Etling to earn the starting nod in fall camp. … Junior Akeem Hunt steps into the starting role at running back after spending last season as the backup to Akeem Shavers (871 yards/6 TDs). A versatile player, Hunt was used in kickoff returns as well and could be the primary offensive weapon for Hazell’s offense.

Outlook: The program hasn’t been relevant in the Big Ten in over a decade and is in desperate need of a makeover. Hazell’s first order of business will be finding and developing a quarterback that can lead his style of play. The defense needs wholesale improvement especially against a challenging schedule in 2013.

2013 Schedule

Aug. 31 at Cincinnati

Sept. 7 Indiana State

Sept. 14 Notre Dame

Sept. 21 at Wisconsin

Sept. 28 Northern Illinois