Ball State vs. Toledo
Last week we did things a bit different around these parts… no fancy previews, no haikus, just some bare bones predictin’. That didn’t yield a result any different than the first three games, so we’re back to square one… insulting the opponent and calling the mascot shittily done. Thankfully, this week we play Toledo, and both those things are easily accomplished. If we’re going to lose, which I don’t think we will but everyone not wearing cardinal and white think we will, then by God, I am going to at least have fun doing it.
Ball State University
Location: Muncie, IN
Record: 0-4 (0-0 MAC)
Last Week: L 30-54 @ Auburn
University of Toledo
Location: Toledo, OH
Record: 2-2 (0-0 MAC)
Last Week: W 41-31 @ Florida International
Toledo is #1 in the conference for total offense and that worries me… not gonna lie. They ring up about 320 yards per game through the air and roughly 31 points per game (second to CMU). To call this team vastly improved is an understatement. UT runs a bit of a spread attack that certainly has no problem putting points up and throwing the ball all over the field. They have already knocked off one BCS league opponent in Colorado and offensively looked damn good in the process. Their worst game of the season was against Ohio State, where they only mustered 210 yards of offense. Thankfully for the Rockets, Ball State is no OSU.
For Ball State, the offense has been a bit of a work in progress this season. The talent? Certainly there. The experience and confidence needed to succeed? Not so much, but that’s changing on a weekly basis. From the season opener against North Texas to last weekend’s showdown with Auburn, this team looked dramatically different. Quale Lewis is finally getting some breathing room and Kelly Page is not getting smacked around like he talked back to Chris Brown. All great things, and all the responsibility of the offensive line. Still not perfect, but getting dramatically better.
Advantage: This advantage is more about who they’re facing. Facing a Toledo defensive unit will make the Cardinals offense look markedly improved. Additionally, Toledo facing a challenging BSU defense will be the 2nd best defense they’ve faced all season… the first time, against OSU, they were shut down and shut out.
To call Toledo’s defense “dog shit” would be an insult to dog shit. The Rockets are giving up nearly 40 points per game and 470 yards per game. Granted, the Rockets did play Ohio State, and the Buckeyes gashed them for 522, but their other opponents were far from amazing teams. When you couple that performance with Colorado, FIU, and Purdue and still give up nearly 500 yards per game… that’s bad. But good for BSU!
Ball State’s defense, a unit that most thought would be the saving grace this season and drive the Cardinals win train has been a bit disappointing. Giving up 414 yards and 30 points per game against the competition they have faced has been far from dominant. Boding well for the Cardinals, though, is the fact that they are significantly better against the pass than the rush, statistically speaking.
Advantage: Toledo… sort of like the offensive category above, because of the unit they’re facing. In a vacuum, BSU’s defense is the better unit, but playing against the respective offensive is the difference in evaluation.
Tim Beckman, Toledo’s new coach, spent a considerable amount of time at BG, so is familiar with BSU and the MAC in general. He has BCS experience, serving at both Oklahoma State and Ohio State, and is looking like a coach to be reckoned with in the very near future should he stay around long enough to earn it.
Coach Parrish has been some folks’ favorite punching bag this season, going 0-4 and having not won a game since Reagan. I mean, that has to change eventually. Why not now? And let us not forget this is the same coach who basically pulled his slacks down and shat all over MAC defenses for the last several seasons in Muncie.
Advantage: Push. Stan has a Super Bowl ring and a National Championship ring. Beckman has a lot of hype and a BCS win over a utterly craptastic Colorado team.
For Ball State, the crowd will be rocking, the Scheu will be packed, and this is a team which has been beaten senseless about its 0-4 record for the past week. Despite all that, this team is remarkably positive, ready, and focused to get their MAC season rolling.
This… is Rocky the Rocket. I guess technically it’s a mascot. I need to get past my prejudice and realize that shitty mascots are mascots all the same.
Raise your hand if you’re awesome. And far far better than your shattily outfitted opponent.
Advantage: Color me biased all you want… that Rocket above with his high water pants and giant visor neither intimidate nor frighten me. If that’s what raises spirits in Toledo, then this recession has crept a little too close to home.
The naysayers and the Toledo fans will have you believe that this one isn’t going to be close. They’ll want to tell you that Ball State getting 5 points at home on Homecoming is like taking candy from a baby and their Rockets should be favored by significantly more. I think that’s foolish. You have a BSU team that has shown progression week to week, a coaching staff that seems to finally be willing to change gameplans to suit the needs of the players, and a positive attitude and atmosphere after a respectable showing at Auburn. This Ball State defense will give Toledo fits, and the offense will find its groove early and often, leading Ball State to its first victory of 2009.
Ball State – 35
Toledo – 24