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What the Experts Say About the Cardinals

Most fans of major college football programs wait with bated breath as the supposed gurus and preseason publications prognosticate their lot in the college football universe for the coming season. Prognosticating in early summer for the season about to unfold is wildly speculative and usually wrong, but we, as fans, continue to support these endeavors with flashy covers, pages of stats, and usually a page or two of cheerleaders thrown in to make sure the blood doesn’t all pool in our brains.

This year’s crop of preseason magazines found their way into my hot little hands this week, and OTP is proud to share what these augurs of the college football world had to say about our beloved Ball State Cardinals.

The Sporting News College Football Preview 2010
The Sporting News puts out their preview magazine to not nearly the fanfare of the other publications we obtained. To be fair for BSU fans, if you had to skip purchasing one, the Sporting News would be the one I would recommend bypassing. While great for the national angles, the amount of information found in the pages for the MidAmerican Conference is small, at best. Each team gets one column, while other magazines at least devote a full-page to each squad.

I can’t say I blame them, as you have to market to whatever readership is going to purchase the magazine. But to only give a column to a team seems a bit ridiculous. Spring for the extra pages and at least let the MAC/SunBelt/etc feel like they belong at the table, even if they do not. However, if you’re looking for a macro view of college football or want to focus on the power teams, then the Sporting News will suit your needs fine and dandy.

National Ranking: N/A… not a full ranking
Predicted Final Standing: 5th in MAC West
Predicted MAC West Champion: NIU
Predicted MAC East Champion: Temple
BSU Players on All-MAC Teams: Robert Eddins, DE (1st Team)
BSU Players on All-American Teams: None
Of Note:

  • Ian McGarvey named the MAC’s “Best Under Pressure”
  • BSU ranked 9th in MAC for recruiting
  • Named the Western Michigan game the “Game to Watch” on BSU’s schedule.

Lindy’s 2010 College Football Preview
Lindy’s is a step up from the Sporting News, but still not quite the level of respect you’ll get from one particular mag. However, what Lindy’s lacks in information, they at least seem to know a bit about BSU. They don’t simply let last year’s record speak for the Cardinals, and actually honor some of the young men through their All-MAC selections. And that’s a nice change of pace compared to some.

Lindy’s gives a full-page to each MAC squad and also a bit of information about last year. For your run of the mill national publication, Lindy’s isn’t bad. Quale gets some love also with a nice color photo. They also give a shout out to Keith Wenning as a “top newcomer” and point to an apparent “lack of strength” at the QB position as an indicator that Keith Wenning could come in and contribute right away. Time will tell, I reckon.

National Ranking: 113
Predicted Final Standing: 5th in MAC West
Predicted MAC West Champion: Central Michigan
Predicted MAC East Champion: Temple
BSU Players on All-MAC Teams: TE Madaris Grant (1st); RB Quale Lewis, DE Robert Eddins, DB Sean Baker, LB Travis Freeman, LB Davyd Jones (2nd)
BSU Players on All-American Teams: None
Of Note:

  • Quale Lewis not listed as one of the Top 25 running backs in the country
  • Their call: “The Cardinals will top last year’s two wins”

Athlon Sports 2010 Preview
When it comes to the preseason pubs, Athlon is the second in command in our view. Information beyond the basics, and usually something gimmicky that is at least entertaining. For example, this year, they rank every coaching job in the nation from best to worst. I’ll let you guess which end of that scale BSU was closest to. Hint: It isn’t the best. That’s all I’m saying.

Similar to those above, Athlon focuses on a macro view without paying a lot of attention to midmajor programs not in a BCS conference, though Boise State does receive quite a bit of attention. Being a national title contender will do that for you. If you’re a fan of Alabama or Ohio State, then Athlon should appeal to you. For the smaller conferences, there’s still adequate coverage and enough information and perspective to at least warrant browsing a bit at your local bookstore.

National Ranking: 108
Predicted Final Standing: 5th in MAC West 4-8 (2-6 MAC)
Predicted MAC West Champion: NIU
Predicted MAC East Champion: Temple
BSU Players on All-MAC Teams: DB Sean Baker, K Ian McGarvey (2nd)
BSU Players on All-American Teams: None
Of Note:

  • Ranks Ball State the 114th best coaching job in the nation. Hey! At least we’re not dead last!!
  • Unit rankings in the MAC for BSU: QB-9, RB-4, WR/TE-10, OL-12, DL-11, LB-8, DB-12
  • BSU ranked 9th in MAC for recruiting
  • Quale Lewis ranked the 46th best RB for fantasy college football and the 119th best overall player

Phil Steele’s 2010 College Football Preview
If you’re a hardcore fan of college football you know who Phil Steele is and you know all about his publication. If you don’t, then you need to get out more. Simply referred to as “The Bible” by most fans, Steele spends all year putting together a preview magazine worthy of the people who will obsess over it.

The bottom line is if you buy only one magazine, it should be this one. There is no other publication that can carry Steele’s jock when it comes to knowledge, information, and dedication. It is truly a sight to behold and something I look forward to each and every summer. This year, Steele is extremely complimentary of the Cards and expects them to be one of the biggest surprises of the 2010 season. That’s music to my ears as Steele has an amazing track record of picking those teams that no one saw coming. Positive omen for the Cards? It’s about time if it is considering the horrendous run of luck they had to endure last season.

Steele covers it all, from position rankings to unit rankings to recruiting, to prognosticating improved teams, declining teams, and his award finalists for the coming year. It is your one stop shop for information and take a walk through a pressbox on any given gameday and you’ll see at least a couple Steele mags poking out of sportswriters’ briefcases or laptop bags.

National Ranking: 88
Predicted Final Standing: 3rd in MAC West
Predicted MAC West Champion: WMU
Predicted MAC East Champion: Temple
BSU Players on All-MAC Teams: DE Robert Eddins (1st); RB Quale Lewis, K Ian McGarvey (2nd); TE Madaris Grant, LB Davyd Jones, P Scott Kovanda, OG Michael Switzer (3rd); WR Briggs Orsbon, LB Travis Freeman, CB Charlie Todd, DB Sean Baker, KR Eric Williams, PR Charlie Todd (4th)
BSU Players on All-American Teams: None
Of Note:

  • BSU a “darkhorse MAC West contender”
  • Unit rankings for the MAC: QB-7, RB-2, REC-6, OL-5, DL-6, LB-8, DB-5, Special Teams-7, Coaching-7
  • 112th toughest schedule
  • Quale Lewis named 60th best RB
  • Kelly Page ranked 52nd best QB
  • Davyd Jones ranked 69th best OLB
  • Sean Baker ranked 10th best SS
  • MAC rated 11th best conference
  • BSU named 6th best in MAC recruiting
  • BSU has 4th highest returning experience in the country
  • BSU ranked #118 in 2009’s attendance figures
  • Ball State projected to be #2 most improved team of 2010.

So What Have We Learned Boys and Girls?
Reading through the above, either one guy is right and three magazines are wrong or three magazines are right and one guy is wildly off base. Given Steele’s track record I’ll take my chances on him. So start booking those Motor City Bowl trips now, Cardinal fans!!

Perhaps that’s a bit premature, but the fact remains that as locked down as the MAC East appears to be in everyone’s mind with Temple, the MAC West is the exact opposite. NIU, WMU, and CMU all got nods as potential West champs, and Steele went so far as to say that even BSU has an outside shot at the West. I take from that this fall is going to be just as nutty as last year, which I’m not quite sure my heart can take.

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2 Responses

  1. Without reading any of them past this, it certainly seems like Steele’s is far more likely. I pretty much expected what last season brought us (albeit I guessed four wins, not two, blech)…

    But everyone, for the most part is coming back offensively with the key being the offensive line. Page was starting to turn it around before he got hurt, but now he won;t be running for his life, or if he is, he can run a bit slower. Quale/EW/Sykes should be quite the three-headed monster, and I have high hopes for an outstanding junior year from Orsbon.

    I have some worries defensively, somewhat moreso on the line than anywhere else. I think our LB corps is solid, but if the secondary (outside of Baker obviously) improves, I can totally see us winning a handful of the games we were losing last year. I think dark horse is a great way to phrase it. Maybe flirt with a .500 record and find away to win a couple other games, and see what happens.

  2. Great post. I only read Phil Steele’s. The other magazines are clearly disrespecting us because they put all of their attention on the BCS conference schools and have no idea who many of the MAC players are. I think BSU will finish 2nd behind NIU. I thnk Western is very overrated. they went 4-4 last year, lost to us on their home turf! even though we had our worst season since 2004, they lose Hiller which is no small loss for them, and they lose 8 starters which is a decent return but is closer to par for the course than returning 19 of 22 starters. I think they’ll finish 4-4 again, BSU 5-3, NIU 6-2.

    i’m shocked lindy’s would put five of our 22 starters on the 1st team All MAC and pick us 5th? do they think parrish is that bad of a coach that he would lose a lot with that much talent? that he can’t get close to .500 with 5 all-league players(i think 3 is more realistic-lewis, baker and eddins) then he would be maybe the worst coach in college football. I have my doubts on parrish, honestly the reason this team could be decent is due to the 07 and 08 Brady Hoke recruiting classes. However, i think he can get them over .500 since the MAC west is as weak as its been at the top for quite a while since so many teams lost their 3-4 year starters at qb.

    Sorry if i’m rehashing my point on bsufans.com.. Go Cards!

    Bob

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