There’s just something about a midweek game that let’s you know it’s getting down to serious business time in the MAC. There are three (count ’em: THREE!) games left for this 2013 regular season and that fact alone is literally mind-boggling. I’m not sure where the time has gone, but it’s nut cuttin’ time in the MAC. All eyes will be on Dekalb next week as the undefeated media darling and OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU hosts the Fighting Football Cardinals, but the most important game is always the most current one. And that’s the CMU Chippewas.
The Chips will come into Muncie tonight for a nationally televised ESPN2 spectacle that will hopefully have a huge student turnout in an effort to help Dance Marathon. So I figure the students will show up in mass effect, but much like the Kent State game and operation 20k, the onus for “good attendance” sort of falls on the season ticket holders, general admission folks, alums, and Delaware County-ites. I’ve railed against the attendance problem for years now, and frankly, I’m running out of breath to do it. This is a football team that’s 8-1, in the hunt for a MAC West championship, and is getting votes in both Top 25 polls. I know it’s Tuesday. I know you probably have work tomorrow. I’m sure there’s a million reasons why you can’t. Kids, commitments, blah blah blah. How about you bring your kids to the game? That seems like a winning idea for sure. Get them hooked on the Cards, have them fall in love with football, and they can grow up and become a superstar. Unless they’re a girl. But you can always let her look at the Code Red Dancers. Lord knows that’s all Jason does.
The Chips come to Muncie at 3-5 overall and 2-2 in the MAC with their wins coming against Ohio, Miami (Ohio), and FCS New Hampshire. Their three wins were at a combined margin of 18 points, so I’m not quite worried about CMU blowing the lights off the scoreboard this evening. They’re also coming off a significant layoff. Where as BSU last took the field 10 days ago, it’s been 17 for the Chips with a bye week before the move to midweek action. Whether that means rust or rest we’ll find out tonight on ESPN2. To the numbers…
|Scoring Offense||17th (39.4)||113th (18.6)|
|Rushing Offense||93rd (141.9)||103rd (125.0)|
|Passing Offense||16th (325.7)||80th (215.8)|
|Total Offense||29th (467.6)||108th (340.8)|
|Scoring Defense||42nd (23.6)||102nd (33.4)|
|Rushing Defense||104th (206.9)||107th (210.0)|
|Passing Defense||34th (215.6)||52nd (225.6)|
|Total Defense||85th (422.4)||93rd (435.6)|
|Sacks||60th (16.0)||70th (15.0)|
|Sacks Allowed||27th (11.0)||108th (24.0)|
|Turnover Margin||16th (+7)||89th (-3)|
|3rd Down Conv. %||27th (46.6%)||76th (38.3%)|
|Opp. 3rd Down Conv. %||67th (39.7%)||121st (50.0%)|
|Red Zone Conv. %||38th (86.7%)||89th (78.6%)|
|Opp. Red Zone Conv. %||19th (73.1%)||87th (85.7%)|
|Punting||64th (41.3)||37th (42.5)|
|Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game||5th (31.0)||13th (36.6)|
Here’s the thing about statistics: In theory, you could craft evidence in any way to support whatever argument you want to make. There’s an exception to that theory, though, and it’s outlined above. We’ve been doing By the Numbers for several years now and I cannot remember a clean sweep statistically for the Cardinals. Truthfully, a 16-1 margin doesn’t ring a bell either, but I could just be getting old and forgetful. What that means is that on paper, the Cardinals are significantly better and better performing than their counterparts on the field tonight. Unless Dan LeFevour sneaks into a CMU jersey, the Cardinals may very well cover the anticipated spread which Vegas opened at 17.5, and has since been bet up to 21 at most books. To have that much of an increase on a midweek MAC game means a lot of money is coming in on the Cards. Whether that’s Vegas sharps’ money or degenerate scumbags who just have to bet on something I guess we shall see this evening. 8pm. ESPN2. Get your thrashin’ boots ready.