Can you feel it? The pending doom that comes from the college football season slipping away like sands through the hour-glass? We have two more games, friends. Four more teams to take the field. And then…. nothing. A cold, empty, blackness known as the college football offseason.
Sure, there’s recruiting. But placing your daily satisfaction on the whims of an 18-year old is a dangerous game. Perhaps there’s more coaching carousel information and news. But that just worries a fanbase and whips everyone into a tizzy. There’s spring practice reports and a spring game, but much like your prom date, it’s all just a giant tease. So we have 4 teams, 2 games, and 1 in particular that are deserving of our attention.
Tonight, at 9pm on ESPN, your Ball State University Fighting Football Cardinals take flight in Mobile, AL for the GoDaddy.com Bowl against the Arkansas State Red Wolves. It’s a chance for the Cardinals to win the first bowl game in program history and a chance for Coach Pete Lembo to cement his name in the conversation of best BSU coaches to wear the headset. So while the entirety of the rest of the country gets amped up about the final BCS National Championship game between two programs that have their history of QBs run afoul of the NCAA or criminal law, I will instead focus on this game. It’s Arkansas State. It’s Ball State. WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK FOR, FOOTBALL FANS?!?
- Arkansas State is from the Sun Belt. Much like the MAC is the sacrificial non-conference lambs for the Big Ten, so to is the SunBelt the punching bag for the SEC. Arkansas State played Auburn and Missouri, losing to both. Arkansas State fans will tell you that playing those teams is more impressive than playing the likes of North Texas or Virginia, and they are probably right. However, BSU could have also scheduled top teams to beat the piss out of us had we so chosen. Showing up to your own bloodbath does not a medal of honor get you.
- Speaking of A State fans, they are quite the vocal bunch. For a team that just came up to the FBS level in 1990, and one who has played in only three bowl games in program history, you’d think that humility would be the order of the day for their fanbase. Granted, they did win their first FBS bowl game last year, the GoDaddy Bowl against the MAC’s Kent State (a MAC team who was 11-2) but I do have to wonder if their bluster isn’t a little misplaced. It’s certainly annoying.
- While we’re on the subject of A State, let’s talk coaches, shall we? As everyone knows by now, next season will be Blake Anderson’s first, but he will be the fourth head coach in as many years for the Red Wolves. Bryan Harsin, Gus Malzahn, and Hugh Freeze all bid adieu to Jonesboro after just one season. Can you really blame them? The anchor store at the Mall at Turtle Creek (the largest mall in northeast Arkansas) is a JC Penny’s. NO MACY’S?!? STEP YO GAME UP OR LOSE MORE COACHES.
- John Grisham hails from Jonesboro and I actually can’t really hate on that.
So we have a team in transition with an interim coach versus a MAC juggernaut. In fact, an argument could be made (and made with some success I might add) that were it not for about 5 minutes of game action, this BSU team would be 12-0 instead of 10-2 and not being in Mobile at all. Regardless, the 2nd best team in the SunBelt and their boisterous fans get the privilege and honor of stepping on the field against the Ball State Cardinals tonight at 9pm. ESPN. Join us, won’t you?