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A Non-MAC Coach Weighs In on the MAC Media Poll

When the MAC media preseason poll was released today, I was quite vocal about how I thought the media as a whole had put the screws to the Cardinals. Voting Ball State third in the MAC West I wasn’t that fired up about. Voting Central Michigan first in the West twice? That’s where I draw a line. But perhaps I was overreacting. Obviously with my Cardinal colored glasses, sometimes I get a tree lost amidst the forest. Was that really all that bad?

We at the Pylon decided to reach out to a neutral third-party observer to ensure we were not inadequately fired up about these poll shenanigans at the hands of the dastardly MAC media conglomerate.

Coach Gundy, any thoughts on the MAC Media preseason poll released today?

That was sort of my thoughts as well. But let’s get a little more in depth. The most obvious thing that I thought was amiss was the fact that Central Michigan had two first place votes and the team immediately above them had none. That team happens to be Ball State. Any reason as to why a team that limped home to 6 wins, most of which came against the bottom of the barrel would get voted so high?

But are we wrong to get upset about our team again being overlooked and undervalued from those in the know? These are supposed to be the best and the brightest in the media that champion all the good things about college athletics. Right?

So I take it you’re not a fan of the media. Not even your local newspaper? I mean here, take a look at the latest edition of the Muncie Star Press and tell me what you think about that…

Well, not everything can be perfect. There are probably times when everyone makes mistakes. Thoughts on the myriad other ways to stay connected to Ball State athletics besides OverThePylon?

Can’t argue with that. So back to the MAC Media Poll, is there any explanation for the oddities of the poll? And not just the CMU thing. There’s the love for NIU with significant questions, some fliers taken on Akron, and a whole host of other things that just seem to defy explanation. Buffalo in 4th in the East? Come on. Any rationale?

That’s a bold accusation, Coach. Perhaps you could give us your opinion of some of the teams in the conference.

Toledo?

Bowling Green?

NIU?

Buffalo?

I’m noticing a pattern. We’ve been hard at the Pylon on WMU’s PJ Fleck. Between the dancing, the dj, and the boat oars, we’ve taken a fair share of jabs at Coach Fleck. Your thoughts on him?

I’m actually kind of shocked. Anything else to add before we let you go, Coach?

Vomit away.

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BREAKING: MAC Media Releases Their Preseason Poll, Ball State Snubbed

MACThe MAC media has spoken…

Team (First Place Votes) Points

MAC East Division
1. Bowling Green (18) 144
2. Akron (3) 114
3. Ohio 107
4. Buffalo 87
5. Kent State 72
6. Miami 43
7. UMass 23

MAC West Division
1. Toledo (11) 114
2. Northern Illinois (8) 110
3. Ball State 82
4. Central Michigan (2) 67
5. Western Michigan 44
6. Eastern Michigan 24

2014 Marathon MAC Championship Game Winner: Bowling Green 11; Toledo 6; Central Michigan 2; Northern Illinois 1; Akron 1.

No first place votes for BSU, nobody picking them for the MAC Championship? What say you, Jake Taylor….

I think in this scenario, CPL is Jake Taylor, Coach Dixon would be Cerano and Joey Lynch would be Rick Vaughn, but that’s sort of up for debate I suppose.

How You Can Follow All the MACtion from MAC Media Day

MACWednesday marks the unofficial start to football season as MAC Media Day gets underway from Ford Field in Detroit. See, it’s cyclical because the MAC season ends there too. Oh MAC, you are a clever one.

The festivities are from 12-4 and that includes things like the commissioner’s address and time with every single coach and two players from each MAC squad. There are several ways to loop yourself into the MACtion, and this is what we would do if we were you and what we will do because we are us…

  • Broadcast radio coverage in Muncie is on Fox Sports Radio 102.9 FM or 1340 AM starts at 1 with voice of the Cardinals Joel Godett (the man who apparently needs no sleep as all he does is work) (which is incidentally the original chorus of the DJ Khalid song. Not nearly as catchy). You get 40 minutes of that until Reds coverage starts and then you have to flip over to…
  • BallStateSports.com will have your listen live links for when the radio becomes a Joey Votto lovefest. I would imagine they’ll have all of it, not just the preempted by baseball substance, so I’d check it out at 1.
  • For the Cardinals, Pete Lembo, Quake Edwards, and Ben Ingle will be the guests of record and they’ll be on throughout the program. Godett will also get a chance to sit down with various other players and coaches throughout the day from around the conference, including the MAC commissioner.
  • If you’re the Tweeting type, you should be following (if not already) @JoelGodett, @BallStateSports, and @BallStateFB. There will be opportunities to ask questions through Joel of the various people he talks to.
  • If you want to watch and not listen, and we all know how you like to watch, ESPN’s Michael Reghi and Dustin Fox will be interviewing players and coaches and previewing the upcoming season on ESPN3 today from 2-4 p.m. ET. You can catch all the action from your WatchESPN app, WatchESPN.com, or the ESPN3 hub on MAC-Sports.com.

So, you’ ve got about two and a half hours to accomplish something at the office before you mentally check out for the rest of the day to get yourself prepared for the fall football season. Plan accordingly.

MAC New Media Preseason Poll

MACI remember a time when the MAC New Media group was a small collection of blogs that all varied in degrees of frequency, professionalism, fan-voice, and ad bait. That was back in ’08 when we hung our shingle in the blogosphere, and the group of sites that covers the Mid American Conference has evolved, advanced, and evolved some more. Though some blogs have gone dark, others have sprung up, and Hustle Belt has been pushed to the forefront by the SBNation Death Star, the passion of the group hasn’t waned.

Tomorrow is MAC Media Day in Detroit. You’ll get to see what mainstream media thinks about the coming season of MAC football. But who better to get your information from than the group of people who follow these teams and this conference day in and day out. The great things about getting news and other goings on from blogs is that you’re hearing from someone who doesn’t have a myopic view of just one team, which also happens to be couched in between the local high school goings on, national sports stories, and all the other things that a mainstream journalist has to scramble for. So, the new media of the MAC thought it best to give you what you need, an unvarnished opinion about how the conference is going to shake out in the fall.

Our voters?

For the East…

  1. BG (6) 52 points
  2. Akron (1) 41 points
  3. Buffalo (1) 39 points
  4. Ohio 38 points
  5. Kent State 23 points
  6. Miami 19 points
  7. UMass 10 points

For the West…

  1. NIU (4) 42 points
  2. Toledo (2) 41 points
  3. Ball State (2) 33 points
  4. CMU 25 points
  5. WMU 15 points
  6. EMU 13 points

The group collective picked NIU as the MAC Championship winner, with Terry Bowden claiming Coach of the Year honors and BG QB Matt Johnson taking home Player of the Year.

My reply all response to the above when it hit my email for the group was “You are all high.” and I stand by that. My other thoughts outside of the aforementioned assumption that people are either inebriated, ignorant, or blissfully unaware (or a combination of all of the above):

  • It’s so good to see people expect to see a drop off after good QBs graduate, hence BSU landing in third in the West, 6th overall. What’s that? NIU is still ranked #1 in the west despite losing their All-Galaxy QB Jordan Lynch? Well that doesn’t seem very consistent, now does it?
  • Apparently the slurping of BG can now begin in earnest. Thank God! (That’s sarcasm)
  • This the last year for UMass in the MAC, so next year’s new media poll will have to pick a “zOMG WORST TEAM EVUR!!!!111″ to champion. I nominate Buffalo. Or Western Michigan.
  • My ballot was:
    • East: BG, Akron, Ohio, Kent State, Buffalo, Miami, UMass
    • West: BSU, Toledo, NIU, CMU, EMU, WMU
    • My MAC Champion was BSU, Coach of the Year was Pete Lembo, and Player of the Year was Jahwan Edwards

That screams “homer pick” and in theory you could be right given how mine shook out, but you would be wrong in practice, as I also shared my working theory for why I picked the way I picked. I’m of the belief that BSU behind the running prowess of Quake wins the West. That explains why they are tops in that division and why he would be my Player of the Year. I had BG as E1 because of Johnson, and had the Cardinals tossing their second thumping in a month on the Falcons in Detroit. Why Lembo you ask? Because apparently the people “in the know” think BSU is going to have a God awful season with a drop off like no other MAC team. I’d say if CPL can win the conference with those expectations, then he’s a shoe-in for Coach of the Year. The rest of my picks were a mixture of educated guesses and unadulterated hatred. Massholes and boat oars sunk to the bottom of both my divisions and the rest were just a toss-up.

So there you go, boys and girls. If I could walk these down from Mt. Cardinal on two stone tablets, I would, and frankly, given the heat and humidity I wouldn’t mind wearing a flowing robe. And nothing else. HEY O! But yeah, MAC media day is tomorrow, so get yourself ready for some more fun from your friends here at OTP.

Ali Landry Wants Monday News and Notes

Note to future girlfriends... Doritos do not make you look like this.

Note to future girlfriends… Doritos do not make you look like this.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Pylon has been eerily silent lately. If in fact you hadn’t noticed, thanks a lot, jerks. If you had noticed and assumed that Fearless Leader, RV, and Jason were too busy out saving the world amidst myriad tragedies and issues, then you should continue under that assumption. But as Occam said in his razor, the simplest explanation is often times the right one, and this is no exception. Coupled with a significant increase in real life workload thanks to some changing personnel landscape at the office and a promotion for me with virtually no news coming out of BSU footballland that couldn’t be quick hit on Twitter, and the result is a couple of weeks of a Pylon-free existence for you. That ceases to be the case now, as we are only five Saturdays away from the 2014 premier of the Fighting Football Cardinals. The offseason has been a whirlwind of news, so the short break the last couple weeks has been nice. No new locker rooms, no new buildings, no transfers in or out, and the chance to take a breath.

But what would a triumphant return to regular posting be without a news and notes post? Today’s celebrity is birthday girl Ali Landry, the poster child for Doritos-eating youths going through puberty in the late 90′s. She was a former pageant star and also was married to AC Slater Mario Lopez, and if you ask me that was the peak of her life career. In a moment of confession, I at first had her confused with Ali Larter and was really excited to use  the Varsity Blues whip cream bikini photo. Alas, we have to settle for the pitchwoman for Nacho Cheesier Doritos who celebrates her 40th birthday. On to the news and notes….

NewsNotesLogoPreseason Watch Lists are a good way for a program to generate some buzz and headlines in a long and boring offseason. Take last year for example, when it seemed like everyone who donned a BSU jersey was on some sort of list. This season, Jordan Williams has landed on the Biletnikoff Award Watchlist for the top WR, Jacob Richard has been named to the Lombardi Award Watchlist for the nation’s top down lineman, and Quake Edwards has been named to the Doak Walker Award Watchlist for the nation’s best RB. Good luck to all.

NewsNotesLogoJuly is preseason countdown month across the internet, and USAToday’s Paul Myerberg’s is usually one of the most well-documented and fair. He also used OTP’s Obama-ized Lembo icon as his Twitter avatar for a while, so suffice to see, Paul is A+ in my book. He ranks the Cardinals at #57 in his piece here. He ranks Indiana #69, so there’s that also.

NewsNotesLogoSpeaking of countdowns, the Orlando Sentinel ranks BSU #46 in their preseason previews. It always entertains me to read MAC previews from folks who don’t cover the MAC, especially when they act like the defensive unit will ultimately decide the fate of the team. I agree the defense is important and may even be the more productive unit this fall. But counting on your defense to win you a MAC title is like bringing a spork to a gatling gun fight. (via)

NewsNotesLogoI’m not sure what Rant Sports is, but if you can get past the pop ups and ads, they rank BSU #50. There. I saved you the click. (via)

NewsNotesLogoFrom the hardwood, the BSU Sports mothership takes you All Access with new BSU basketball assistant coach Danny Peters. (via)

NewsNotesLogoIn not-sports-at-all-but-definitely-more-important-news, BSU has implemented new Student Conduct standards for sexual assault, cyberstalking, and posting nude photos on social networking sites. As most who frequent OTP know, I’m in the field of higher education when not being a sarcastic prick on the internet, and it’s safe to say that creating an environment where students feel safe to come forward about such things is not an issue, it’s THE issue in higher ed at the moment. Between Jameis Winston, the Notre Dame sexual assault/suicide case, and the US Department of Education’s reveal of 55 campuses that were under scrutiny for their handling of sexual assault, it will be the issue of the next while in education. You can check out the details of BSU’s new policy here.

NewsNotesLogoIn happy trails news, BSU police chief Gene Burton is retiring July 31 after 34 years of service. I would estimate the number of parking tickets Burton’s office gave me to be 7 and the total number he was ultimately responsible for over three-plus decades of service somewhere in the neighborhood of eleventy billion.

 

 

[VIDEO] Your Cardinals Get the First Look at the New Locker Room

In case you unaware, Ball State football has a new locker room. And it’s nice. The players got their first look at it today and there were ribbons to cut, plugs to geek over, and a Cardinal in the carpet to be in awe of. Take it away, boys…

Some thoughts on the above…

  • How good of a spokesman is Scott Secor? Top notch in my book.
  • Quake Edwards looks like a grown ass man. Like someone poised to just run roughshod over the MAC.
  • The locker room itself is stellar. I’ve not been in a ton of locker rooms but this one is head and shoulders over the ones I have been. Kudos to everyone who made this possible, especially those who gave considerably more than I did.
  • Chargers in the lockers?! That’s incredible and something I wouldn’t have thought of. This whole thing from the lockers to the alley, to the plugs, to the Cardinal in the carpet just screams “first class” and it has been a while since BSU football could say that. Well done.
  • Joel Godett is just fun to watch. Genuine love of the guys and the goings on, even if he is  filthy Syracuse alum.

Tip of the cap to the BSU Sports mothership for putting that together.

Athlon Would Like You to Welcome Your BSU Falcons

It was supposed to be a restful and relaxing Sunday evening at OTP Manor. I had a frosty beverage or three ready to rock for what I consider must watch television on the level of the first night of The Bachelor: the Miss USA pageant. No other television program outside of the premier of The Bachelor has so much of the human condition on display in one block of time. Success, failure, beauty, intelligence or lack thereof. It’s simply magical.

That spectrum of human emotion and fascination got put on hold though last night when friend of the Pylon and former fellow Maryland resident BallUHouston sent this along on Twitter:

Ball State Falcons

Yes, that says Ball State. Yes, that says Falcons. DOES NOT COMPUTE. Either Jo Ann Gora changed the mascot before she left or Athlon had made an egregious error in the publication of its fall preview piece for college football. Far be it for me to criticize someone for spelling or grammar mistakes, as Lord knows the history of this site will show that even the most mediocre of writers (read: me) will make a massive ass ton of them each day. But to my credit, I’ve never switched up the mascot of a team I covered quite so incorrectly.

Twitter exploded because of this, and great fun was had by all, most notably Athlon. To their credit, their college football editor Steven Lassan responded almost immediately apologizing for the error and saying he would pass it up to the right folks. The general Athlon Sports account responded as well and apologetically reminded us they do love Pete Lembo after I suggested he take them off the Lembo family Christmas Card list. Perhaps the greatest response of the night though goes to the Air Force Academy.

After friend of the Pylon Kodie Egenolf said he was a BSU Cardinal and also an Air Force Falcon and preferred Falcons to Cardinals, the Air Force Academy’s official athletics Twitter responded with this jewel:

AFA Ball State

Well played, Air Force Academy. Well played, indeed. In the end, Athlon apologized, I had a good laugh or three, BSU was a buzz on Twitter for a bit and Miss Nevada won Miss USA. All in all, a pretty eventful little Sunday. Go Falcons!

Mark Your Calendars, BSU has Fall Game Times

IBSULogo know it’s summer, you are focused solely on the temperature of the beer in your fridge and the water in your pool, but lend me your ears, BSU football fans. Game times and television information has been released for the fall. The Cardinal sports calendar may be without event until an August 16th soccer game against IUPUI but we now have something to obsess over. So fire up, boys and girls.

Per the BSU release…

Ball State, in conjunction with the Mid-American Conference and the ESPN Family of Networks, has announced game times for a portion of the 2014 football season.

The Cardinals will open the 2014 campaign Sat., Aug. 30, with a 2 p.m. home game vs. Colgate. Ball State will play at Iowa Sept. 6, at a time still to be announced, and then host Indiana State on Family Weekend Sat., Sept. 13, at 3 p.m. In addition, the Cardinals’ Homecoming Game vs. Western Michigan Sat., Oct. 11, will be played at 3 p.m. in Scheumann Stadium.

Ball State’s games vs. Colgate and Indiana State are slated to air on ESPN3, while other game times and television partners will be announced throughout the season approximately 12 days prior to each game.

At the Indiana State game, Ball State will honor the 1964 team and celebrate the squad’s 50-year anniversary. At the Homecoming Game vs. Western Michigan, the university will honor the 1989 team and celebrate its 25th anniversary of winning the MAC Championship and competing in the 1989 California Raisin Bowl.

Ball State’s game at Army Oct. 4 is slated for a noon start and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

As a part of the MAC’s midweek television package in November, the Cardinals will host Northern Illinois Wed., Nov. 5, at 8 p.m., and play at Massachusetts Wed., Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. Both of those games are expected to air on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Ball State finished the 2013 season with a 10-3 overall record and competed in the GoDaddy Bowl, under the direction of head coach Pete Lembo. It marked only the third 10-win campaign in school history and only the second time the Cardinals have ever played in bowl games in back-to-back seasons.

So mark your calendars, set your Tivo’s, get your excuses ready to call into work or church the next day and ready yourself for another falltastic BSU football season.

Cards Send Two More to the NFL

cleveland browns logoYou thought the only chance the Cardinals had to land a football alum on an NFL roster rested with Jonathan Newsome, Keith Wenning, or Willie Snead? Think again. Today BSU announced that Nathan Ollie and Zane Fakes are on their way to Cleveland with Snead with an invite to rookie minicamp set to take place this weekend.

From BSU…

Willie Snead, Zane Fakes and Nathan Ollie — all members of the 2013 Ball State football team — will get an National Football League opportunity with the Cleveland Browns.

Willie Snead, a junior wide receiver on the Ball State football team in 2013, has signed a free agent contract with the Browns, while Fakes and Ollie have each received invitations to attend mini-camp.

The Cleveland Browns signed 11 undrafted free agents, including four wide receivers, two offensive linemen, one running back, one fullback, one quarterback, one defensive back and one defensive lineman.

Snead finished the 2013 season with Ball State single-season records in receptions (106), receiving yards (1,516) and receiving touchdowns (15). His 1,516 receiving yards in the 2013 season ranked third in the nation. Snead completed his Ball State career ranked second in receiving yards (2,991), second in passes caught (223), second in touchdown catches (26) and first in 100-yard receiving games (13).

Snead, who is only one of two players in Ball State history to manage two 1,000-yard receiving seasons, helped the Cardinals to a 10-3 overall record in 2013 and an appearance in the GoDaddy Bowl. He helped Ball State to a 9-4 mark and a trip to the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg in 2012, and a bowl eligible season of 6-6 as a true freshman in 2011.

Snead, who declared for the National Football League after his junior season, was named to the 2013 All-Mid-American Conference First Team and was a semifinalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award this past season.

Ollie, who was named Ball State’s 2013 John Magnabosco Award winner as the defensive most valuable player, managed 72 total tackles last fall. He also led the Cardinals with six quarterback hurries and ranked second on the team with 10 tackles for loss plus added four sacks. He earned All-MAC Second-Team honors as a defensive tackle for Ball State.

Fakes, who was awarded the Paul Schudel Strength and Conditioning Award last season, was named to the All-MAC First Team as a tight end in 2013. He managed 41 receptions for 410 yards and two touchdowns. Fakes earned his bachelor’s degree from Ball State in May of 2013 and earned Capitol One Academic All-America honors this past fall, while pursuing his master’s degree.

In addition to these three heading to the Cleveland Browns, Ball State’s Jonathan Newsome was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and Keith Wenning was chosen by the Baltimore Ravens.

As if I needed further reason to make Cleveland my secondary NFL team behind the Bears and Colts, this seems like as good a reason as any. Three BSUers with a chance to make the squad and Johnny Football? Sign me up. I suggest you do that same.

Ball State Announces Coaches Caravans

dodge caravan

If they want to be literal, they’ll caravan in a Caravan. I’m not optimistic.

Well hello there, BSU fans. I hope you’re having a stellar Monday. If you’re not, I have some good news for you, assuming you live in Muncie, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, or Chicago and would like to meet the power brokers of BSU athletics. Because much like Big and Rich, the likes of Pete Lembo, Bill Scholl, James Whitford, and Brady Sallee are comin’ to your city, only without Cowboy Troy or the little person they always play with.

Your relevant dates to start penciling in:

Muncie:
Thursday, May 22
The Players Club (Yorktown)
In conjunction with the CVC Golf Classic
Noon to 1 p.m.

Fort Wayne:
Thursday, May 29
Champions Sports Bar & Restaurant
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Indianapolis:
Saturday, May 31
Victory Field (Comcast Room)
In conjunction with the Indianapolis Indians Outing
4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Chicago:
Tuesday, June 3
Harry Caray’s Restaurant
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. CST

It’s a great chance to be a part of some CVC events and also get your very own photo opp with CPL, Coach Whitt, Coach Sallee, or Bill Scholl. Hell, maybe even all four. Suitable for framing and makes a wonderful Christmas card. If you celebrate Christmas. Do they send cards for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? If not, they should. And they should put pictures of BSU big wigs on them. For more information and especially to register for the Indy and Muncie events, please contact the Ball State Alumni Association at 765.285.1080. If you’re hitting up Chicago or Ft. Wayne, enjoy spending some time at a sports bar type place with the BSU folks. Mozzarella sticks or nachos make a wonderful appetizer. You’re welcome.

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