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Football Begins Practice Thursday

Pete LemboSweet mother of football, we are mere weeks away from the season-opener on August 30 against Colgate. But before that can happen, there’s something else equally important to be accomplished. Like Allen Iverson said, “We talkin’ ’bout practice, man” and the Fighting Football Cardinals officially kick off their 2014 campaign with the opening of camp Thursday. Per the BSU release…

Ball State’s football team, under the direction of fourth-year head coach Pete Lembo, will begin its preseason camp with the first official practice Thursday at 7:15 p.m.

All of the Cardinals practices are open to the public and free of charge. Ball State will complete the preseason camp Sun., Aug. 17 and take Mon., Aug. 18 off for the first day of classes.

The Cardinals play six games at Scheumann Stadium in 2014, including five on Saturdays. Ball State – the only team in the nation to increase its win total in each of the last four seasons – kicks off the 2014 campaign at 2 p.m. Aug. 30 versus Colgate. Season tickets are now on sale and prices begin at less than $8 per game. Visit BallStateSports.com/Tickets for more pricing plans.

The complete preseason practice schedule is below, and subject to change. Call the football office at 765.285.8251 for updates as the practices progress.
Thurs., July 31 – Practice #1 (7:15 p.m.)
Fri., Aug. 1 – Practice #2 (2:15 p.m.)
Sat., Aug. 2 – Practice #3 (2:15 p.m.)
Sun., Aug. 3 – Practice #4 (2:15 p.m.)
Mon., Aug. 4 – Practice #5 (2:15 p.m.)
Tues., Aug. 5 – PAINT THE TOWN RED (Noon) – Downtown Muncie
Wed., Aug. 6 – Practice #6 and #7 (8 a.m. & 7:15 p.m.)
Thurs., Aug. 7 – Practice #8 (2:15 p.m.)
Fri., Aug. 8 – Practice #9 and #10 (8 a.m. & 7:15 p.m.)
Sat., Aug. 9 – Practice #11 (2:15 p.m.)
Sun., Aug. 10 – Practice #12 and #13 (8 a.m. & 7:15 p.m.)
Mon., Aug. 11 – NO PRACTICE
Tues., Aug. 12 – Practice #14 (2:15 p.m.)
Wed., Aug. 13 – Practice #15 (7:15 p.m.)
Thurs., Aug. 14 – Practice #16 (2:15 p.m.)
Fri., Aug. 15 – Practice #17 (2:15 p.m.)
Sat., Aug. 16 – Practice #18 (8 a.m.) and FAN JAM (5 p.m.) – Scheumann Stadium
Sun., Aug. 17 – Practice #19 (8 a.m.)
Mon., Aug. 18 – NO PRACTICE
Tues., Aug. 19 – Practice #20 (3:35 p.m.)
Wed., Aug. 20 – Practice #21 (3:35 p.m.)
Thurs., Aug. 21 – Practice #22 (3:35 p.m.)
Fri., Aug. 22 – Practice #23 (7:15 p.m.)
Sat., Aug. 23 – Practice #24 (2:15 p.m.)
Sun., Aug. 24 – Practice #25 (5:05 p.m.)

So get yourself ready for practice and also Paint the Town Red and Fan Jam. Football is right around the corner. Yipee!

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OTPcast 6.5

OTP Cast Logo200‘Cause all of us
Love the sports of BSU
Love your Cardinal and your white
Games played at 3 or at night
Give your wins to us
We’ll give our all to you
We’ll even root you on when sick with the flu
Especially when we play NIU
Cause we give you all our fandom
And you consistently beat IU, oh

It’s time again for the OTPcast and this one takes you on a Media Day recap for your Ball State University Fighting Football Cardinals. Jason and Alan give you some tasty nuggets of BSU’s media day experience and where the Cards fall in the preseason polls. They also take you across the MAC as a whole and hear what happens when an IU foundation call goes to Alan. (Hint: Hilarity ensues) All that and more on this week’s OTPcast!

Couple of different ways to hear this puppy. Viewing OTP in a feedreader? Then visit the site or download the mp3 from iTunes by clicking here. Leave us a rating on iTunes if you like what you hear! Enjoy…

[VIDEO] Joel Godett Takes You All Access at Media Day

Voice of the Cards Joel Godett has a great video up on the BSU mothership about Media Day and Ball State Football. I highly advise you watch it below…

Some things I noticed…

  • The quiet confidence that I’ve loved about CPL since his arrival is on full display.
  • Ben Ingle may be one of the smoothest-voiced football players I’ve heard speak. Seriously, he has a future as a Student Loan Collector that people not only wouldn’t despise, they’d pay triple. Early.
  • Quake rocks the bowtie far better than you or I ever could.
  • Rod Carey from NIU is a big dude. I bet he could use his hands as cricket bats.
  • The next time I see Joel, I’m asking whether his last name is “Guhdet” or “GOdett” because in the video above, he pronounces it two different ways. Or maybe I’m just hearing it that way. Perhaps this is a Howard Stern/Pig Vomit edition of “Double yew ennnnnn be see”. In that example, I guess Joel would be Howard. Tex Ritter would definitely be Fred.

[VIDEO] Dr. Steinbrecher Gives the State of the MAC #MACtion

Mid-American Conference Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher took some time at Media Day to speak on the State of the Conference. It wasn’t widely broadcast and wasn’t part of the ESPN3 coverage. That doesn’t mean it isn’t something you should watch. Once Dr. Jon gets done with the thank yous, the introductions, and the gladhanding (about the 2:30 mark) it’s actually not a bad way to spend 15 minutes or so. It gives some good perspective on where the conference has come from and more importantly, where the conference is headed. Of particular note is the heavy hand that Dr. Jon reigns with in regard to the shifting landscape of pay for play and the college football playoff. He also went all Ginger Hammer on coaches who may get caught cheating, stating they’d be fired and his one word Popovich-esque answer for whether the power five will break away. It’s worth your time.

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.

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.

Ball State Softball Has a New Assistant Coach

One of these people is BSU's new assistant softball coach. I'm hoping it's the guy on the right.

One of these people is BSU’s new assistant softball coach. I’m hoping it’s the guy on the right.

One thing you’ll notice (if you haven’t already) is that OTP is doing it’s darndest to make sure that all of the BSU athletic endeavors receive adequate coverage around these parts. Football will probably always be “our thing”, or at least until we change the name of the site, but that’s no reason not to keep you up on ALL of the goings on in the Cardinalsphere. It’s the least we could do.

Today’s BIG NEWS is that Ball State softball has hired a new assistant coach, one Alex Gray to come do his thing in Muncie from the metropolis of Storrs, CT and UConn. The BSU release…

Alex Gray, an assistant softball coach at Connecticut for the past two seasons, has been named an assistant coach for the Ball State softball program according to head coach Tyra Perry.

Gray served as the hitting coach at UConn, while also working with the infielders and outfielders under head coach Karen Mullens. He helped a pair of Huskies earn All-Big East Second Team accolades in 2013, while the team combined to post 40 home runs which stands as the second-best single-season total in program history.

“Alex is a great hire for us,” Perry said. “He is very well-rounded in that he has a baseball background, spent several years as a high school softball coach and has experience at the collegiate softball level. His passion for the game will bring great energy to the program.”

Prior to joining the staff at Connecticut, Gray spent three seasons (2009-11) as the head softball coach at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Ga. He led the Vikettes to a 67-34 record and was named the 2010 and 2011 Region 1-AAAAA Coach of the Year. His team’s won regional titles in 2010 and 2011, with the 2010 squad posting a 24-8 overall record, advancing to the round of eight in the state tournament and finishing the year ranked eighth in the state. Gray was also named the head coach for the South All-Star Team in the 2012 Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Softball Showcase.

“I am honored to be joining the Ball State Softball program,” Gray said. “I would like to thank head coach Tyra Perry and director of intercollegiate athletics Bill Scholl for the opportunity to be a part of the Ball State family and the supporting community of Muncie. I am ready to contribute towards the program’s success and Coach Perry’s vision for Ball State Softball.”

Gray served as the head softball coach at Richmond Hill High School in Richmond Hill, Ga in 2009, leading the Lady Wildcats to a 15-13 record and a berth in the state playoffs. He was the school’s head junior varsity softball coach during the 2007-08 season. Gray also served two seasons as the head golf coach and one year as the head junior varsity girl’s basketball coach at Richmond Hill.

In 2006, Gray was the community head coach of the freshman team, and the community assistant coach of both the varsity and junior varsity softball teams at Lowndes High School. He was the director of athletics at Bible Baptist School in Savannah, Ga. for the 2004-05 school year, as well as the head coach of the varsity boy’s basketball and baseball teams. Gray began his coaching career as an assistant coach for the Valdosta State University softball team in 2002, helping guide the program to a Gulf South Conference championship.

Gray was a four-year letterwinner in baseball, playing two seasons at both Young Harris College (1998-99) and Valdosta State University (2000-01). He was first-team all-conference selection at YHC in 1999, while earning the Baseball Spirit Award at VSU in 2001. Gray was a .342 (122-for-356) career hitter in his two seasons at Valdosta State, racking up 20 doubles, 12 home runs, 64 runs scored and 77 RBI for the Blazers.

Gray earned his associate degree in recreation from Young Harris in 1999 and his bachelor in speech communications from Valdosta State in 2002.

Admittedly, I am in no way a softball expert, but pulling an assistant coach from a school like UConn is a big deal in my book. I also am in no way a racy novel expert, but from heretofore, I shall refer to Coach Gray as “50 Shades” or “Coach 50 Shades”. Perhaps even “Coach 50″ if I’m in a rush. I encourage you to do the same.

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.

 

 

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