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    OTP covers Ball State University sports from the blog perspective in the most overzealous manner possible, proving that as long as there is someone with enough free time you can obsess over anything.
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[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.

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OTPcast 6.3

OTP Cast Logo200Said all I want from you
Is to see you Saturday
And every Saturday
Maybe you’ll let me borrow, your heart
And is it too much to ask for some Tuesdays?
And while we’re at it throw in Wednesdays too

I know conferences make promises all the time
Then they turn right around and break them
When someone realigns your teams all around and you’re reeling
But you could be the conference to heal it over time
And I won’t stop until you believe it
‘Cause MAC football you’re worth it

The OTPcast doesn’t take a summer break, but does in fact make yours exponentially better. Cutting grass? OTPcast! Swimming in the lake? OTPcast! Grilling out on the back deck? OTPcast! It’s the podcast of your summer dreams, baby. Jason and Alan are back to catch you up on all things Ball State related. Like the summer coaches caravan. Or what the staff has planned for the summer. They talk about Nick Saban’s raise, a new Ball State president, and Jason is no fan of wrestling but does love the Undertaker’s dong. He also catches you up on all things technology related in Jason’s Tech Corner from WWDC. It’s all that and more in 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. Enjoy…

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!

Baseball Has Three Drafted

BSULogoThe big news of the last couple days was the times and television for the football Cardinals for the fall. That was until the Cardinals had three players selected in this week’s MLB draft. T.J. Weir, Sean Godfrey and Nestor Bautista all heard their names called Saturday in the 17th, 22nd, and 32nd rounds respectively. Weir was selected by the San Diego Padres, Godrey by the Atlanta Braves, and Bautista by the Florida Marlins. With their drafting, BSU has now landed 55 players in the MLB draft. Per BSU’s release notes…

A senior pitcher, infielder and designated hitter, Weir ranks ninth in the nation with 117 strikeouts and 15th nationally with 16 games started on the mound. He finished second in the Mid-American Conference in strikeouts and tied for third in pitching victories (8), while ranking tied for third in games started and fourth with 99.2 innings pitched. Weir struck out a career-high 14 batters versus Western Michigan April 19, which was the highest single-game total by a MAC pitcher this season. He struck out at least eight batters in seven outings this year plus hit three home runs, with five doubles, two triples and 17 RBI in his 109 at-bats. Weir completed the season with an 8-2 pitching record and a 3.61 earned-run average.

Godfrey, who was named to the Louisville Slugger Collegiate Baseball All-America Third Team, was named the 2014 MAC Player of the Year. He batted .333 in 237 at-bats for the Cardinals in 2014 with nine home runs, 22 doubles and 57 runs-batted-in. Godfrey ranks nationally in doubles (9th), runs-batted-in (17th), total bases (30th with 128) and hits (45th with 79). Godfrey became the 15th player in Ball State history honored by an All-America team and the eighth to earn third-team honors.

Bautista was 3-1 in 18 appearances for the Cardinals in 2014 and tallied a 3.55 ERA. He pitched 25.1 innings, allowing 10 earned runs and striking out 25 batters. Opponents batted a mere .233 against Bautista, which was the best mark on the Ball State pitching staff.

“What a great day for Ball State baseball,” Cardinals’ head coach Rich Maloney said.  “It is exciting to see these players realize their dream of playing professional baseball.  To become a national program players getting to play at the next level is a prerequisite.  Each of these student-athletes earned their degrees, which makes me very proud.  They exemplified the true meaning of student-athlete.”

Congrats and Go Cards!

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.

OTPcast 6.2

OTP Cast Logo200Here’s the podcast that you turn on, international
First class sound on your earbuds
Listenin’ comfortable, cause we know what the Cards fans need
Muncie to Chi, I got BSU fans on my timeline
You make it easy to chirp

Been around to bowls, got some odd looks
But this team don’t need explaining
All I really need to understand is when, you talk BSU with me

You thought the offseason wouldn’t be rockin’ for OTP? WRONG! Jason and Alan are back to get you filled in on everything from BSU Cardinals in the NFL Draft, Johnny Football, dudes loving dudes, Donald Sterling hating everyone, cockfighting, hot tub movies, and a whole bunch of random in between. It’s an OTPcast not to be missed.

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. Enjoy…

NFL Super Bowl Futures Betting After the Draft

Draft-2014-e1389404247238The NFL draft is in the books and despite a ridiculous amount of hype and media coverage surrounding the event it’s really a non-factor it determining who will win Super Bowl 2015. Part of the reason for this is the design of the draft with the worst teams getting the best players but it has more to do with the nature of NFL football. It’s a team game that places a strong emphasis on coaching and one in which its hard for a single player—even a great player—to ‘carry’ a team on his own.

In other words, the post draft futures odds for Super Bowl winner look very much the same as they did before the draft. The Denver Broncos remain the Super bowl betting favorite to redeem their Super Bowl performance from last season and win this year. The Broncos are +400 to win the Super Bowl while the defending champion Seattle Seahawks are +575. This is due to the same dynamic that resulted in Denver being favored in last season’s Super Bowl—the Peyton Manning factor. Manning’s high profile and general likability makes Denver the most ‘public’ team in the league. Unless they get off to a horrible start in the 2014 NFL season they’ll likely be overvalued on a game by game basis as well.

The San Francisco 49ers are the #3 choice to win the Super Bowl at +625. The Niners played the eventual champion Seahawks tough in the NFC Championship game but have had no shortage of off field distractions and internal discord since then. The only other team at single digit odds are the New England Patriots at +850. The Patriots also made their conference championship game but didn’t provide much of a challenge for the Denver Broncos.

There’s a big jump to the next teams—the Green Bay Packers (+1200) and New Orleans Saints (+1500) are the only teams priced at less than 20/1 odds. They’re followed by the Carolina Panthers (+2400) and Indianapolis Colts (+2500). There are five teams priced at +3000.

The biggest longshots are the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders, both priced at +20000. The team with the first pick in the NFL draft—the Houston Texans—are priced at +40000 and have experienced little or no betting interest despite the selection of Jadeveon Clowney.

NFL Draft Saturday Haikus

Draft-2014-e1389404247238Today marks the final day of the NFL Draft, where I (and hopefully you) are hoping to hear at least one or two BSUers get their name called. Sure, they won’t be in New York. Yes, the highlight reel will be significantly scaled back compared to the first round bonanza of one-handed catches, decleating tackles, and Aloe Blacc lyrics that we were subjected to,  but there are good things about going on Day 3:

  • Example: When Keith Wenning is called, he won’t have to make the decision to bro hug, handshake, or full on bear hug the commissioner. The Ginger Hammer and how you give him his dap is serious business.
  • Example 2: Jonathan Newsome won’t have to make the (in my opinion) most important decision of whether to go flat bill or curved bill on his draft cap. Admittedly, I’m #TeamCurvedBill but I’ve seen enough Louisville fans to know that the flat bill is a thing and only growing.
  • Example 3: Willie Snead will not have to choose his walk up music. There’s been an unconfirmed rumor that Willie was to the point of drawing straws to determine whether it would be Meek Mill, Drake, or The Wiggles.

So that leaves all of us in a precarious position of hope for the Cardinals for today. Rounds 4, 5, 6, and 7 all take place with 156 selections to go before this draft is in the books and the New York Jets fan can go home and put their booing to better use in their personal life. “Honey, would you like meatloaf for dinner?” “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” God, what a bunch of assholes. But even they wouldn’t boo haikus. Because they’re awesome.

NFL draft day
Lots of MACtion happening
Mel Kiper not happy

Ball State still waiting
To hear the first player called
Hurry up douchebags

Keith still on big board
Jordan Lynch still unemployed
So not all bad news

Bridgewater to Vikes
They question his tiny hands
Those guys are the worst

Manziel to Cleveland
Finally a savior comes
Will tear ACL

Draft action starts at noon today on ESPN and the NFL Network. I’d watch it if you have the chance. And let’s be honest, you do.

College Quarterbacks Poised to Break Out

Trevor KnightQuarterback. It’s arguably the most important position in all of sports to get right, and a team’s fortunes can be made by finding ‘the one.’ However, that is no easy task. We’ve all heard the big names, and it will be no surprise to anyone if next winter Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota or Bryce Petty is walking up onto the stage to collect the Heisman Trophy.

The most talented college quarterbacks are household names over the entire country, and opposing defences fear them. Aside from the big names, there is always a Johnny Manziel in 2012, or a Jameis Winston in 2013 who becomes a superstar, and the 2014 college football season will be no different, so who can we expect to take the next step to become one of the true elite college QBs.

Dylan Thompson, South Carolina: Despite continuous success with the Gamecocks, coach Steve Spurrier had never really found a trustworthy QB until Connor Shaw, now departed for the NFL. Thompson will step into the starting role having experienced playing time alongside Shaw, and could be set to make an instant impact.

Trevor Knight, Oklahoma: Knight had a rather disappointing 2013 season, until he went ballistic on Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, throwing for 348 yards and 4 TDs against a defense packed with NFL talent. The Sooners may have found themselves a future star.

Kyle Allen, Texas A&M: The 5 star true freshman QB is locked in a battle to replace departed legend Johnny Manziel, no easy task in itself. However, Allen comes to A&M with huge talent, and if he can beat out Kenny Hill for the starting job and turn that talent into productivity, could leave the 12th man asking “Johnny who?”

Malik Zaire, Notre Dame: Despite the return of experienced QB Everett Golson, Zaire had a huge spring and has created a genuine QB battle. If his upside can win the job, he could be poised to break out and become the next big Fighting Irish quarterback.

Hutson Mason, Georgia: Following a similar theme to Kyle Allen at A&M, Mason has some huge shoes to fill after the departure of the legendary Aaron Murray. However, he is surrounded by talent and showed he could play in the Bulldogs’ spring game.

Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati: Somewhat of a forgotten man, the former Notre Dame transfer sat out last season, and his potential could be enough to hurdle him over experienced QB Brendan Kay. There is no doubting that the former 5 star recruit has the talent to make a huge impact on the Bearcats.

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