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Football Completes 2015 Non Conference Schedule

BSULogoIf you’re a loyal OTPcast listener, you know that one of the things Jason and I have been worried about was the completion of the 2015 out of conference schedule. It was getting to be a tall task to find an opponent with a hole we found worthy of filling, and today that hole was announced by the Cardinals as the one belonging to Georgia State, whom the Cards will play in Scheumann Stadium on October 17 and in the Georgia Dome in 2016.

You might not know much about Georgia State, but they were founded in 2010 and last season was the first they were eligible for the post season. That eligibility was a moot point as the Panthers went 1-11 after an 0-12 2013. Their lone victory as an FBS school? South Alabama. On paper, this is a game that seems to match an established program with one in the infancy stages with very little success and very little connection. However, the connections between the Cards and Georgia State are there. Their head coach, Trent Miles, was the former coach at Indiana State. Former Ball Stater Ben Jacoby also finished his career at Georgia State after transferring after two years in Muncie.

It’s really an ideal solution for the Cardinals given their scheduling needs and the team’s need for some Ws to get back to post-season play. To do both of those things with (as Ben Breiner pointed out) the ability to recruit the south with a Georgia Dome appearance on the horizon is big. What’s also big is in honor of this new opponent, any new season ticket order comes with a crate of Georgia peaches. Come for the football, stay for the fruit.

Softball Splits Saturday at Tiger Invitational

Other StuffMaybe some of you are celebrating your Valentine’s Day by watching 50 Shades of Grey or some other way to enjoy your significant other’s company. Maybe a good number of you are single. Maybe you’re longing for some sports. Maybe you need some BSU sports fix, and you need it right now. If so, you should perhaps see someone about that addiction. That may be serious.

However, get it fed all the same, because your Cardinal softballers split their Saturday in Alabama against Mercer and Winthrop in the invitational hosted by Auburn. Chirp chirp on the plains? Get it on. The Cards dropped the opening contests in Auburn on Friday to Georgia State and Auburn, the latter a 12-1 loss in 5 innings. Auburn is ranked 17th in the country, just so you’re aware. Saturday was a new day with Mercer and Winthrop on the horizon.

To the BSU release!

The Ball State softball team celebrated Valentine’s Day with a Saturday split at the Tiger Invitational hosted by No. 17 Auburn. The Cardinals opened the day with a 9-1 (5 inn.) win over Mercer, before falling to Winthrop by a score of 10-1 (5 inn.).

Ball State (4-4) concludes play in the three-day Tiger Invitational Sunday, with a scheduled 10:45 a.m. ET / 9:45 a.m. CT first pitch versus Eastern Illinois.

In the opening game of the day, the Cardinals faced a pair of familiar faces on the Mercer (5-3) bench in co-head coach Stephaine DeFeo and pitching coach Kim Mazzapica. DeFeo was an assistant coach at Ball State for six seasons (2007-12) and helped guide the Cardinals to three Mid-American Conference regular season championships.

Mazzapica was a four-year letterwinner (2009-12) and three-time conference champion for the Cardinals as a pitcher and finished her career ranked sixth in program history with 33 career pitching wins. Mazzapica was also a volunteer coach for Ball State in 2013, helping guide the Cardinals to another conference title.

Senior catcher Jessica Craft (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte) led the Cardinals versus Mercer, collecting three hits, including a solo home run. She also posted a RBI single in the seventh. Reyna finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBI on a two-run homer and a RBI double.

In the second game, Winthrop (4-4) held Ball State to just two hits over the five-inning game, with sophomore center fielder Taylor Cooley (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea) logging her first career hit in the loss.

GAME ONE RECAP: Ball State 9, Mercer 1 in Five Innings
Long ball was the name of the game versus Mercer, as the Cardinals scored their first six runs via the home run on the way to a 9-1 (5 inn.) victory.

Craft was the first to go yard, as her first home run of the season gave Ball State a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Junior second baseman Emily Dabkowski (Plainfield, Ind./South Putnam) followed with a three-run blast in the top of the third, extending the Cardinals advantage to 4-0. Sophomore third baseman Amanda Arnett (Monroe, Mich./Monroe) and sophomore center fielder India Steward (Matteson, Ill./Rich South/Western Kentucky) scored on the blast after reaching base via a triple and fielder’s choice, respectively.

Junior shortstop Selena Reyna (Houston, Texas/South Houston) extended Ball State’s lead to 6-0 in the top of the fourth with her first homer of the season. The two-run blast also drove in Craft who opened the inning with an infield single.

The Cardinals added three more runs in the top of the fifth, pushing its advantage to 9-0. With one out, Dabkowski and senior left fielder Hanne Stuedemann (Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan) drew back-to-back walks. After a double steal, Craft came through with a RBI single to drive in the first run of the inning. Cowger followed with sacrifice fly to left to give Ball State an 8-0 lead. Reyna then drove in Ball State’s final run of the game with a RBI double to center field.

Mercer scored its first and only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, on a one-out RBI groundout to the pitcher.

Junior Nicole Steinbach (Merrillville, Ind./Andrean) picked up the win in the circle, limiting the Bears to five hits and one unearned run over 5.0 innings of work. She also struck out six batters in the contest, while yielding just one walk.

For the game, the Cardinals scored nine runs on seven hits with one error. Mercer tallied one run on five hits with no errors.

GAME TWO RECAP: Winthrop 10, Ball State 1 in 5 Inn.
After a strong offensive showing in the opener, the Cardinals’ bats fell silent in a 10-1 (5 inn.) loss to Winthrop (4-4) in Saturday’s finale.

With the Eagles clinging to a 1-0 lead after three innings, the visitors struck for five runs in the fourth and four runs in the fifth to pull ahead 10-0.

The Cardinals got their lone run of the game in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a RBI groundout from Cowger. Senior center fielder Loren Cihlar (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) scored on the play after reached base on an error to open the inning, advancing to second on a Dabkowski walk and moving to third on a Stuedemann groundout.

Overall, the Cardinals scored one run on two hits with one error in the contest. Winthrop posted 10 runs on nine hits with three errors.

We’ll have more tomorrow on softball’s adventures in Alabama along with baseball’s opening season tourney in NC on Sunday. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day!

OTPcast 6.23

OTP Cast Logo200This podcast, that ice cold
Michelle Pfeiffer, that white gold
This one for them Card fans
Them BSU folks straight masterpieces
Stylin’, whilen, livin’ it up in Muncie
Got dri fit on with Saint Laurent
Got kiss myself, I’m so pretty

We’re too hot (hot damn)
Called a police and a fireman
We’re too hot (hot damn)
Made Jo Ann Gora retire man
We’re too hot (hot damn)
Download our cast you know who I am
I’m too hot (hot damn)
And Brew ’bout that money, break it down

Big news on this week’s OTPcast, like Quake to the Combine, the Spring Game, BSU recruiting, and filling the hole on the schedule. Jason and Alan walk you back to the Super Bowl and the commercials, Jason’s dip bonanza, and the guys tell you the downfalls of watching 50 Shades of Grey. Get your wet noodles and railroad spikes ready. 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…

OTPcast 6.22

OTP Cast Logo200Return of the Edge,
Once again,
Return of the Edge,
Top of the world,
Return of the Edge,
Watch my flow,
You knew that he’d be back,
Here we go.

So, he’s back up in the ‘cast,
(Votin’ on the Food Madness game),
Lettin’ all the people know,
That he’s guestin’ on the show,
Cause what they didn’t know was wrong,
And all the eatin’ that we’ve done,
So, baby, listen carefully,
While he sings his comeback song.

Alan and Jason are back to tell you about Ball State’s newly elected leadership council, the hole in the schedule, and who may fill it, as well as Ohio State’s playoff victory and the college football universe going head to head with the NFL in 2015. The guys close it out by welcoming back former OTPcast co-host Edge for the OTP Fast Food Bracket challenge, which will determine where the OTP team eats for the next year. 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…

Ball State Sunday News and Notes, The Royal Rumble Edition


A BSU Royal Rumble? All my money would be on Sean Baker.

It’s Royal Rumble night at OTP Manor and the one night of the year when friends and folks gather to throwback behavior and passions to a simpler time when all we cared about was getting the newest Trapper Keepers or what was going to happen on the next GI Joe. If you listen to the OTPcast, you know that Jason calls fans of professional wrestling “booger eaters” and the “lowest common denominator” of society. I can say with absolute certainty I don’t eat anything from my nose and there’s bound to be lower forms of existence than getting together with several buddies, drinking too much beer, and tossing out 80s catchphrases from our favorite wrestlers gone by.

I did get to thinking though that if BSU athletics had a Royal Rumble, I’m not sure who I would put as the favorite. If we limited it to current athletes only, I’d say Nick Miles would be my selection. If we open it up to alumni, I’d have to go with Sean Baker. The Souleater knows no quit, and he would be damn near impossible to eliminate. Jason Whitlock would be up there as well, as Rashiki was a real pain in the ass to dump over the top rope too. I’d watch.

Should a Cardinal Royal Rumble ever exist, and I nominate myself and Chris Ulm to coordinate, the amount of funds raised would be HUGE. And speaking of huge funds raised, the Cardinal Commitment Campaign has surpassed its goal of $20M by $600k. While I’d like to say I’m taking some of the credit because of stories we ran, segments on the OTPcast we did, or the fact that a fraternity brother was the chair of the campaign, ALL the credit should go to Cardinal nation for stepping up and putting their money where their mouth is in relation to overall program success. For a lot of years, I’ve heard fans of multiple sports bemoan the lack of champagne results while through a lack of support forcing the U to operate athletics on a beer budget, so it is awesome that friends of the feather stepped up and made this happen.

Some other news from around the Nest…

NewsNotesLogoThe men’s basketball team lost a conference home game to Kent State on Saturday to drop them to 7-10 on the season and 2-4 in the MAC. I am by no means an expert on MAC basketball and frankly, haven’t been exceptionally well versed about BSU’s basketball program since the days of Ray McCallum and Tim Buckley, but it seems like the Coach Whitford era in Muncie perhaps had an even lower starting point than people thought. It appears to my exceptionally untrained eye that this may be yet another in the “prepping for next year” train of experiential learning. Perhaps we can sneak Brian Burns, Theron Smith, Petey Jackson and Matt McCollum back for a few games. I doubt anyone would notice. Right?

NewsNotesLogoThe women’s basketball team also fell on Saturday in their home contest against MAC East leader Ohio 60-53. The Cards sit at 9-9 overall and 5-2 in MAC play, so there is not only a ton of season left, there’s also well-placed belief that the Cards are capable of a post-season appearance and/or run. So that’s some good in an otherwise pretty suck BSU athletics news.

NewsNotesLogoIn what’s more negative news but sprinkled with at least a little bit of optimism, the Cardinals gymnastics squad did lose their MAC opener to CMU, but did score a season high total score in the process. They also set season-high event scores on the vault, the floor exercise, and the bars. I set some high scores in bars at my time at BSU, but I’m fairly positive that this score isn’t about Golden Tee. The Gym Cards are back in action Feb 2 when they travel to Southern Utah.

NewsNotesLogoWomen’s tennis also lost on Saturday, a home contest against Wright State 4-3. Nos. 1 and 2 singles, Courtney Wild and Bethany Moore both picked up wins and are both 2-0 on the season. Well done! Collegiate tennis doesn’t get a ton of publicity or eyes, but it’s really enjoyable. I’d strongly suggest you check out a match if you can. On the men’s side of the tennis ledger, the men’s team dropped two matches to Wisconsin-Green Bay and Illinois this weekend, but Lucas Anderson/Patrick Elliott and Ray Leonard/Andrew Stutz won 1 and 2 doubles respectively, and Anderson won #2 singles. Someone will at some point have to explain to me how collegiate tennis is scored, as it appears 8 matches were completed, but only 7 points were awarded between BSU and UW-GB. Math on a Sunday, or any day really, is not my strongest suit.

NewsNotesLogoIn case you were unaware, it’s men’s volleyball season and your Cardinals have started 2015 with quite the bang, losing only their first match of the season on Friday at Harvard, and rising to #14 in the national rankings. Admittedly, I know nothing about volleyball other than the volleyball players I lived behind in grad school were fun to hang out with. However, even with limited knowledge I can assume that the aura of Harvard carries over to their volleyball team. I would imagine it’s a whole court full of Winklevoss twins, and those guys were yutzes. The Cards did rebound on Saturday and sweep Sacred Heart, so the victory train is rolling once again. Toot chirpin’ toot, indeed. You can catch the Cardinal volleyballers in conference action at Worthen Arena on Friday against Quincy.

NewsNotesLogoIn continuing good Cardinal news, the women’s swimming and diving team got the win Friday against Milwaukee 128-114. Along the way of the double dual meet, the Cardinals posted 14 top three finishes and four event wins. Ever since we had Friend of the Pylon and coach Nick Gayes on, we’ve had a special place in our heart for the Pool Cards. The final women’s swimming and diving home match of the season was Saturday against Miami, a 186-111 win for the Red Hawks.

So, some ups, some downs, but some giant news about improving the infrastructure of Cardinal athletics and the experience of student athletes on campus. Today, much like yesterday was and tomorrow will be, is still a great day to be a Cardinal!

Ball State Football Announces Awards at Postseason Banquet

BSULogoWhen I was younger and actually played sports rather than blogging about them in an attempt to escape the soul crushing reality of working for a living, the postseason banquet was always one of the best things about the season. There were trophies, a good meal, the coaches did something other than scream their ass off about the mistakes you made, and really the toil and effort from the season seemed to be worth it regardless of the outcome of the season record. (That’s a good lesson for the Colts today too, and I hope Chuck Pagano has orange slices and ribbons for all his guys)

On Sunday, the Ball State football team officially put a wrap on their 2014 campaign with their own version of a fancy dinner at Ryan’s Steak House by hosting the annual Honors Banquet at the Horizon Convention Center in beautiful downtown Muncie. Aside from gathering this group of young men and Cardinals together for what is more likely than not the last time (which is a bit sad in and of itself) there was a plethora of hardware handed out as well:

  • John Magnabosco Award (Team MVP): Jahwan Edwards
  • John Hodge Award (Most Valuable Freshman): Corey Lacanaria & Dedrick Cromartie
  • Bill Reynolds Special Teams Award: Scott Secor
  • Gene Booker Academic Award: Taylor Hoke
  • Mark Hays Inspiration Award: Brian Jones
  • Paul Schudel Strength & Conditioning Award: Nick Miles
  • Bill Meitzler Scout Team Player of the Year: David Morrison & Joshua Posley
  • Dave McClain Leadership Award: Jacob Richard
  • Ray Louthen Award (Most Improved): Dylan Curry

I’d say there are approximately zero surprises in the above. Quake as the MVP, Secor as the Special Teams MVP, and Lacanaria and Cromartie as newcomers of the year were how I would have voted it as well. I can’t speak for the weightlifting and conditioning prowess of Nick Miles but I won’t question his award largely because he looks like he could deadlift a Smartcar and I’d like to see my kids grow up. The rest I’ll just take the staff’s word on.

There was also a new award given out, the 12th Man Award, presented to Ball State’s deputy AD Pat Quinn. Quinn’s career at BSU is long and distinguished, ranging from a remarkably successful tenure as the baseball coach and now a fruitful 20 years in compliance and administration. Quinn spoke to one of my grad school classes about athletic administration and he was informative and engaging along with incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about his field. When good professionals and better people get deserved recognition that’s a good thing. Congrats to Pat and all the award winners!

OTPcast 6.21

OTP Cast Logo200Your final post for this work week is the special edition OTPcast recorded live when Mark Sandy was introduced as the new Ball State Athletic Director last week. In true OTP fashion, there were some major technical difficulties that made publishing this things a real pain in the derrier. So witty song lyrics rebranded to be about Ball State have been replaced with this and an explanation as to why this OMG BREAKING! OTPcast isn’t quite so OMG BREAKING! tonight. But it’s still awesome all the same.

In this episode, Jason and Alan are back with a special ADcast to welcome Mark Sandy and toot the Pylon’s horn for breaking the story. The guys break down the press conference and thoughts on Sandy along with some priorities they hope he addresses. Finally, the guys introduce the new OTPHotline, where you the listener can call in and voice your thoughts on Cardinal athletics. It’s an OTPcast that’s 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. Leave us a rating on iTunes if you like what you hear! Enjoy…

Lines Moving for Upcoming March Madness on Sportbet.com

Ball State HoopsCollege football is over and the NFL is winding down, but that doesn’t mean your eyeballs won’t have plenty of sport to feast on over the next few weeks. It’s conference season for your favorite college basketball teams, and we are roughly 6 weeks away from the greatest two days in sports, the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament. If you’re like me, you’re going to take off work, camp out at home or your local watering hole, and hunker down for wall to wall basketball for roughly 12 hours a day. If you’re like Jason, you’re going to build up a bankroll for those two days specifically for your entertainment wagering options. Incidentally, if you are of that persuasion, you can read more about the latest NCAA Basketball news at Sportbet. Spoiler alert: Much to Alan’s enjoyment, Kentucky is really good this year.

The Wildcats are actually less than even money to win the title. For those unfamiliar with sports betting about future events, the number you see with a + means that’s how much a $100 bet will win you. Take for example, Alan’s nemesis the Louisville Cardinals. At +2200, a $100 bet would win you your original stake ($100) and the $2200 on top of it. A negative number would be what you have to stake to win $100. In Kentucky’s case, you’d need to stake $110 to then win $100 on top of it, a total return of $210. It’s absurd that a team has a negative stake at this point in the season no matter how good they are.

In case you were curious, the Hoop Cards aren’t even listed. The highest longshot for the NCAA title is +50000 (or a $50,000 profit on a $100 stake) so the Cardinals odds are longer than that, assuming you can even find a casino to make that bet. I’d be willing to wager that you could convince Steve Wynn to give you his house, the casino, and a velvet painting of Ronnie Thompson tongue kissing Jason Whitlock against a $10 stake. Currently the Cards are 7-7 and 2-1 in the MAC so they aren’t last. They’re also tied for the lead (with three other teams) for the MAC West, so I suppose anything is possible. MACsketball is weird.

Ball State 2015 Schedule Taking Shape

MACThough it’s January, there’s still football in the air as the Mid American Conference announced which of their MAC brethren the Cardinals will take on in 2015. Ball State will host Central Michigan, Toledo, Massachusetts and Bowling Green, while playing at Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Ohio.  Dates for the 2015 league schedule will be announced at a later time. Get yourself ready for payback, UMass.

The Cardinals’ non-conference slate is set to start Sept. 5 at home vs. VMI.  Ball State still needs to add one non-conference tilt, but will play at Texas A&M Sept. 12 and at Northwestern Sept. 26. As for the final non-conference game, it’s anyone’s guess at this point. My hope is a home game against an FBS school, but that’s going to be hard to do on such short notice. Selfishly, there’s a gap in the home schedule for the University of Kentucky next fall thanks to UAB shuttering its doors, but I doubt either party would be exceptionally jazzed about playing that game.

The rumor of the month so far is that Ball State was going to fill out their schedule by playing at Florida State. Number one, FSU doesn’t need another game as their schedule as full. Number two, I’d be not ok with playing three FBS games all on the road. Number three, we are already going to be witness to a curbstomping when A&M opens their new stadium, so let’s try not be a MACrificial lamb in Tallahassee, mmmkay?

Pending 2015 NFL Draft

nfl-logoThe offseason has arrived for all but four NFL teams, and most are seeking to obtain more power and finesse to their band of players. April will be here before we know it, and the pending 2015 NFL Draft projection highlights the top priorities for the teams. The best options for the 32 first-round picks have analysts weighing pro and cons for players and teams.

The top pick for Tampa Bay would be Quarterback Jameis Winston of Florida State. Tampa took a chance and failed with Josh McCown, and with Winston’s place in the 2015 draft, he will be considered alongside Marcus Mariota of Oregon, who may have less efficiency in quickly navigating the field. Whereas Mariota makes more effective and intelligent passes, Winston has accuracy and stamina well into his games. Tampa is in desperate need of a stronger offensive line and defensive back, but their quarterback strength is also weak, so Mariota and Winston should be high on their list.

The Tennessee Titans could also have their sights on Mariota, as they also need a good quarterback, but Randy Gregory of Nebraska might be a higher priority. Gregory has the potential to be one of the greatest pass-rushers in the league if the Titans can get a hold of him. The team has loads of holes to plug, including a stronger defensive back, pass rusher, and wide receiver.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are also in bad shape, and require an offensive line, cornerback, wide receiver, and running back. Leonard Floyd is not out of the question for them, as the linebacker could help stabilize the Jaguars’ defense. Floyd helped the Georgia Bulldogs as their top pass-rusher, with six sacks and 17 quarterback hurries. If he is still available once the draft gets underway, the Jaguars should pounce on him.

The Washington Redskins had a flop with quarterback Robert Griffin III, and could benefit from Mariota, despite his setbacks. With the Redskins’ DeSean Jackson, Alfred Morris, and Pierre Garcon, Mariota could quickly learn the ropes of good offense. The team also needs to amp-up their defensive back and pass rusher positions.

The New York Jets recently took on Todd Bowles as head coach, and may not need to focus entirely on defense, yet draft-pick Vic Beasley could be what the team needs in terms of edge pass-rushing. Speaking of pass-rushers, Shane Ray of Missouri should be attracting the attention of the Chicago Bears, who exhibited troublesome defense in the 2014 season. Both the Jets and the Bears need a superb quarterback and offensive line.

Edge-rushers abound in the top-10 draft picks, with the Atlanta Falcons eyeing Dante Fowler, Jr. of Florida. He is tall and solidly built, and showed his swiftness and power in the 2014 college football season. Fowler is one part of the puzzle as the team seeks to repair its tight end, offensive line, and defensive back as well.

As twenty-eight NFL teams keep their eyes on their favorite draft picks, the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, and Seattle Seahawks all vie for that Super Bowl trophy. Review the Super Bowl XLIX odds, picks, and betting analysis at betonsports.com


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