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The Official Ball State v. Texas A&M OTP Drinking Game

There seems to be an undercurrent through the Ball State fanbase that the Cardinals are in for tough sledding in College Station this weekend as they take on the Aggies of Texas A&M. Making the day-long drive to the Lonestar State to be amongst your Cardinal brethren? Well that’s wonderful for you. But if you aren’t going to the game and are looking for a way to enjoy some frosty beverages with Cardinal fans, then this drinking game should be right up your alley. Play it in a parking lot if you want the true tailgate experience. Let us know on Twitter how it goes with the hashtag #BSUDrink. Play responsible and all that jazz…

Drinking Game-2

Click to make bigger, print it out, tape it to the wall, go nuts.

Eat Like the Cardinals. On Second Thought, Don’t Do That

Ever wonder what football players eat to keep themselves in prime physical shape? I can tell you that based on personal results, it most certainly isn’t copious amounts of Bud Light and Taco Bell. That makes you a lot less college athlete and a lot more fat bastard, but I never had Dave Feeley telling me what to eat, how to eat, when to eat, and how to feel while doing it. And then banging out a 600 pound deadlift. THANKS A LOT, FEELEY.

BSU All Access dropped the below this week about the eating habits of your favorite football team. Enjoy…

Christ almighty, I bet with the fuel points on that order, they are paying the coaching staff to fill up. I also noticed a significant lack of pizza rolls, Pop Tarts, and bacon. College athletes have a hard life, man.

The OTP Dossier: Texas A&M

Aggie Mascot

Your Ball State Fighting Football Cardinals head down to the Lonestar State this weekend to break in Kyle Field and in the eyes of Aggie fans the world over, be the Macrificial Lamb for the grand opening of the newly renovated stadium. SEC opponents are not usually found girding their loins and daring to do battle with the Mighty MAC so it’s time we educate ourselves about the Texas A&M Aggies. Get to educatin’…

They’re Known as the Aggies
Aggies is apparently a colloquial term used for agricultural schools nation-wide, but Texas A&M is the Aggies that everyone knows. In much the same way rappers have reclaimed words that by definition are offensive, A&M has made Aggies less about hayseed bumpkins and more about dominant football teams. So they have that going for them, which is nice.

Their Mascot Isn’t Farm Related
How agricultural education and farmers relate to a dog, I’ll never know, but the pooch pictured above is A&M’s mascot, Reveille. They are now on Reveille IX (that’s 9 for the BSU people reading this) and I am quite positive that the dog lives better than 90% of the population. She also outranks all the cadets, and I can only hope she abuses that privilege by eating straight from the soft serve machine in the dining hall and pissing wherever she damn well pleases. Partly because she’s a dog. Partly because she owns the place.

If it’s Friday Night, it’s Yell Practice
A&M students gather at the football stadium the night before a home game to go over chants, cheers, and the like. We yell on Friday nights at BSU… in fraternity bedrooms! HI-O!!! I’ll go ahead and see myself out.

Speaking of Scoring…
It’s also tradition that whenever the Aggies score, if you’ve brought a date to the game you kiss them. If you’re single you hold up a lighter so single people can find each other. If all it takes is football points for an A&M student to get some lovin’, I have two thoughts:

  1. My guidance counselor completely dropped the ball in my college search.
  2. Never hire Stan Parrish to be the head coach at Texas A&M. Your students will be kissing less than that time they tried 6 minutes in heaven at the TB hospital.

There is a Mandatory Break to Appreciate Texas
Ever talk to someone from Texas? They let you know they are from Texas. They let you know they love Texas. They encourage you to love Texas as well. As such, at the first television timeout of the third quarter, there is a brief pause where the crowd in attendance takes a moment to appreciate all things Texas. Fans are encouraged to:

  • Voice discontent about the state of the country and how it is going to hell in a handbag
  • Celebrate any 6-inch or larger permed hair style in their general vicinity
  • Remind everyone within earshot that everything is bigger in Texas
  • Ask who the greatest baseball player in the history of baseball was. If they don’t respond with Nolan Ryan, punch them right in their suckhole.

Respect their traditions. We’re guests, after all.

Why Texas A&M Shouldn’t Worry Ball State Fans At All

The new Kyle Field, which is nice, I guess, if you're into brand new awesome stadiums.

The new Kyle Field, which is nice, I guess, if you’re into brand new awesome stadiums.

Remember in high school when you were totally and completely enamored with a fellow student of the female persuasion? In your eyes, she was perfect. Long flowing locks, mesmerizing tranquil eyes, and a personality that made you want to be a better man. You probably got nervous around her. She’d walk by, maybe even speak to you, and immediately your palms would start to sweat, the hair on your neck stood up, your mouth got dry, and you just stood there like a nervous, sweaty-palmed, hairy neck yoyo while she tooted on down the hallway.

In some respects, the same could be said for Texas A&M as Ball State fans read up on the next opponent for the Cardinals. The Aggies are the belle of the ball from week one, absolutely manhandling Arizona State and going from unranked to #16. The Aggies are opening up a new stadium, which could fit approximately five capacity Scheumann Stadium crowds. They will have a loud and boisterous crowd, a robust tailgate situation, a two-deep littered with 5 star (out of high school) recruits, and a coach that has been on a meteoric ride to the top of his profession. Are your palms sweaty yet? That hair on your neck standing up, Teen Wolf?

Let me let you in on a little secret. A&M is good, yes. They could be great. But you know, they are human just like the rest of us. They piss on the toilet seat and consider not cleaning it off just like you and me. I hope someone has shared that with the team. I hope someone has also shared some Clorox wipes for the locker room if that’s the case. But it’s also important for the fans to remember. A&M and their inherent mortality is quite like the aforementioned chick from high school, who ended up not being all that perfect after all. Sweaty palms aren’t a thing when you find out she’s slinging chunked and smothered hash browns at a Waffle House and probably giving out handies behind the dumpster.

1-0 is 1-0: The Good, Bad, and Ugly for BSU vs VMI

Jordan Williams, always a star (Credit: BSU Photo Services)

Jordan Williams, always a star (Credit: BSU Photo Services)

If you’re new to the Pylon, you wouldn’t know that my mantra for any season-opener (when it isn’t Indiana University) is no injuries, get the win. So for that, Ball State’s 48-36 victory over VMI last night was a roaring success. The Cardinals did in fact get the win and they are not in fact a walking wounded unit to show for it. In the words of Borat, “Great success!”. You’d be hard pressed, however, to find any Cardinal faithful who walks away from last night’s win with more answers than questions about the 2015 season.

To deal with the bad first, there were stretches of play last night where the Cardinals did not look like a team that would go .500. Play calling was suspect, defensive front-line pressure was almost there but in no way good enough to compete at an FBS level, the secondary got burned on several plays, and the offensive line failed to absolutely manhandle a significantly smaller and less experienced VMI defensive front seven as was expected. Many times under pressure, Jack Milas looked overwhelmed and under-skilled to compete at a championship caliber level in the Mid American Conference.

But let’s say you like your glass half-full and choose to focus on the good. You’d definitely begin your “good” with Darian Green, who ties a school record with four TDs (three rushing, one receiving) and showed what the future of BSU special teams is going to look like. You’d probably want to mention the cast of Cardinal running backs with Green, Teddy Williamson, and James Gilbert, any one of whom would be a starter at most other programs. You’d want to focus on an offense that set the ninth highest total output in school history with a QB making just his 7th collegiate start. Speaking of Milas, he set career records for attempts, completions, and yards and avoided being sacked all night. You’d also want to make note of a defensive unit that despite new faces and an unknown offensive opposition were able to create turnovers that led directly to a BSU touchdown, and also created a sizable amount of havoc in the backfield for VMI, even if those busted plays ended up positively. You’d also want to notice Kyle Schmidt, who put all four of his punts inside the 20, flipping the field for the Cardinals.

In truth, there was no ugly in last night’s game. The new turf looked sharp, the new helmets looked camouflage-y, and even the fans in attendance, of which VMI had plenty, looked energetic and excited to be there, clearing the 10,000 mark in attendance.

So what do we take away from last night’s opener for next week’s showdown in College Station, Texas against the Texas A&M Aggies? I guess like all things in life, that depends on your perspective…

The Positive Approach: CPL and the staff kept things pedestrian and vanilla in order to lull the Aggies into a misplaced sense of confidence against a little ol’ MAC school that got played close by an FCS team. It’s the home-opener at the new Kyle Field, and the Aggies will be fat dumb and happy, drunk off pregame festivities and fan-lauding as 102,000+ people will cram into the new facility to cheer their gladiators on to victory. JOKE’S ON YOU, TEXAS PEOPLE. Milas and the offense were just playing opossum as they romp and stomp through the Lonestar State to 2-0. Jordan Williams leaves fans in mouth-agape shock, children in tears, and the A&M dog mascot pissing on the cheer captains. CPL is offered a contract immediately to a host of other SEC schools, he chuckles, rips it up, and kisses Kevin Sumlin’s wife square on the lips and doesn’t apologize. It’s good to be a Cardinal fan.

The Negative Approach: Last night was the new normal. The offense is anemic, the defense is incompetent, the special teams not special at all, and they’ll be lucky to win two games. Pete Lembo? More like Pete NotGonnaWinMuchThisYearbo. The playcalling was trash and Joey Lynch needs to be fired, his diploma revoked, his pictures taken off the walls in the football complex. Scrap his dad’s records too while we’re at it.  Kevin Kelly couldn’t coordinate his way out of a piss-soaked paper sack and the new helmets look like they were a giveaway from a public television annual fundraiser gone wrong. The sky is falling, Trump is ahead in the polls, and A&M is going to beat our bitch asses blue. We might as well save the money on travel and just forfeit. Hell, might as well chuck in the towel for the rest of the games, too.

Either way, the Cards are 1-0 on the season and beat the FCS team on the schedule. That hasn’t always been the case in some recent years. Was it perfect? Nope. Was it a W? Yep. And frankly, that was the goal for last night, good, bad, or otherwise.

Some Thoughts on Gameday, Why Some Media Are the Worst

Pete wears his sunglasses at night, so he can, so he can.

Pete wears his sunglasses at night, so he can, so he can.

Remember that long stretch of time from January to August known as the offseason? Yeah… that’s thankfully over. Tonight at 7, your Ball State Cardinals take the field at Scheumann Stadium for the opening salvo in the 2015 campaign, heretofore known as “The Greatest Show on Turf”. The Cards’ opponent, FCS member and 2014 Southern Conference cellar-dwellar Virginia Military Institute, in theory (and in relative practice, as well) is overmatched, outgunned, and over their heads. It’s not fandom. It’s science. The opener is the great unknown but let’s look at some facts..

  • BSU is a significantly older and more experienced team than 2014, a team that started rough and ended strong.
  • Jack Milas has had all winter, all spring, all summer, and all fall camp to come to grips with the fact that this is his team. As Milas goes, so goes the Cardinals as is the case with most MAC schools and their QB.
  • The skill positions are deep and talented, perhaps more so than any other time in the Lembo era.
  • The defense, much maligned in 2014 after the successful showing in the season-opener, has had a year in the Kevin Kelly system. Secondary depth is a concern, but it’s not a worry. Yet.
  • Last I checked, Pete Lembo is still on the sidelines in Muncie. As has become the corporate motto around these parts, In Lembo We Trust.

Of course most of the above seems to be missed by the people “in the know”. They have cited things like the new staff at VMI having some tricks up their sleeves, BSU’s loss to Indiana State last year, and apparently watching a different 2014 season than I was as they use words like “disappointing” or “letdown” to evaluate the Cardinals’ 2014 campaign. God, most media are the absolute worst. If it wasn’t for Ben Breiner or Tom Davis, I’d have to start Rock Bottoming people in the Scheumann Media Center.

I could tell you that VMI isn’t Indiana State as the chip on their shoulder isn’t boulder-sized. I could reference the above 5 points as reason to not cower in a puddle of our own peepee about the mighty VMI Keydets. I could explain how 5-7 last year, given some of the issues that the 2014 Cardinals were undertaking in staff turnover, player attrition, and talent loss to the NFL was somewhere between exactly what I expected and better than, but all that would be a waste of air for “media” who apparently have nothing better to do than listen to their own lips flap in the breeze as they spew forth opinions that aren’t worth the Charmin extra soft they wipe their bottoms with.

It’s become plain to me that in accepting a new role in the job that actually pays the bills, our Cardinal coverage has suffered and allowed for the signal to get clouded by the noise. Now that it is fall, now that I’ve moved, now that I’m back, that will no longer be an issue. For the media and other sites who thought that that was an opportunity to elbow their way in to the adult table, play time is over and your fifteen minutes are up. Hope you enjoyed your stay.

OTP Pick:
VMI 17
BSU 41

Ball State Gets New Helmets

For years I’ve said numerous things about my alma mater. I’ve called it “The Harvard of the Midwest”, the “Harvard of Indiana”, “The Harvard of East Central Indiana”, and “The Harvard of Delaware County”. Maybe I was looking at schools too far east, as Ball State and more importantly for this site, the football program, has laid claim to be “The Oregon of the MAC” with some new alternate helmet designs. To the YouTubes…

Do you know why this is awesome? First of all, the helmets look sharp and they aren’t gaudy. Remember when IU football unveiled their new helmets? Yeah, me too. The amount of celebration and britches-messin’ that happened over shoddy designs and Indiana flag helmets made me want to grab the nearest sharp object and jam it into one of numerous orifices. More important than that, though, is that this catches the Cards up with other programs and speaks to the overarching theme that there are numerous pieces of evidence that the program has some money heading its way from the institution.

The .edu crowd (to borrow from Colin Cowherd) likes to make statements about the economics of football and how that money is wasted on boorish pursuits like football and sports in general, so investing in these instead of Bunson burners or test tubes probably pissed off some tweed sports coat wearing dude so that’s a nice little win-win.

The more things I can point to that shows that this university is equally as concerned about things that actually increase the national prominence of the institution no matter how bad the .edu crowd wishes that wasn’t the case makes me a happy guy. Kudos to the BSU equipment guys for making this a reality.

A Brief Update on Your Friends at the Pylon and the End of the Whitlock Feud

OTP Logo 200Well hello there, friends. How are you? Things good on your end? What’s that? You’re excited about the home opener in a couple weeks? Yeah, us too. Of course, you wouldn’t know that by looking around the place with our lack of smarmy posts, a severe absence of potty humor, and no real breakdowns of opposing players and their girlfriends to chuckle at. Sometimes, with a one-man show of awesome like OTP, things take a backseat to life.

It’s not a new thing, as it has happened before. But this time isn’t for medical reasons or bad things, it’s all good. A promotion for Fearless Leader and the move to a new home has made blogging in the recent history a bit of a struggle. Higher education employment in the summer is always chaotic, but a new job right around opening is what we in the business call a “nightmare”. It’s not a good excuse, but it is the reason why, and I am not at the point in my career where I can say to my pending promotion, “Damn the torpedoes! It’s blogging season!”. One day, friends. One day.

So where does that leave you, the reader? Hopefully with a thirst for some Pylon in your life. The guys at Hustle Belt do a fine job and Tom Davis and Ben Breiner kill it with their mainstream media coverage. Hell, Tom Davis uses Periscope now. (For the record: From all I can gather, the Spring Game OTP Pre-Show was the first BSU football event on there) I mention all that to say that while there are a ton of options to get your Cardinal news and notes, there is only one Over The Pylon.

We may have taken some time to catch our collective breath and get me moved into a delightful new OTP Manor, but that all ends now that we are weeks away from the season opener. What do you have in your future? The always stellar Cardinal Previews (with the always entertaining OTP Threat Meter), some killer drone footage that’s football related courtesy of your favorite Podcast co-host Jason Brewer, position commentary, opponent previews, MAC thoughts, and a ton of other things are all on your docket as we roll on through August.

It’s going to be a good month going forward and (in my opinion) a very successful season for your Fighting Football Cardinals. Perhaps the biggest omen for success comes in the form of the two biggest (size joke?) BSU fans finally burying the hatchet and coming to a détente of sorts. Friends of the Pylon know that Jason Whitlock and us have had our share of run ins throughout the history of this site. We interviewed JW and then things went south for a whole host of reasons. I was able to touch base with him over the summer and I think both of us are in a much better spot than we were. We’re still blocked on Twitter, but I am no longer worried about the potential brawl in the Scheumann Stadium press box that was always somewhat on the back of my mind. We’re still blocked by JW on Twitter, so if you’re not, feel free to pass on some good wishes from the Pylon.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, we are two weeks away from the opener and we have work to do. Go Cards.

Creating the Perfect Man Cave for the Football Season


Not that kind of cave

A man cave is an area where you can be yourself, either alone or with a couple of your absolute best friends. With no women allowed, it is an area where your favorite sport can air 24/7 if you like, and its sole purpose is to make you feel as relaxed as possible. As well as a top-quality TV, the only furnishings required will be chairs, a sofa, a table, and the accessories you need for your comfort and enjoyment.

Beginning with the decor, you will probably want to keep the walls of your man cave plain and dark so that the game can be showcased in all its glory. Thus, lights should be adjustable so you can dim them when you want to. The most important feature (and the one on which you will want to invest the most time and money) is the TV. Ideally, the man cave will be in the basement or a room or area of the house that is shut off from everybody else, free from outside interference.

The size and decor of the room will influence the size of the TV that you buy. Choose as big a screen as you can afford, or alternatively a high-quality projector screen, so you feel like you are actually in the game. It is recommended that if you are going to be seated about nine feet away, the TV screen should be 60, 65 or 70 inches, but you might want to choose a much larger screen. It really depends on the type of TV, as well as budget and personal choice. The acoustics are almost as important, so invest in the best surround system you can afford.

Your room must be warm enough in winter, cool enough in summer, and have adequate ventilation from at least one window, if possible. You need to be able to block out the light from windows and wooden shutters are perfect for this because they can be adjusted according to the angle of the sun. You will need to prevent glare and reflections from ruining your viewing experience. Shutters are neat, clean and neutral looking, easy to fit with no fussy tiebacks or curtain rails, and take up the minimal amount of space.

Easy to clean furniture and flooring, in case of spilled drinks, will need to be as comfortable as possible and you need to include enough seats to accommodate any guests you invite. You might also want a table and a means of putting your feet up, such as a footstool or an ottoman, which is also handy for storage. Add your gaming console and DVDs if you want to. The ultimate man cave will have a pool table, jukebox or even use old car parts to make quirky furnishings.

Finally, complete your man cave with gadgets, accessories and any other final touches. Decorate the walls with sports memorabilia, framed shirts, or vintage sport photographs. Add a fridge or cabinet for drinks, an espresso machine, your favorite snacks, and – of course – the best sports package available from your cable provider.

Jeremy Piven Wants Ball State News and Notes

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: Jeremy Piven attends the GQ Men of the Year awards at The Royal Opera House on September 3, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)Well hello there, friends. Doing well? What’s that? You were worried about us? Well bless your heart. Yes, it’s been a while since we blasted some Cardinal news all over you, but real life does sometimes take priority. Plus, it was the offseason. Throw in a promotion for me and a move, and blogging did take a bit of a backseat. But, it’s the end of July and that means football is right around the corner and time once again to fire up the OTP war wagon. Don’t worry you beautiful babies, we’ll never leave you again.

Today is a day for celebration and not just because we’re back. Oh no. It’s the day of birth of one Jeremy Piven. Name me another actor that is loved by such different sects of society for such different roles. The burnouts love him for PCU. The alpha bros love him for Ari Gold and Entourage. Your girlfriend loves him for Serendipity. You mom loves him for that weird British show on PBS. That’s what I call versatility. He turns 50 today. His hair plugs are much younger.

Part of why I don’t feel such crushing guilt about our hiatus is that news out of Muncie has been rather slow over the last month or so. There’s some news so let’s get to it, then let’s chat about what you have to look forward to mmmkay?

NewsNotesLogo Your football Cardinals open fall camp on August 5. We’ll have a complete schedule upcoming but in case you want to camp out and/or tailgate, plan ahead. Also, plan on catching the MAC’s Media Day on July 29 streamed on ESPN3. Jacob Richard, Darnell Smith, and CPL will be your BSU reps.

NewsNotesLogo The article posted on the site for the last month or so was that of Keith Wenning getting released from Baltimore. That’s old news as Wenning has since signed a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. There are four QBs on the Cincy roster, so there’s work to do, but Wenning has a shot. Plus he’s out of Baltimore. I used to live there. Keith should be glad he’s gone.

NewsNotesLogo Our Hoop Cards are heading to the Bahamas on August 3 for a five-day trip to bond, play some ball, and prepare for the coming season. Call me crazy, but I am very much looking forward to this basketball season and what it holds for BSU. Last season, Kentucky went to the Bahamas and then damn near went undefeated. Mark your calendars now for a BSU Final 4.

NewsNotesLogo In new head coach news, Megan Ciolli Bartlett has been named the new softball coach at BSU, replacing Tyra Perry. Let’s hope the Notre Dame grad can have the success of Perry.

NewsNotesLogo Ball State soccer coach Craig Roberts is leading the Haiti Under 17 team through the 2016 World Cup qualifying process. They are through the first round so get excited! #TeamHaiti

So that’s the high points of what’s been. What’s still ahead? Glad you asked. We’ve got game previews, some depth charting, opponent comedy, some killer drone footage… all in a days work for your faithful BSU athletics servants. Buckle up, kiddies, because fall is right around the corner and we’re coming in hot.


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