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FootballScoop Calls Ball State the Hottest Program in Football

logo200It’s not everyday a website other than OverThePylon lauds the Cardinals as one of the best in the business of college football. Making the rounds this morning is a report from FootballScoop.com about how win totals and their increase over the last four seasons would lead one to the conclusion that Ball State is, in fact, the hottest team in college football. The justification stems from the fact that in each of the prior four seasons BSU has increased their win total.

Most recently, the Cards put up ten Ws, an increase of one from the nine wins of 2012. The nine was an increase of three over 2011′s six, which was an increase of two over 2010′s four victories. 2010 was an increase of two over 2009′s four. I’ve not sure I’ve ever seen win totals or trends handled in this particular fashion, so it’s at least somewhat interesting, albeit not necessarily indicative of future success.

When you walk it back another season from three to four, the Cardinals are joined in the yearly increase camp by Bowling Green, Buffalo, and UCLA. So go MAC! There’s only four ways for the Cardinals to continue the Increase Journey, by winning either 11, 12, 13, or 14 games. For the highest total, that would require a MAC title, a bowl win, and an undefeated season, but in all truthfulness, any of the above would result in a MAC Championship, and I’d be A-ok with that.

You can check out the Football Scoop article here.

 

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Ball State Football 2014 Schedule Finalized

logo200The one remaining question about the 2014 Ball State football team was answered earlier this week as the Indiana State game was confirmed for September 13. The only thing left to do was have the MidAmerican Conference release their conference slate so fans could make travel plans, familial excuses, work requests off, etc. Today, that bullet point got crossed off as well and BALL STATE FOOTBALL HAS A COMPLETE 2014 SCHEDULE!

The good news? 6 home games. The more good news? A new crossover opponent from the MAC East appears in the UMass Minutemen who went 1-11 last season. The mediocre news? That game is on the road. The bad news? Also appearing is BG, the team that won the MAC last season by beating NIU in the MAC Championsip. The worse news? That game is also on the road, replacing Miami as the season closer, a game that may very well mean the difference between bowl eligibility and the Cardinals staying home for the holidays. So it’s a mixed bag of news but news this time of year of any sort is ultimately a positive because it means BSU football is not that far away.

Per BSU’s release on the matter:

The Mid-American Conference has announced the 2014 football schedule. Highlighting the Ball State portion of the slate will be the Oct. 11 Homecoming Game vs. Western Michigan and three weekday November games on the ESPN family of networks.

Ball State will appear on ESPN2 or ESPNU Nov. 5 vs. Northern Illinois and Nov. 12 at Massachusetts and on ESPNU or ESPN3 Nov. 28 at Bowling Green. The Cardinals’ contests are three of a total of 14 MAC games on the ESPN family of networks.

“We are excited to once again feature six home games at Scheumann Stadium,” Ball State head coach Pete Lembo says. “A balanced slate is one of our primary goals when formulating a schedule for each season. The Mid-American Conference opponents we face from the West Division are always a big challenge on a yearly basis. The crossover games from the MAC East promise to be equally formidable tests for our program next fall.”

The Cardinals will open MAC play Sept. 20 at Toledo and end the regular season Nov. 28 at Bowling Green. In between, Ball State will host Western Michigan, Akron, Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan.

The regular season will conclude with the 17th Marathon MAC Football Championship Game Friday, Dec. 5, at Ford Field in Detroit on ESPN2. This will mark the 11th Marathon MAC Football Championship Game at Ford Field, home of the National Football League’s Detroit Lions, Super Bowl XL and the 2009 NCAA Men’s Final Four.

The MAC is an NCAA Division I, 12-member conference that sponsors 23 championships and is one of 10 members of the Football Bowl Subdivison (FBS). With total enrollment of nearly 300,000 students, the league represents institutions of higher learning in Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Ohio.

Ball State’s complete 2014 football schedule:

Sat., Aug. 30 – COLGATE
Sat., Sept. 6 – at Iowa
Sat., Sept. 13 – INDIANA STATE
Sat., Sept. 20 – at Toledo *
Sat., Oct. 4 – at Army
Sat., Oct. 11 – WESTERN MICHIGAN *
Sat., Oct. 18 – at Central Michigan *
Sat., Oct. 25 – AKRON *
Wed., Nov. 5 – NORTHERN ILLINOIS * (8:00) — ESPN2/ESPNU
Wed., Nov. 12 – at Massachusetts * (8:00) — ESPN2/ESPNU
Sat., Nov. 22 – EASTERN MICHIGAN *
Fri., Nov. 28 – at Bowling Green * — ESPNU/ESPN3

OTPcast 5.25

OTP Cast Logo200When the volumes down,
they don’t know what they heard
Strike the match, play it loud,
giving BSU to the world
We’ll be praising our Cards,
shining up to the sky
Cause we got the fire, fire, fire,
yeah we got the fire fire fire

And we gonna let it burn burn burn burn
We gonna let it burn burn burn burn
Gonna let it burn burn burn burn
We gonna let it burn burn burn burn

Alan and Jason are back to break down the BSU Combine Three as Willie Snead, Jonathan Newsome, and Keith Wenning were out to impress in Indianapolis. They guys also welcome on very special guest Pat Boylan, former Voice of the Cardinals on WCRD to chat about his experiences in the world of broadcast journalism and play word association with your favorite media personalities. Of course, the guys also break down the most recent Bachelor. 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…

OTP’s Offseason Guide to Chirptastic Living

OTP Offseason Guide Logo 200It’s the offseason in BSU football land, spring athletics are just now firing up, and winter sports are still a bit away from their post season. As such, it’s time to pass on your OTP leadership’s recommendations on things you shouldn’t be living without. Between the folks that run this here site, our tastes and likes run the gamut. We pass that diversity in entertaining pursuits on to you in a little thing we like to call OTP’s Offseason Guide to Chirptastic Living, where you can take our word on things that you should promptly put in your possession. Enjoy…

Movie of the Week
HerAmazonMy selection for this week’s Movie of the Week in the Offseason Guide is perhaps the hardest one to explain that I could have chosen. As I was lauding it to people while it was in the theaters, if I didn’t do a fantastic job of explaining it, folks would fall somewhere on the continuum of “Oh… so it’s like tech porn?” to *blank stare* and at face value, I can understand either or all of those reactions when you tell someone the basic plot line of a movie is a man falling in love with an operating system. For Her to be explained that way is like explaining Heat being about a bank robbery. If you stop on step 1, you would be correct. But that’s ignoring myriad other steps which are all valuable, intriguing, and thought-provoking. To give away significant themes explored in the film would be to ruin some of the self-realization that I hope you find, so I’ll walk gingerly around the topic. Suffice to say, Her is at its most basic a personal study of paradoxes and how an antiquated old-fashioned feeling adapts and evolves in a highly evolved technologically savvy world. It’s one of the rare escapes in film that gives you a case of the feels, the wows, the sads, and the thinks all at the same time and all related ultimately to one another.

Book of the Week
Crash and Burn AmazonI am not ashamed to admit that I am a fan of Howard Stern. Anyone should know this when they hear the nickname I’ve dubbed Jason (Bababrewey). The Stern universe is an immense one, filled with Wack Packers, odd characters, and general nonsense that people like me pay around twenty bucks a month to Sirius satellite radio to enjoy. Even with all the ridiculousness, strippers, porn stars, and celebrities, there is perhaps no more fascinating a story than that of Artie Lange, the Sten show comedian who despite being paid handsomely well battled heroin and alcohol addiction to the tune of a suicide attempt and his removal from perhaps the greatest gig in comedy. Lange’s most-recent memoir, Crash and Burn, tells that story with gut wrenching honesty and a personal look at addiction and its demons. For Stern fans, it’s a behind the story look at a story that has colored the Sirius years for the Stern crew, and for those unfamiliar with it or Lange, it’s a chance to introduce yourself to a comedy genius who happens to have his fair share of baggage like the rest of us. Like some of the best autobiographies of celebrities, this one tells the story warts and all, and it’s a story that you’ll love from the introduction on through to the moment you take a lengthy exhale, close the cover, and wonder just how Artie made it as far and as high as he did.

Game of the Week
CardsAgainstHumanityAmazonIf someone tells you that board games or card games are not for adults, then they have been living under a rock for a while. I’ll grant you that standby favorites like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders are for a younger subset, there are a whole host of games for the inner child within the adult in all of us that is making this the golden age of adult games. We’ll be spotlighting some of these treasures in this space during the weekly Offseason Guide, but the first one comes hard and may very well be the belle of the ball. Cards Against Humanity was explained to me as a politically incorrect Apples to Apples. That’s perhaps the best way to describe it and if you’re an A2A player, no further explanation is needed. If you haven’t had the pleasure, picture friends and you sitting around, one person pulls a topic card, other players answer that topic with their own submission cards. That’s where people’s sarcasm, wit, and downright off-color humor can shine. Few rules, great cards, and a cult following make Cards Against Humanity the first OTP Game of the Week you should pick up. I wouldn’t play it with kids. I wouldn’t play it with your grandparents. I would play it with a group of friends who can sit back, laugh, enjoy a beverage or three, and not take life too seriously. Basically, the target market of this site.

Gadget of the Week
IceBallMoldAmazonThough not a gadget per se, it is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while and was brought to my attention by OTPcast co-host Jason, who is not traditionally known for his coolness but serves as living proof that even a blind squirrel can find a nut from time to time. I would count on Jason to bring me tidings of electronics or kitchen appliances, as those are his strongest forays, but his first contribution to the OTP Offseason Guide is an epically stellar one. If you are a person who enjoys a beverage of the distilled variety occasionally like your OTP leadership and you are using old school antiquated square ice cubes, then you are missing out on elevating your awesome by a substantial margin. We are subjects to old-fashioned ice cube geometry no longer thanks to the Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds. Fill the molds with water, let them freeze, then your booze gets poured over a perfectly round ice ball and then down your thirsty booze-hungry gullet. I can safely say after seeing Jason use these, my booze hasn’t seemed as cool as it normally does. Don’t believe me? Jason has proof of the freezing badassery that you end up with to lord over your friends with and show your booze who, in fact, is boss:

ice ball glass

For each of the above, you’ll notice that we’ve also included a purchase link to Amazon.com, a site where OTP is an affiliate. By purchasing through our links, you’ll give a small little kickback to the Pylon and help keep the site afloat. If you’d like to help the site in a free way, you should check out an Amazon Prime 30 Day Free Trial by clicking here. It’s a great opportunity for streaming video, free express shipping, and all sorts of other goodies.

Results for the Ball State NFL Combine Three

2014 nfl draftAdmittedly, our NFL knowledge at the Pylon is somewhat limited. Fearless Leader uses it as an excuse to day drink on fall Sundays. RV is a loyal Browns fan. Jason is a Colts homer. Suffice to say, Mike Mayock, we aren’t. However, for a few weeks in the spring, our college football fandom and Cardinal expertise intersects with the pay to play folks when the NFL Draft lead up begins.

This past weekend, it was the annual meat market known as the NFL Combine, where “amateurs” the nation over converge on Indy to participate in things like 40 yard dashes, shuttle runs, and position-specific drills. This of course follows the poking and prodding of doctors and trainers examining, measuring, and basically looking for a reason to downgrade your potential future possibilities. All the while, coaches, owners, and GMs are lurking in the stands and watching everything like shadow governments in the hopes of finding a steal or getting a star for cheap and in all reality, just looking forward to some St. Elmo’s or Scotty’s at the conclusion of their day. To see exactly what the general public thinks about the potential successes of NFL teams, take a gander at NFL futures odds. It’s a good way to see what the market is bearing out before draft day selections are made.

The football factories like Notre Dame, USC, Oregon, and basically the entire SEC are old pros at the combine and don’t get their world in a tizzy for any one particular prospect. For the MAC? Not so much. For a MAC player to be invited to the NFL Combine is celebration-worthy. For three MAC players from the same team to be invited? That’s cause for a party. And when it just so happens that team is Ball State, well it’s a Pylon party and you’re all invited. Here’s how Keith Wenning, Willie Snead, and Jonathan Newsome fared on their first foray into professional football…

Keith WenningKEITH WENNING, QB
Official Height: 6’3″
Official Weight: 218 lbs
Official Arm Length: 31 1/4″
Official Hand Measurement: 10″
40 Yard Dash Time: 5.00 seconds
Comparative QB That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: AJ McCarron (Alabama) 4.94 seconds
Vertical Jump: 28.0 inches
Comparative QB That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: AJ McCarron (Alabama) 28.0 inches
Broad Jump: 100.0 inches
Comparative QB That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: AJ McCarron (Alabama) 99.0 inches
3 Cone Drill: 7.07 seconds
Comparative QB That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Blake Bortles (Central Florida) 7.08 seconds
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.25 seconds
Comparative QB That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Tajh Boyd (Clemson) 4.23 seconds

NFL.com says….
Strengths: “Experienced, four-year starter with a solid build. Very smart and understands the offense. Outstanding football character and personal character — works at his craft, is driven to succeed and will represent a franchise well. Respected leader — two-time team captain. Football is very improtant to him. Very tough and highly competitive. Has directed 10 fourth-quarter comebacks in his career. Consistent in his approach.”

Weaknesses: “Average arm strength, athletic ability and pocket mobility to avoid the first wave and make throws off-balance and under duress. Carries a heavyness in his body and lacks twitch. Works almost exclusively out of the gun and will need to adapt to working from under center. Cannot easily manipulate his arm and throwing platform. Does not drive the deep out and accuracy and placement diminishes downfield. Production is inflated from regularly facing inferior MAC competition.”

Bottom Line: “Heavy-bodied, dink-and-dunk, rhythm passer who could be challenged to fit the ball into tight NFL windows. Has the makeup desired in a No. 3 QB and could develop into a functional backup in a West Coast passing game.”

Well, now, if I were Keith, I’d go ahead and scratch NFL.com off my Christmas card list. The rest of the MAC would do well to do the same, given the potshot they take at the conference as a whole. If Keith had built up his stats against the likes of UMass and Miami, then I could see his skills and results being questioned. Last I checked, Wenning accumulated most of that against the MAC West, which I wouldn’t consider “inferior” in the least. The most shocking thing to me was how close Keith Wenning is in the measurable drills to AJ McCarron. It makes sense now that I think about it, but it isn’t something I would have automatically went to.

Willie SneadWILLIE SNEAD, WR
Official Height: 5’11″
Official Weight: 195 lbs
Official Arm Length: 33″
Official Hand Measurement: 10 1/4″
40 Yard Dash Time: 4.62 seconds
Comparative WR That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Devin Street (Pitt) 4.55 seconds
Vertical Jump: 33.5″
Comparative WR That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Sammy Watkins (Clemson) 34.0 inches
Broad Jump: 113.0 inches
Comparative WR That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Jarvis Landry (LSU) 110.0 inches
3 Cone Drill: 7.19 seconds
Comparative WR That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Martavis Bryant (Clemson) 7.18 seconds
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.39 seconds
Comparative WR That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Sammy Watkins (Clemson) 4.34 seconds
60 Yard Shuttle: 11.96 seconds
Comparative WR That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Jordan Matthews (Vandy) 11.84 seconds
Bench Press: 11 reps
Comparative WR That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Mike Evans (A&M) 12 reps

NFL.com says…
Strengths: “Controlled mover with nice balance. Gets in and out of breaks cleanly. Runs crisp routes — shows some savvy and subtle physicality to work himself open. Tracks and adjusts very well. Has soft, sure hands and catches naturally. Good concentration to make contested catches. Confident and competitive. Excellent two-year production.”

Weaknesses: “Lacks ideal height. Fairly monotone — does not have explosive speed to separate vertically. Too many catches are contested. Lacks wiggle to elude tacklers and create after the catch. Did not face top-notch competition.”

Bottom Line: “Productive, dependable, fairly polished possession receiver with natural receiving skills. Lacks ideal size and horsepower to thrive outside, but his sure hands give him a chance to compete for a role as a chain-moving, short-to-intermediate slot receiver.”

So the experts parrot back what everyone already knew about Willie Snead, in that what he lacks in traditional cookie-cutter intangibles like breakaway speed or height, he more than makes up for in his sure-handedness. Unless Willie gets drafted by the Raiders, I’d say most franchises value a player who can actually catch the ball over someone who can sprint past the defense only to drop the pass.

Jonathan NewsomeJONATHAN NEWSOME, DE
Official Height: 6’3″
Official Weight: 247 lbs
Official Arm Length: 33 1/4″
Official Hand Measurement: 9 5/8″
40 Yard Dash Time: 4.73 seconds
Comparative DL That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Kareem Martin (UNC) 4.72 seconds
Vertical Jump: 34.0 inch
Comparative DL That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Marcus Smith (Louisville) 35.0 inches
Broad Jump: 117.0 inches
Comparative DL That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Chris Smith (Arkansas) 121.0 inches
3 Cone Drill: 7.31 seconds
Comparative DL That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Jadeven Clowney (South Carolina) 7.27 seconds)
Bench Press: 21 reps
Comparative DL That You’ve Seen Fawned Over: Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina) 21 reps

NFL.com says…
Strengths: “Very good edge burst. Has a long second step and attacks the edges with speed and leverage. Flattens down the line — good lateral pursuit. Can get depth in coverage and spot drop. Flashes explosive striking ability as a tackler.”

Weaknesses: “Strength-deficient and gets hammered in the box. Thin-legged and narrow-based. Too light to set the edge. Limited cover skills — is tight in the hips and not natural moving in reverse or coming out of breaks. Immature early in college career.”

Bottom Line: “A 4-3 open-side speed rusher ideally suited for an elephant end or 3-4 Jack linebacker role. Is at his best rushing the passer and has shown improved maturity since departing Ohio State before the 2011 season.”

Maturity mentioned twice in the same recap from the NFL? That’s sort of the Holy Grail of talent evaluation. I can only imagine the thought in a writer’s head went something like, “Let’s ignore the last couple years of on field talent with just overarching broad strokes, but we better make sure we mention the always enlightening ‘maturity issues’”. Of course, when you are basing someone’s potential as a multi-million dollar investment on numbers and twenty minutes or so of on-field drills, I guess you do what you gotta do.

The Final Grades
The NFL gives each prospect a grade out of 10 and a synopsis of what that grade means. For example, a 9.00-10.00 qualifies as a “once in a lifetime player” where a 4.50 is the lowest, standing for “might make it to an NFL training camp”. Anything below that and it’s “needs more time in a developmental league”. For the Cardinal Combine Three, they received the following:

Keith Wenning: 5.00 (50-50 chance to make an NFL roster)

Willie Snead: 5.16 (Better than average chance to make an NFL roster)

Jonathan Newsome: 5.17 (Better than average chance to make an NFL roster)

Wenning, Snead, and Newsome Look to Shine at Combine

nfl-logoFor NFL fans, this upcoming weekend may be behind only Super Bowl weekend, opening weekend, and the Draft in terms of the excitement and hopeful optimism that it brings. Teams with terrible win-loss records will look for the next franchise player to select with their high draft picks and teams with better records are on the lookouts for “sleepers” or “projects”. But what’s lost amidst the bench press reps, height, weight, and reach is that for the group of student-athletes attempting to make an NFL roster, they are merely reduced down to aggregate numbers and performance scores in comparison with one another. For players like Keith Wenning, Willie Snead, and Jonathan Newsome their talent, skill, and ability is about way more than cookie-cutter numbers.

In fact, some would argue that those arbitrary numbers are what landed talent like BSU’s 2013 Combine Three at Ball State in the first place. I would be willing to wager that almost any collegiate program that saw Willie Snead play in his career at BSU making sure handed catch after sure handed catch would have been more than happy to look past his negative talking points like a lack of blazing speed or a smaller frame at 5′ 11″. I guess it’s a modern miracle that a short and slow wideout was able to set school records in receptions, yardage, and touchdowns for a single season while finishing third in  the nation for yards.

For Newsome, an Ohio State transfer, and someone likely transitioning positions from a collegiate defensive end to an NFL linebacker, it becomes a presumptive pro and con argument. There’s the con of transitioning to a new position and being somewhat small for it, but a pro of a sub 4.8 40 yard dash. There’s the pro of having a nose for the football and a familiar home in the backfield of opposing offenses. There’s the con of not having a ton of experience in pass coverage that linebackers in an NFL but there’s the pro of being the primary focus of offensive lines and still making your presence known. And there’s the always awesome “character discussions” because Newsome was suspended for several games in 2012. God forbid a college student make a mistake. BURN HIM AT THE STAKE!

Wenning is perhaps the most curious case at arguably the deepest position. The top of the quarterback class and most of the eyes will be on the Johnny Manziel/Teddy Bridgewater/Blake Bortles triangle at the top of the war room boards. But perhaps that isn’t the worst thing in the world for Wenning. Theoretically, I’d like for Wenning to land in a place that doesn’t have a need for a QB right away but will in a few years. It gives him time to learn the offense and entrench himself as a valuable member of the team, which you know he’ll do. The consensus across the board is Wenning will get drafted, but to whom, how soon, and such remains a mystery. Even RV, who is the site’s resident NFL expert said, “Third day, probably, but you never really know with quarterbacks.” About the only thing you would know for sure is that Wenning is the career leader at BSU for pass attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns and the case could be made that he is the best Ball State quarterback to play for the Cardinals.

So despite career achievements, hours and hours of film, interviews, etc. let’s base someone’s career on a shuttle drill, a 40 yard dash, a three-cone drill, and some position drills. It’s just 15 minutes of actual work for the next, oh, 50 years of your life and your professional reputation. NO PRESSURE! You can catch all of the Combine action and the talking heads that go with it on the NFL Network. Wenning and Snead will have their position drills broadcast on Sunday while Newsome will be live on Monday. We’ll have recaps up after each. The meat market officially starts on the 22nd and the offensive linemen go first. If you are a fan of fat guy touchdowns, you’ll just love fat guy shuttle runs, fat guy 40 yard dashes, and fat guy vertical jumps. It’s a hoot.

OTPcast 5.24

OTP Cast Logo200Even though it’s the offseason, the OTPcast is in championship form. The guys have new theme music, a new voiceover, and touch on the final hire for the BSU football coaching staff. They also welcome on a guest in head diving coach Nick Gayes to chat about all things diving related including how the fans can help propel diving over the top on their way to the MAC championship meet and the NCAAs. New guests, new music, new voiceovers, but all the same ridiculousness you’ve come to expect from the 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…

Make Sure to Watch Jeopardy on Friday for Some BSU Love

(Photo: Carol Kaelson photo provided by Jeopardy Productions, Inc.)

(Photo: Carol Kaelson photo provided by Jeopardy Productions, Inc.)

If you’re following the Pylon on Twitter (and if you’re not, you should be) you saw us put something out yesterday about an intersection of two of our favorite things: Ball State University and random knowledge. On Friday, Ball State senior Alex Sventeckis will be in the Jeopardy College Tournament against someone from Ohio State and someone from Middlebury College creating what I like to call “Must See Television” in my household.

When I was living in DC, I tried out for Jeopardy, and let me tell you: It’s hard. You have to sit in a lecture hall with one of those crummy raise-from-the-side-desktops that are always wobbly and not at all accommodating for a man of any substantive girth for starters and it only gets worse from there. From there, assuming you didn’t bomb the quiz while your internal organs played a nice little game of twister thanks to the desk, you get a “screen test” where you do a fake game to (I would presume) ensure you are capable of being on camera without sweating through your collar (I did) or screaming out inappropriate things when nervous (I didn’t, surprisingly enough). There’s also an interview, but seeing as how I can only assume I came across as a mix of Tommy Boy in his little coat and Ricky Bobby during his first interview, I didn’t get to that stage. But I digress… Alex did. And he’s representing you, me, and everyone associated with BSU.

His dream category? Fraternities. Go on….

Side note: All the dudes except the nerd from Vandy and the asian kid had facial hair. Alex is Team Clean Shaven. Stay tuned…

I know what you’re thinking. “Alan, Friday is Valentine’s Day! There’s no way I can pull watching this off! I’ve got romancin’ to do, jack.” Don’t worry, we’re way ahead of you with your various strategies and choose your own options within them:

  • STRATEGY 1: THE LOYAL CARDINAL
    • Step 1: Say to spouse/bf/gf: “Honey, it’s such a rarity to see BSU get such national attention, would it be ok if we watched this and then went to Applebees/St. Elmo’s/McDonalds and then came home for dessert/board games/sexy fun time?”
    • Step 2: Watch Jeopardy
    • Step 3: Enjoy your meal
    • Step 4: Enjoy “dessert”
  • STRATEGY 2: THE BUY JUST ENOUGH TIME
    • Step 1A: Say to spouse/bf/gf: “Honey, that outfit is great but I just don’t think it shows off how sexy you are. Maybe you could try something on a little more bold?” -OR-
    • Step 1B: Say to spouse/bf/gf: “Oh. You’re going to wear that?”  (NOTE: Risky move, but fortune favors the bold)
    • Step 2: Watch Jeopardy
    • Step 3: Enjoy your meal
    • Step 4: Enjoy “dessert”. (Quality of dessert directly related to which Step 1 you choose above)
  • STRATEGY 3: THE SINGLE GUY
    • Step 1: If already single, proceed to step 4. If in relationship, proceed to Step 2
    • Step 2: Say to spouse/bf/gf: “Honey, I’ve given this a lot of thought and I have decided I would rather watch a college tournament Jeopardy game than spend even one more minute with you in this hot garbage of a relationship”
    • Step 3: Sidestep slap/punch/jab
    • Step 4: Watch Jeopardy alone
    • Step 5: Order pizza
    • Step 6: See if anything good is on Cinemax after midnight
    • Step 7: Sob
    • Step 8: Play a game of Flappy Bird
    • Step 9: Sob harder
    • Step 10: Cry yourself to sleep. Alone. Like always.

So be sure to check your local listings for when Jeopardy airs, choose your strategy wisely, and watch your plan come to fruition. You’re welcome.

Skeeball Lingerie Parties Want Friday Ball State News & Notes

SkeeBallGameEvery morning I have a digital routine that I do that usually involves checking texts, checking Twitter, and checking Facebook for the various stories and comments that I think might require additional examination on this site. This morning, I was surprised to see a growing outrage over an adults only party at a kids party place (think: Chuck E. Cheese) in Long Island, NY. To be clear, there were no children present, it was adults only, and from as far as I can tell it was more nightie’s and pj’s than Caligula-style horse orgies.

I’ll own the fact that I don’t have children, but I would like to think that if I did, it wouldn’t stop my ability to be somewhat rational about all this. I’m neither a scientist nor a child psychologist, but I’d hypothesize that just because a bouncy castle or a Dance Dance Revolution machine had someone in a nightgown play on it doesn’t make it or its users bound for eternal damnation because OH MY GOD SKIN!!!! And if the concern is your children being in a place where adult activities may have occurred, I might suggest to you to never let your children leave the house. Oh wait… they were born so they can’t stay there either.

Whether or not your delicate sensibilities were offended isn’t really the issue. You can choose whether or not to engage in naked skeeball, and even I would take a pass on that. It’s hard to look sexy when you’re rolling for four straight 50s with laser-like focus. But let’s pump the brakes on acting like this is the worst possible thing that could happen or that some law was broken. Poor taste? Perhaps. Though I would argue that’s a matter of internal measure. But to act like the mere presence of lewdness in an area where children may be TEN HOURS LATER somehow destroys their innocence is beyond stupidity.

Your kids are going to find nudity and adult themes in myriad places like the internet, television, movies, their friends, in their friends’ dad’s game room in the third cabinet from the left, etc. Perhaps all that energy you spend complaining about things like this would be better spent educating your children on how to live in a society where this is a thing (right or wrong) and pursue responsible decisions around it. Because acting like the whole nature of sexuality and/or adult type things is EVILEVILEVIL KILL IT is only going to make little Johnny or little Suzie that much more persistent to try it to see what all the fuss is about.

And for the record, if you’re one of those people who are outraged about the possibility of your child being in a location where people were perhaps thinking impure thoughts or engaging in activities that would make their parents blush and you live in southern Indiana, I’d go ahead and steer clear of the Dairy Queen in Floyds Knobs. Just, uh… go ahead and take Uncle Alan’s word on that one. On to your Cardinals news and notes…

  • The Cardinals football recruiting class that was signed, sealed, and delivered on Wednesday ranks anywhere between 3rd and 7th in the MAC depending on what service you look at. One thing to keep in mind is that the rankings are often impacted by the number of people in the class. It’s a cumulative point system that benefits those who sign massive classes. For BSU to land there with only 19 signees is a great sign about the quality of this class and the players within it.
  • And while the rankings are flawed, OTP did a little research and found that our preferred recruiting service (Scout.com) has kept rankings back since 2002. This 2014 class is the highest ranked Cardinal recruiting class ever. Even with only 19 signees. So be excited for that.
  • If you aren’t up on Ball State softball, you need to be. ESPNW certainly is, as they write a stellar profile on senior pitcher/outfielder Jenny Gilbert, calling her the best-kept secret in the college game. (via)
  • In not so great athletics news, the men’s and women’s basketball teams had a not so good week as the Lady Cards turned in two losses (@Kent and CMU) and the men one (@Buffalo). The men stand at 4-16 and the women at 9-12. It’s going to take a miracle for either squad to reach any form of postseason play at this point, but that’s no reason to stop supporting them. The men play at home on Saturday at 2 against Toledo and the ladies go on the road Sunday to Northern Illinois.
  • If you’re somewhere close to the nation’s capital, BSU men’s volleyball will be at George Mason this weekend to defend their newly minted #15 national ranking. If you’re near Princeton on Saturday, you can catch them also. Both matches start at 7.
  • No Ball State Tweet of the Week this week because most were either lauding a white trash party kegger or complaining about the snow. We have certain hurdles of classy here that we have to clear. (NOTE: We do not. This post started with lingerie skeeball parties)

The Olympic opening ceremonies are taking place as I write this, but because the suits at NBC are cramming a delayed broadcast down our throats, there is no way in America to watch them live. I, for one, welcome our new delayed television overlords. At any rate, stay warm this weekend, Cards fans. And make sure you disinfect your skeeballs. Hit the comments with your thoughts on whether you’re #TeamLingerie or #TeamPurity.

Breaking Down the Ball State Recruiting Class

Pen-and-Paper

19 Cardinals put pen to paper Wednesday to pledge their next four years to the Cardinal and White.

For the majority of Cardinal fans, National Signing Day under Pete Lembo usually brings a new batch of Cardinals with some hidden gems, some unexpected surprises, but on the whole, a solid group of individuals that fits into the plan of things at BSU. Today was no exception as BSU inked 19 graduating high school seniors and one graduate student transfer to complete the class of 2014. While the national eyes were on the football factories down south, Coach Pete Lembo and crew put together what is being heralded by some as a class worthy of celebration.

At the conclusion of signing day, Steve Wiltfong of 247sports.com called the Ball State 2014 class “one of the best in the MAC”, a sentiment not reflected by his employers, who placed BSU 7th in the conference. Rivals had BSU as the 4th-best class in the MAC and Scout ranked the Cardinals as 3rd-best. As we talked about on the OTPRecruitcast last week, rankings outside of the top 25 are wildly divergent and rarely consistent across ranking services. However, Scout.com’s evaluation of the Cardinals as the 77th best class in the country is the highest rating that BSU has had since the Scout service was archived back to 2002.

Your class at a glance:

  • S Dedrick Cromartie
  • WR Roy Denson
  • RB Darian Green
  • DT Bruce Heggie
  • WR Jordan Hogue
  • LB Jeremiah Jackson
  • DB Matthew Johnson
  • TE Garrett Johnson
  • OT Alex Joss
  • OT Malik King
  • WR Corey Lacarnia
  • S Jake McPhatter
  • QB David Morrison
  • WR Devin Reece
  • LB Damon Singleton
  • DB Quentin Turner
  • ATH Winfred Ward
  • LB Jacob White
  • DT Kevin Willis
  • WR Jalen Wyatt

Some things that I noticed about the class:

  • The biggest thing I noticed is that there isn’t a push for the defensive line, where (in my opinion), BSU will be the weakest next season. The secondary and defensive backfield got a push to bolster their experienced units, as did the offensive skill positions. I have to believe that the defensive interior depth is an area that the coaching staff wishes was a better situation, and I’m quite sure not having a current D-line coach played into that result quite heavily.
  • Speaking of offensive skill positions, with the focus that position got on this year’s recruiting trail, it tells me that the coaching staff knew fairly early on that Willie Snead was going to try his hand at the NFL at season’s end. Plus, with this year’s injury bug to the wide receivers, I would imagine the coaches wanted significant depth at that spot, and they certainly got it.
  • Early frontrunner for “Name of the Class” is Dedrick Cromartie. That’s got humor written all over it. I can only hope we find an equally entertaining photo for him like we did for Matthew Page.
  • The BallStateSports livestream today was great. I had multiple livestreams going for several different teams that I follow, and BSU’s was right up there with the best of them. There was a significant lack of blogger input on the livestream though. I know a good one, guys.
  • It was noticeable how geographically diverse this class is. Indiana was the state with the most signees (6), but unlike years past, Florida and Michigan were right behind (4 each). Illinois with 2, and Georgia, Missouri, and Pennsylvania with one each were also within spitting distance. I am shocked there is no one from North Carolina. That may not seem like all that large of a footprint, but like most things in life… a map helps:
    Ball State Recruits 2014

You can check out the entire release of the BSU recruiting class with names, info, biography information and some info on the class as a whole here: Signing Day Release

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