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2012 Preview: Prediction Time

These Cardinals are off and running so time to take wild shots in the dark on how the year will turn out.

The season is finally here. I write posts well in advance but after “male enhancement gate” came to light (miss the days of textbook scams instead) I thought about rewriting this, but I doubt this will have much impact on the season so I’m sticking to my guns. Too bad my guns on preseason predictions are made out of paper like every other blogger/journalist.

August 30, vs. Eastern Michigan

This is a pivotal opener as a bad performance here will open the floodgates of negativity from the skeptical student body. Eastern’s offense is loaded and is looking for redemption from last year’s loss. The Eagles have to replace both safeties so Wenning should carve these guys up through the air. If Ball State can’t protect their home turf here then when can it in 2012? Prediction: Ball State 37, Eastern Michigan 30

September 8, at Clemson

Please do not tell me that a suspended receiver is going to make much of an impact. One is a team looking to play in a BCS Bowl game and the other is Ball State. Just take the paycheck and move on. Wait, did I just make this game sound like Ball State is operating as a prostitute for a week? Well… in a way… Prediction: Clemson 59, Ball State 28

September 15, at Indiana

A win here and the 99 percent chance that IU coach Kevin Wilson is fired goes to a 100 percent chance. I want coaches to have more than two years but Wilson is in the top 10 jerks of current coaches. That is in an incredibly hard list to crack. Although Indiana is tougher out in Bloomington let the IU-three-peat commence. True or False, Indiana is the weakest team Ball State faces all year? True. Prediction: Ball State 36, Indiana 27

September 22, vs. South Florida

A big boy team comes to Muncie! South Florida may not have the reputation of Florida but this is a big deal bringing them into town. If the Cardinals can stay within a two scores by the fourth quarter the Bulls might play tight. I want to pick the upset but the Bulls recruit four and three star players while the Cardinals are happy to sign those with two. Remember, South Florida struggled last season and still beat BSU 35-7 in Tampa. Prediction: South Florida 42, Ball State 24

September 29, at Kent State

Ball State will travel to a well rested Kent State team (10 days) who probably has the best defense in the conference. This will take an “A” game from Wenning to go along with a solid defensive performance.  Doubt the Cards will get both. Ball State won quite a few close MAC games last year, but do not count on such luck again. Have to give the edge to the Flashes at home. Prediction: Kent State 23, Ball State 20

October 6, vs. Northern Illinois

Too say this is a big game is to say money is valuable. Will the Cardinals pull this one off is more difficult to determine. The offense should score, but the defense will need to make stops. I am sensing a theme here. With a new quarterback at Northern the Ball State defense should have a chance. A crazy crowd would go a long way too. Prediction: Ball State 34, Northern Illinois 27

October 13, vs. Western Michigan

Would someone please tell why Ball State keeps scheduling difficult opponents for the homecoming game? Picking Western Michigan for homecoming is like yelling “You can’t catch me” to a police officer. It never ends well. You don’t think the Broncos are going to use this after what happened the last time they were the homecoming game. That was 45-16 embarrassment in 2010. Schedule a cupcake or don’t have homecoming at all. Make it for the women’s volleyball team or something. I am sure Coach Steve Shondell would approve of that, but I doubt fans will approve this pick. Prediction: Western Michigan 49, Ball State 30

October 20, at Central Michigan

Plenty of factors are at play here. After playing the two kingpins in the division Ball State may be in for a letdown going to the Christmas tree farms of Central Michigan. Central had the 2011 contest in their hands at Muncie but did everything they could to blow it late. This is an experience team for CMU and Ball State will again have no room for error here. Central will also be fired up after playing a national televised game host Navy eight days prior. The only thing missing is Admiral Ackbar yelling “It’s a trap!” when the Cards take the field. Prediction: Central Michigan 45, Ball State 41

October 27, at Army

Admiral Ackbar and his signature phrase may make an appearance a couple of times for Ball State in 2012.

Army’s unique option offense may give some teams trouble but it plays into the hands of Ball State. Ball State is weakest against the pass so all the power to teams who run the ball. This is a paper beats rock match-up and the Ball State defense can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Too bad most of the MAC is scissors. Prediction: Ball State 38, Army 24

November 6, at Toledo

While the rest of the country will be watching presidential election results we’ll be watching a big college football game for the Cardinals. Toledo is breaking in a new coach and pretty much a new team to boot. The Rockets are still talented but Ball State “should” be more polished in this one in what might be the most impressive win of the season. Prediction: Ball State 48, Toledo 38

November 14, vs. Ohio

A big game that with big MAC implications. Too bad only 500 students will be there because it will be on a freezing Wednesday night in November. Even worse it might be on the channel most fiscally responsible folks do not have in ESPNU. This brings us to the classic question of if Ball State wins a game in a 75 percent empty stadium on a channel few get did it really happen? Allegedly, Ball State lost to Northern Illinois last year on ESPNU as I am still waiting for confirmation on that. Let’s hope this game is moved to ESPN 2. Ohio’s Tyler Tettleton is pretty good and should have his way in this phantom game. Prediction: Ohio 41, Ball State 24

November 23, at Miami

Can this November schedule get any worse? Games on Election Day, a Wednesday night, and Black Friday. That is the holy trinity of a terrible schedule for energizing fan interest. Trying to watch last year’s Black Friday game with Toledo felt more like a chore and I hope this one in Oxford does not have the same fate. Miami is a pass happy offense so it will be up to Wenning again to try to outscore people. He will have to throw four touchdown passes and zero picks to just give the Cardinals a chance. Too bad this is not the only game of the season where that is the case. Prediction: Miami 52, Ball State 37

For those keeping track that is a 5-7 (3-5 MAC) season. Nothing to be happy about but Ball State does not play the three stooges of the MAC in UMass, Akron, and Buffalo and again passed on an FCS team. The 2012 season is nowhere as promising as 2013 appears to be with an experienced team returning a year from now. Instead of the “Rise Up” slogan that has become horrifically ironic the past week I suggest “Keep Fighting.” This is only the second year for Lembo as it took the best coach in the country in Brady Hoke more years than that to turn it around. Those looking for a 10-win year will probably be disappointed. I just want Ball State to beat IU and a couple of MAC teams projected to go bowling. At the very least, get the male-enhancement story out of our minds.

Nathan Pace is a 2012 Ball State graduate and is the new police reporter for the New Castle Courier-Times. If you have a story idea involving Henry county, you can contact him at npace@thecouriertimes.com

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One Response

  1. You think too negatively. The weather in November is generally not good for passing teams Miami will fall. As will CMU because they can not run the ball and the coach is going to be in hot water there with every game bringing more stress. Ball State 7- 5.

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