It’s been relatively quiet around the Cards’ nest since National Signing Day, and as I emphasize more often than not, in the offseason, quiet is good. This time of the year, the only football teams that get significant headlines are national powerhouse programs or smaller market teams that have players that fire off uzis in a Pizza Hut bathroom. Thankfully, BSU football is neither the latter nor regrettably, the former. But that doesn’t mean that BSU football doesn’t have a story to tell this time of the year. It’s a short story, but a story all the same.
The more sizable of the two main BSU football news of note is that the MAC released their version of the schedule, thus making it possible to compile a complete BSU football agenda for the fall. Hat tip for the version of it at left.
At first glance, you’ll see the out of conference schedule is not quite the murderer’s row that BSU fans had grown accustomed to in the past. Two home games, one of which is FCS Illinois State. Virginia and North Texas, both on the road, went 4-8 last season preventing the sort of worry and dread that the likes of Michigan, Nebraska, and K-State have produced in the past. Army finished out 2012 2-10. And for the record, Illinois State clocked in a 8-3 regular season and ended up winning their first-round FCS playoff game against App State and then losing to Eastern Washington. As much as it pains me to say this, Illinois State may very well be the most talented and toughest to beat team on the Cards’ 2013 schedule out of conference.
In-conference, the road games for the Cards are EMU, WMU, Akron, and NIU. The home crowd gets Toledo, Kent State, CMU, and Miami. For crossover opponents, Kent State and Akron were the top and bottom of the MAC East though I’d expect both to revert back more to the median this fall. I can’t say I’m super pumped about NIU on the road, but for me to complain at all about the conference schedule would be silly. The MAC certainly didn’t do BSU any favors, but they didn’t quite stick it to the Cards either. The conference schedule crossover I can live with.
My only real complaint is the out of conference schedule, but that is a small complaint if a legitimate one at all. I, among others, think that BSU is capable of pulling a 12 NIU and busting the BCS. However, I’m having trouble coming up with a scenario where an undefeated BSU team with this schedule can make that happen.
In 2008, the Cards used an exceptionally similar schedule to climb to #12, but most experts agree that even with a win against Buffalo in the MAC Championship, the Cardinals would not have made a BCS Bowl. This year’s similarity, schedule-wise is shocking. FCS team at home (08: Northeastern, 13: Illinois State), BCS AQ school on road (08: Indiana, 13: Virginia), service academy at home (08: Navy, 13: Army), non-AQ on road (08: Western Kentucky, 13: North Texas). The difference in my mind is that the MAC in 2008 with Dan Lefevour had significantly more eyes on them, meaning that the Cardinals could increase their standing with conference wins. If BSU runs roughshod over the out of conference schedule, I don’t see a team in-conference that the Cardinals won’t be favored over. That’s a good problem to have.
The mid-week games for the Cards also don’t present a significant schedule issue, as their two Wednesday games are bookended by open dates. No short weeks, no quick turnarounds. That’s a good thing as well. All in all, a nice little present to have this time of the year, and something to drool on as you scroll down the list and make the W’s in your head for what could be a significantly special season for the Cardinals.
Spring Is Here
The spring schedule for the Cards has been released and you can check that out here. The Cards have a spring game on April 20th, and all practices before then are open to the public. You should check it out if you have the chance to. It’s a great way to feel some connection with the football program and get a glimpse into what kind of team will be on the field in the fall.
HoopCards Heading to Cleveland
The men’s and women’s basketball team are on their way to Cleveland where both did well enough in the regular season to advance them into the bracket without that pesky home game play-in nonsense. The men’s team plays Buffalo on Wednesday evening at 6:30 and the women got quite the bye, into the semi-finals. They won’t play until March 15th at 2:30, and the opponent will be either Akron, Miami, or Buffalo. At the midpoint of the season it seemed like a considerable long shot for either team to be a serious conference contender (and get the subsequent NCAA bid) so this is a nice thing to keep your eye on this week.