In an effort to educate, inform, preview and most importantly, poke fun of those who dare add the Ball State Cardinals to their football schedule, OTP is proud to bring back a tradition here at the Pylon, Know an Opponent, in this case, the Know a ’14 Opponent series. Some things to note… this isn’t heavy lifting with broken down statistics, game film replays, or random things like that. It’s still preseason after all, and that kind of analysis and evaluation is best saved for game week. So buckle up kiddies… time to Know a ’14 Opponent!
When I was a little boy, there was a bully in class that was a real piece of work. Made fun of me. Knocked my mechanical pencils off the desk. Acted like my grocery bag book covers were not the absolute bomb. Didn’t appreciate my GI Joe Trapper Keeper. This kid was clearly an asshole. His parents were assholes. His grandmammy was probably an asshole, too. He was also significantly bigger than me and may or may not have spent time in prison. I’d like to tell you about the time I stood up to him, punched him in his asshole mouth, and then went on to third grade glory with the third grade hottie, but not all stories have happy endings. No, I didn’t stand up to Bully McDickhead. I just rode out the rest of 3rd grade, he moved, and I can only assume he is wearing a paper hat to work and using a squeegee mop on the regular. The moral of this story is: I knew my place at the time and didn’t feel like standing up for Duke and his battle against Cobra Command was worth an ass beating. I was a logical thinker even then. Colgate would do well to heed similar advice before journeying to Muncie. You’ve been warned, Raiders. There’s still time. Get out while you still can.
What Have You Done For Me Lately?
Colgate is in what you might call, “a transition year”. At the head of the snake, Dick Biddle retired after 18 years and 7 Patriot League titles. Replacing him is his Associate Coach Dan Hunt, whose parents would have named Mike had they even a modicum of a sense of humor. Hunt has assured folks that nothing significant will change, and most expect the Raiders to continue to be a pound it down your throat run-first team. In addition to losing their coach, they lose QB Gavin McCarney, who just happened to be the leading rusher amongst QBs in the Patriot League ever. That’s probably going to be felt. Defensively, Raiders fans hope it’s a transition year as last year wasn’t a good one. The unit gave up over 30 points a game, which should make Ozzie Mann and a Cardinal offense hoping to hit the ground running this year slightly excited. They finished 2013 at 4-8, but they did win the Patriot League in 2012, a Patriot League that used to be home to one Pete Lembo.
The Man Who Wears the Headset
You know what’s crazy about Colgate’s head coach? It’s an endowed position. Alums of the university help fund the football coach’s salary like some faculty jobs. So Dan Hunt is not just “Head Football Coach”. Oh, no. Dan Hunt is the Fred ‘50 and Marilyn Dunlap Head Football Coach. That is so East Coast. It’s Hunt’s first year in the big chair, but not his first year in the program, as he has been there since 1996, directing the offense. One side of the coin would say he would be the coach that should have the greatest chance for success. He knows the program, knows the players, knows where they keep the paperclips in the supply closet. There’s a flip side to that coin, though, and I’d point to the 2009 Ball State team to demonstrate that just because you are an effective Coordinator there isn’t a guarantee that you’re going to be a successful head coach. Just something to think about.
Players and Stats of Note
As mentioned, the Patriot League’s version of Dan Lefevour is gone, so the next man up for the Raiders is presumably Jake Melville. The sophomore comes in with an Ozzie Mann-esque task of providing just enough of a threat that the run game can flourish. These days it’s rare to have a fullback generate significant headlines, but Raider fullback Ed Pavalko was a preseason All-Conference selection and a three-year letter winner. He’ll be the one clearing the holes for any one of the bevy of running backs that Colgate can trot out. The defense last season for Colgate gave up in excess of 30 points per game, but Hunt has emphasized that the defense will be taking a more pressure approach to their scheme this fall. They return Mike Armiento in their secondary, and after hauling in 6 INTs last season, I’m sure he’s hoping for Ozzie Mann passes gone awry.
If Colgate Football Was a Musician
I think it’s cute that Colgate has decided to step up to the plate and play big boy football. But, the fact remains that they are a bit over their skis. Not all football teams are created equal and the bottom line is that a 4-8 team from the Patriot League with a new head coach and QB needs to know their place and stick to what they are good at, none of which is coming to Muncie and putting the Cardinals on upset alert. “Stay in your lane” is good advice for reaching football teams and bands who cover songs and artists they have no business covering. But you tried, and for that, we thank you. Congrats, Colgate, you are Limp Bizkit covering The Who.
How Worried Are We
The return of the OTP Threat Level!
Perhaps nothing is more indicative of the growing obesity of America than the fact that appetizers are an almost expected thing. “I can’t wait for the meal, so please, bring me some fried food to tide me over before I get the actual entrée, which will most likely be fried as well.” Sure, it’s gluttonous and probably unneeded, but I’ll be damned if I don’t get an order of Dill Chips or 7 Tidals every time I go to the Brewhouse. In similar fashion, Colgate provides a tasty little morsel to work the kinks out and get an idea of what the BSU offense is going to look like in year one with Joey Lynch as OC and without Keith Wenning at QB. Defensively, the new look Kevin Kelly regime begins with an offense that likes to run, the specific sort of attack that at times flummoxed the Jay Bateman administration. Can the Raiders pull an upset? I assume it is possible. It is also possible that I’m going to come home from work today to find Kate Upton waiting on a bearskin rug with a bottle of bourbon and some dill chips. Mmmmmm…. dill chips. So, Colgate opens our Know a ’14 Opponent with a nice cool Code Green. Next up? Iowa. And that threat level is likely to increase.
Surprisingly enough, there isn’t a tremendous web presence for FCS Patriot League teams. People say the same thing about MAC schools, and I know how frustrating that can be. Should you want to read up for yourself on some Colgate goodies, you can check out their official sports page here. There’s a messageboard here and you can check out a fan site here.