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Big News from OTP: The Pause of an Era

OTP Logo 200There have been news days and there have been NEWS days here at OTP over the last few years. When we broke the story about Brady Hoke leaving, that was a NEWS day. When we broke the story about Pete Lembo being hired, that was a NEWS day. When we transitioned from the old site to this one, that was just a news day. Today is probably more of the latter than the former, but it’s noteworthy all the same.

Beginning April 16, Fearless Leader will be transitioning to a new role as the Managing Editor of Hustle Belt (www.hustlebelt.com). Most of you who have been loyal Fans of the Pylon for the last few years should be familiar with HB, but in case you aren’t, it’s the MAC home on SB Nation, the preeminent site network for news, notes, features, and fun. I’m excited for the opportunity, grateful for the chance, but more than anything, I’m thankful for the loyal support of the Ball State fanbase that made the Pylon part of their digital routine.

Back in 2008 when The Pylon started, the blogosphere was the wild west of sports commentary and critique. There was a lack of substantive local coverage, a significant lack of BSU in the blogosphere, and nowhere close to the options that are present these days for MAC and subsequent Ball State news and notes. Site co-founder RV and I began this site as a way to kill some time and bring snark to the masses, as if there was any sort of lack of that. What followed would be a seven-year ride that would see undefeated seasons, coach searches, AD searches, podcasts, The Parrish Era, the CPL regime, and now The Neu Day. The things we’ve been able to do, able to see, able to chronicle, and able to be privy to all made this something more than just two dudes chirping (see what I did there?) about BSU sports.

I don’t know what role OTP played in the current landscape of Cardinal coverage, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that coverage of BSU is night and day from what it was when The Pylon started. The size of the role we played in prompting better coverage, seeking better access, and providing opportunities for fans to see the inner workings of the program is anyone’s guess, but I’m proud of the work we have done, the tone we have set, and the legacy we’ll leave.

To be clear, this isn’t a goodbye. This is a see you later. It is entirely likely posts will pop up here that are tremendously BSU focused or homer-riffic from time to time. I’ll still be somewhat active on our Twitter (@OverThePylon) for BSU stuff. And who knows, this could all be an epic disaster and I’m back here Pylon-ing it up in a couple of weeks. Despite the sadness of stepping away, part of what has made this decision easier is the fact that I’ll still have the ability to be a voice for BSU and the athletic program, albeit on a larger stage and as part of larger MAC coverage.

I’d be remiss to not give some thanks to some folks who made the Pylon what it was. First and foremost, the site’s leadership through the years like RV, Edge, and Jason who provided all sorts of things from a different perspective to just an ear to bounce things off of. Folks who wrote for the site like Jen Zarate, Dustin White, and Nathan Pace provided some great perspective as well. Our work with local media like Ben Breiner and Tom Davis made our coverage better and bridged a gap that was insurmountable when we started. Our  Ball State contacts made what we did easier and more informative. Folks like Joe Hernandez, Chris Ulm, Tyson Matthews, Brad Caudill, and really the entire media relations staff made our jobs easier and our coverage better. From an administration standpoint, folks like Bill Scholl and Brian Hardin helped us immeasurably and never made us feel like anything other than a respected outlet. We didn’t get a chance to work closely with Mark Sandy or Michael Clark, but I’m very impressed with what we’ve seen so far. I’m excited to keep working with all of them under a different masthead.

Finally, we have to thank the coaches, staff, and players who made our time worthwhile. Coaches Hoke, Parrish, and Lembo all treated us with the utmost respect and value. I have no reason to believe Coach Neu would have been any different and look forward to working with him as part of Hustle Belt. A special shout out to some assistant coaches through the years like Joey Lynch, Jason Eck, Phil Burnett, Eddie Faulkner, and others who helped champion the cause of OTP.

On a personal note, I have to thank the countless number of fans and readers who have interacted with the site, listened to the podcast, commented on social media, emailed us, etc. Though the Ball State fanbase is small, it is mighty, and there is a small part of me that is tremendously sad to be stepping back from something we started, maintained, and created simply for the love of our institution. Running OTP was a labor of love and one that I hope can be either passed on to an eager Cardinal fan or rekindled at some point.

But for now, it’s onward and upward at Hustle Belt. I think it fitting to close our time here the way Jason has closed the last few seasons of the OTPcast, as we all are proving that there are multiple someones with enough free time to obsess over Ball State athletics.

Thanks for the memories and the support and we’ll see you at Hustle Belt!

-AMR

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MAC New Media Preseason Poll

MACI remember a time when the MAC New Media group was a small collection of blogs that all varied in degrees of frequency, professionalism, fan-voice, and ad bait. That was back in ’08 when we hung our shingle in the blogosphere, and the group of sites that covers the Mid American Conference has evolved, advanced, and evolved some more. Though some blogs have gone dark, others have sprung up, and Hustle Belt has been pushed to the forefront by the SBNation Death Star, the passion of the group hasn’t waned.

Tomorrow is MAC Media Day in Detroit. You’ll get to see what mainstream media thinks about the coming season of MAC football. But who better to get your information from than the group of people who follow these teams and this conference day in and day out. The great things about getting news and other goings on from blogs is that you’re hearing from someone who doesn’t have a myopic view of just one team, which also happens to be couched in between the local high school goings on, national sports stories, and all the other things that a mainstream journalist has to scramble for. So, the new media of the MAC thought it best to give you what you need, an unvarnished opinion about how the conference is going to shake out in the fall.

Our voters?

For the East…

  1. BG (6) 52 points
  2. Akron (1) 41 points
  3. Buffalo (1) 39 points
  4. Ohio 38 points
  5. Kent State 23 points
  6. Miami 19 points
  7. UMass 10 points

For the West…

  1. NIU (4) 42 points
  2. Toledo (2) 41 points
  3. Ball State (2) 33 points
  4. CMU 25 points
  5. WMU 15 points
  6. EMU 13 points

The group collective picked NIU as the MAC Championship winner, with Terry Bowden claiming Coach of the Year honors and BG QB Matt Johnson taking home Player of the Year.

My reply all response to the above when it hit my email for the group was “You are all high.” and I stand by that. My other thoughts outside of the aforementioned assumption that people are either inebriated, ignorant, or blissfully unaware (or a combination of all of the above):

  • It’s so good to see people expect to see a drop off after good QBs graduate, hence BSU landing in third in the West, 6th overall. What’s that? NIU is still ranked #1 in the west despite losing their All-Galaxy QB Jordan Lynch? Well that doesn’t seem very consistent, now does it?
  • Apparently the slurping of BG can now begin in earnest. Thank God! (That’s sarcasm)
  • This the last year for UMass in the MAC, so next year’s new media poll will have to pick a “zOMG WORST TEAM EVUR!!!!111” to champion. I nominate Buffalo. Or Western Michigan.
  • My ballot was:
    • East: BG, Akron, Ohio, Kent State, Buffalo, Miami, UMass
    • West: BSU, Toledo, NIU, CMU, EMU, WMU
    • My MAC Champion was BSU, Coach of the Year was Pete Lembo, and Player of the Year was Jahwan Edwards

That screams “homer pick” and in theory you could be right given how mine shook out, but you would be wrong in practice, as I also shared my working theory for why I picked the way I picked. I’m of the belief that BSU behind the running prowess of Quake wins the West. That explains why they are tops in that division and why he would be my Player of the Year. I had BG as E1 because of Johnson, and had the Cardinals tossing their second thumping in a month on the Falcons in Detroit. Why Lembo you ask? Because apparently the people “in the know” think BSU is going to have a God awful season with a drop off like no other MAC team. I’d say if CPL can win the conference with those expectations, then he’s a shoe-in for Coach of the Year. The rest of my picks were a mixture of educated guesses and unadulterated hatred. Massholes and boat oars sunk to the bottom of both my divisions and the rest were just a toss-up.

So there you go, boys and girls. If I could walk these down from Mt. Cardinal on two stone tablets, I would, and frankly, given the heat and humidity I wouldn’t mind wearing a flowing robe. And nothing else. HEY O! But yeah, MAC media day is tomorrow, so get yourself ready for some more fun from your friends here at OTP.

Athlon Would Like You to Welcome Your BSU Falcons

It was supposed to be a restful and relaxing Sunday evening at OTP Manor. I had a frosty beverage or three ready to rock for what I consider must watch television on the level of the first night of The Bachelor: the Miss USA pageant. No other television program outside of the premier of The Bachelor has so much of the human condition on display in one block of time. Success, failure, beauty, intelligence or lack thereof. It’s simply magical.

That spectrum of human emotion and fascination got put on hold though last night when friend of the Pylon and former fellow Maryland resident BallUHouston sent this along on Twitter:

Ball State Falcons

Yes, that says Ball State. Yes, that says Falcons. DOES NOT COMPUTE. Either Jo Ann Gora changed the mascot before she left or Athlon had made an egregious error in the publication of its fall preview piece for college football. Far be it for me to criticize someone for spelling or grammar mistakes, as Lord knows the history of this site will show that even the most mediocre of writers (read: me) will make a massive ass ton of them each day. But to my credit, I’ve never switched up the mascot of a team I covered quite so incorrectly.

Twitter exploded because of this, and great fun was had by all, most notably Athlon. To their credit, their college football editor Steven Lassan responded almost immediately apologizing for the error and saying he would pass it up to the right folks. The general Athlon Sports account responded as well and apologetically reminded us they do love Pete Lembo after I suggested he take them off the Lembo family Christmas Card list. Perhaps the greatest response of the night though goes to the Air Force Academy.

After friend of the Pylon Kodie Egenolf said he was a BSU Cardinal and also an Air Force Falcon and preferred Falcons to Cardinals, the Air Force Academy’s official athletics Twitter responded with this jewel:

AFA Ball State

Well played, Air Force Academy. Well played, indeed. In the end, Athlon apologized, I had a good laugh or three, BSU was a buzz on Twitter for a bit and Miss Nevada won Miss USA. All in all, a pretty eventful little Sunday. Go Falcons!

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.

 

Cardinals Lead Conference in Steele Mid-Season Teams with 12

steeleThere is no more of an “expert” in college football than Phil Steele. Each summer when his preview magazine/book is released, it’s a mad rush in the blogosphere and the college football universe to see what he’s said, who he’s ranked, and where they fall. Take a walk through a pressbox in the fall and I would put the over/under on the percentage of writers in the box that have Phil Steele’s mag in their bag at around 95% and you’d probably do well to take the over.

Phil Steele lives, breathes, eats, and probably poops college football. His Insider newsletter is one of the reasons why I’ve been able to actually make money betting on college football instead of just pissing money down the drain to be joined in neverland by so many hopes, dreams, and aspirations. So suffice to say, his opinion actually counts.

Why this is particularly relevant today is that Steele has released his midseason All-Conference teams, and the MAC has been Steele-d…

His BSU Selections:
Willie Snead, 1st Team WR
Jordan Hansel, 1st Team OG
Nathan Ollie, 1st Team DL
Jonathan Newsome, 1st Team DL
Jamill Smith, 1st Team KR
Keith Wenning, 2nd Team QB
Jahwan Edwards, 2nd Team RB
Jordan Williams, 2nd Team WR
Ben Ingle, 2nd Team LB
Brian Jones, 2nd Team DB
Matthew Page, 3rd Team OT
Scott Secor, 3rd Team K

I’d think an argument could be made for Wenning being 1st Team, but I am also well aware of the love affair that the nation is having with Jordan Lynch. At least for the next few weeks or so. Other than that, it’s pretty spot on, and I was glad to see Jordan Williams getting some MAC All-Conference love from one of the nation’s experts.

If you’re into numbers, that’s twelve Cardinals across the three teams. For comparison’s sake, NIU landed 11, BG landed 11, Toledo landed 9 (one of whom was on their once as WR and once as a KR), Buffalo landed 8, Central landed 6, Ohio landed 6, Western Michigan landed 5, Miami landed 4, Eastern Michigan landed 3, Kent State landed 2, UMass landed 2, and Akron landed 2.

You can check out Steele’s Midseason MAC All-Conference Teams here.

MAC Roundtable: Week 7

MacRoundTableAdmittedly, the MAC blogosphere has been an evolving little gem over the last several years. I guess as the MACtion on the field hit fever pitch, the MACtion on the web stepped up their game as well. What has also evolved is the MAC Roundtable. It’s not like King Arthur’s with turkey legs and wenches running around in corsets, because let’s be honest: turkey legs are a gigantic pain in the ass to eat and the service region for the MAC doesn’t lend itself well to females capable of squeezing into anything other than a giant rubbermaid trash can (Exception: the state of Indiana and BSU specifically). Have you seen some of the slumpbusters from Michigan and Ohio? Gooo. I’d rather spend an evening with a lit piece of sandpaper. But I digress.

The host of this week’s roundtable is BJ from FalconBlog, the outstanding BGSU blog. I think a good reason why I’m nowhere close to anti-BG is BJ’s work on his site. He was one of the folks we reached out to when we started this thing and was as helpful as could be. Plus, in football at least, BSU and BG just kind of do their own thing. They’re a non-combative enemy for the time being and there isn’t a ton of history. Unlike Buffalo. God, those guys are the worst.

Our Qs to his As…

1:  PJ Fleck.  He came in, young and brash.  They were walking on coals and getting highly ranked recruits.  Now a rough season…Fleck says the year has been “100% success.”  Is Fleck going to succeed or flame out spectacularly?

The flame that he’s already created makes Rome’s infamous fire seem like a hobo cooking situation, and there’s PJ doing his best Nero, sans fiddle, rowboat dancing all around the embers. The fact that he says this season is a 100% success makes me wonder what a 100% failure would look like. He’s winless, hapless, sort of a joke, and there’s really not a lot of gap between rock bottom and where this program is at. He’s the worst. Seriously. He’s like Lane Kiffin with less talent and that’s saying a lot. If I was a Western Michigan fan, I would just start rooting for Eastern. All of the losses, but only some of the lost dignity. My only hope is that he’s also a complete prick off the field. Rolling through Kalamazoo in a T-Top Trans Am with an eagle airbrushed on the hood, spinning donuts in old people’s yards and knocking off mailboxes with one of his boat oars while littering. And stealing things from children. He’s a joke. But the one good thing he has done is make Bill Cubit look like a serviceable head coach, so let’s take a minute and marvel at that spectacular feat.

2: NIU had a close call with Akron.  Is this just something that happens or do you think it exposed weakness for the Huskies?

Did someone say OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU? I hope that close call against Akron demonstrated their weakness, however, considering Ball State needed a last-minute touchdown to beat Kent State, it would be hard for me to sit in my glass mansion and throw boulders at OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU. Hard, but not impossible. Therefore, yes, it did exhibit significant weakness. I think OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU is a paper tiger and nowhere close to the buzzsaw that people are making them out to be. Their scores this season have been less than impressive, and in all reality, they haven’t really beaten anyone. Sure, they beat Iowa, but how hard is that? They thumped Purdue, but the Boilermakers can’t beat their meat this season, so that is also not impressive. Their weaknesses will cost them. For example, they can’t appreciate a good sunset. Whack, bro. They also don’t drink Jager bombs and ask random strangers “How much you bench?”. Why? Because they are weak. OUR MOST HATED RIVAL NIU is weak and it is my belief that the MAC West is ripe for regime change.

3: I have been proposing for some time that first downs be added as an individual stat.  What do you think?  Any other things you think could be added?

I like it. If for nothing else, it would give something meaningful for Western Michigan to shoot for. First down? ROW THE BOAT, MAN!!!! I think a stat like yards after contact or yards after catch assuming they are kept objectively would give a much more complete picture of an offensive team. Perhaps official pass deflections, etc. to let you know whether all those interceptions WMU is racking up are the QBs fault or just fluke luck. I’m a big proponent of anything that gives a more complete and accurate picture of established and accepted statistics is a good thing. But again, the key to that is the MAC doing it effectively and correctly, which they can’t do. Between the referees, the chain gangs, etc. I’m pretty sure the MAC would screw up a ball bearing.

CounterIntelligence: The IU Edition

From time to time, when able, we like to reach across the aisle to our brethren in the blogosphere and gain some insight about that week’s opponent. This week is no different, as we were approached by John from CrimsonQuarry about a Q&A exchange. As a point of information, despite the good natured fun and shots we take at IU and how we see it as a rivalry, John and his site are a great measured perspective on Hoosier athletics. Granted (and much like BSU) there are vocal groups of fans that don’t necessarily speak for the group, but John does a particularly good job from a blog perspective keeping a pretty objective and rational keel. You can read my responses to John’s questions here, and also peruse the comment section that accuses me of being a fictitious parody. Great fun and not the first time (nor last, probably) that the messageboards and blogs don’t take us seriously. Same thing happened in 2008 and 2011. Those two years worked out well.

1.) Obviously with Tre Roberson being injured that changes things a bit on the IU offensive side of the ball. What do BSU fans need to know about Cam Coffman?

John, CQ: Coffman played one year at the junior college level , at Arizona Western, and had some pretty solid recruiting interest coming out of high school. Although Rivals listed him as a “dual threat” quarterback, he definitely is a pass first QB, and was selected for this offense by offensive coordinator Seth Littrell, who is a Mike Leach protege. He certainly is talented, but I don’t have a sense of how he will respond in his first start. He played well on short notice against UMass, completing 16-22 passes, but obviously UMass isn’t very good.

2.) The BSU offense, especially the running game, seems to be hitting on all cylinders so far. Who are the keys to the IU defense that BSU fans need to be aware of?

John, CQ: Well, IU struggled to contain Indiana State’s Shakir Bell, so win or lose I am sure that the Cardinals will gain a bunch of yards on the ground. IU has experience at the DT positions, with Adam Replogle and Larry Black, Jr., and sophmore Mike Murphy has been solid over the last two seasons at safety. Sophomore Chase Hoobler, a linebacker, played quite a bit as a freshman as well. The defense is still young, and will give up some yards, but at least thus far it has been bend-but-don’t break instead of break-and-break-again.

3.) As one of the most measured and objective IU fans I know, what are your thoughts about Kevin Wilson and the future of IU football? When does the decision point come regarding the future of the program? What are realistic expectations that fans should keep in mind?

John, CQ: Given what you have said on your site about Wilson, perhaps my answer will have you doubting my objectivity. I liked the Wilson hire when IU made it, and I’m still in his corner. Wilson has an excellent background, coming out of the Cradle of Coaches at Miami, helping Randy Walker win a Big Ten title at Northwestern, of all places, and then spending the better part of a decade as the OC for Bob Stoops at Oklahoma. Obviously, the one piece missing from his resume was head coaching experience, and I think that showed last year. But he’s a smart guy, a great football mind, and has assembled a strong staff, so I do think the program is in good hands. For this season, I expect to see progress but recognize that it may not be accompanied by a major uptick in wins. Next year, I’ll expect to see more wins. As for “the decision point,” I don’t think it’s anywhere close. I think it would take a complete lack of progress for Wilson to get any less than the customary five years, absent a change in the leadership of the athletic department, which I don’t anticipate.

4.) Perhaps least important to the outcome but most important to my morbid curiosity is the IU fan support. Talk a little about the support from the general IU fanbase and what you expect on Saturday night. What would you like to see changed or addressed concerning IU fan participation and buy in?

John, CQ: I think fan support has been fine. IU drew 41,000 for the Indiana State game and I expect a larger crowd considering the weather, the 8 p.m. kickoff, and the opponent (Ball State will bring some fans and IU fans realize this is an important game). Fred Glass has done a great job marketing the program to students and families, and it has paid off so far. I think the program is in a good position, but in the long term, success is going to determine fan support.

5.) Prediction not only for the final score but flow of the game?

John, CQ: I anticipate a high scoring game. Both offenses have looked pretty good, and both defenses pretty suspect. I don’t think it will be easy, but I do think IU will prevail in a back-and-forth affair by something like 42-35.

Big thanks to John for putting this together. If you’re looking for IU information and/or commentary, CrimsonQuarry is a good place to start and really the only place you’ll need to go. Feel free to register for an account there and inform that this site and its leadership are actually real people.

 

Enemy Recon: South Florida

Rocky the Bull gives Charlie Cardinal a run and that means a lot from us.

Saturday marks the return to the football field for the Cardinals after the beatdown of the Hoosiers in Lucas Oil Stadium last Saturday. This also marks the first game for OTP’s fearless leader that he’ll be able to devote time on Saturday to cheering the Cards on without interruptions like a family wedding or a bevy of IU coeds that were surprisingly impressed that a BSU football blogger not only existed but would spend the game at Scotty’s Brewhouse in Bloomington and then meet them at Kilroy’s on Kirkwood. But I digress.

On Saturday, the Cards battle the South Florida Bulls in a game that Vegas feels like won’t be remotely close, as USF was pegged at 23-point favorites at last check. That remarkably high spread probably is a combination of folks thinking USF is the real deal after their upset of Notre Dame and folks thinking IU is far worse than we did before that game last weekend. So rather than rely on the Vegas oddsmakers, we decided to reach out to our friends across the blogosphere at VoodooFive, the SBNation home of the USF Bulls. Our awesome questions and their equally awesome responses…

OverThePylon: First of all, congrats on the win versus Notre Dame. In looking at the box score and the flukey nature of the delays, the turnovers, and the dominance via the stats, is this a win that USF fans feel good about or is there reason for worry? More importantly, I assume the win was one of the biggest in program history. Agreed? Worried about a letdown?

Vodoo5: I think most USF fans will feel great about the win even though Notre Dame crippled themselves with so many mistakes. Coach Holtz preached throughout the week that the Bulls’ defense just needed the Irish to keep snapping the ball. As long as they kept the Irish out of the end zone it gave the Bulls an opportunity to capitalize on possible miscues, and they did that to perfection. On offense, the Bulls kept it simple with a grind it out game plan to keep the Irish from collecting a big play on defense. Just the way Skip drew it up.

I think this is easily one of the Top 5 victories in USF history. The wins over Auburn and West Virginia in 2007 and Florida State in 2009 I think are a little higher but there aren’t many opportunities to beat a team with a history like Notre Dame.

OTP: Fans of BCS conference teams usually look at the MAC like a team not to be worried about. What’s the feeling about this particular opponent in the USF fanbase?

V5: I don’t think USF fans will take Ball State lightly. The victory against Indiana on Saturday showed everyone that you guys are a quality opponent and I came away impressed from watching the game during the week. Any USF fan who thinks that the Bulls just need to show up to win is foolish.

OTP: If you were crafting a gameplan for the Cardinals, what areas offensively and defensively are ripe for exploiting on the Bulls?

V5: I think your gameplan against Indiana in the first half would be the way to go. USF is pretty thin at defensive back after you get past the starting four, and the Bulls are content with being nickled and dimed instead of giving up the big play. Also the Bulls are a little thin at DT due to injuries to Demi Thompson and Todd Chandler’s ineligibility so those zone reads with Edwards could be effective.

On defense, try to keep B.J. Daniels in the pocket. Although he did well last week, Daniels has been pressured into some bad decisions before if he can’t create something with his legs. If he’s able to break loose for a couple big runs, look out though.

OTP: Who are some key players that BSU fans need to watch to try and tell early the outcome of the contest based on their performance?

V5: On offense, the two people to look for is QB B.J. Daniels and WR Sterling Griffin. Daniels really had a good game against Notre Dame. Obviously the stats won’t show it, but B.J. went through his progressions well and almost always found the open receiver. Daniels ran the ball effectively when needed, and had a knack of picking up 4 yards on 3rd down when USF needed 3 by whichever means necessary.

Griffin was primed for a big 2010 season before he had a fluke ankle injury during summer workouts and was forced to redshirt last year. Sterling was in a position battle with Terrence Mitchell after spring practice, but he excelled in fall camp and solidified his spot on the roster. Griffin found a way to get open on Saturday, and Daniels rewarded him with a 8 catch, 75 yard day.

On defense, watch out for DE Ryne Giddins. The sophomore was the highest prep player to ever sign with USF straight out of high school, and is primed to breakout this season. If he’s able to get a sack on Keith Wenning early on in the game, it will free up our other DL like Porkchop Grissom and Patrick Hampton.

OTP: Predictions on not only the score but the flow of the game?

V5: The line for this game (USF -23) is absurd. I think Ball State will slow down the game as much as you can with the spread and keep this really close for 3 quarters, but USF will slowly pull away in the 4th. I think the Bulls win a tight one 34-24.

An opposing fanbase that’s respectful and thinks the Cards are legit?!? After our experience against the Hoosiers that’s such a refreshing change of pace. Definitely check out VoodooFive, and you can see our responses to their questions about the Cardinals here.

We Rock the Pants off BHGP’s Podcast

I know you’re wondering what the rest of the blogosphere looks like. Clearly, you have no reason to venture away from your cozy little corner of the internet here at OverThePylon. We get it. It’s nice. It’s smarmy. It’s Ball State-y. And really, what more could you ever ask for from the internet that won’t either get you fired or locked in jail? But in case you’re ever wondering what else is out there, to spread your cyberwings so to speak, a stop at BlackHeartGoldPants is definitely in order.

The guys at BHGP are some of the frontrunners and leaders in this crazy blogging universe, not only because they follow a successful team and follow them well, but there’s more to it than that. Even their posts about Iowa wrestling are humorous and engaging for someone who knows nothing about wrestling after the Rockers broke up on Brutus’ Barbershop when I was a kid. And I’m pretty sure that isn’t the wrestling they cover, but damn it would be cool if it was.

But I digress. Check out BHGP whenever you can. Early. Often. Repetitively. Don’t let it get to you like that time you were booting black tar heroin and ended up selling all your worldly possessions and rolling dudes in the parking lot of a bowling alley, but at least check it out. And if you’re checking it out now, take a listen to the BlackHeartGoldPodcast, which your favorite Ball State expert checks in on about the Cardinals. It’s a little explicit and definitely not safe for work, so you’ve been warned.

Monday Funday for the Cardinals

Yay!!! Weekends are #1!

Oh, start of the week, how I loathe you. Just a few days ago it was cold beers and HD sports, now here we sit at a desk writing things that matter, solving problems that don’t, and generally counting down the hours until I am reunited with my first sexy love, the weekend, instead of this vindictive bag of bitch I live with now called the work week. Suddenly, I understand exactly why Tiger was so hellbent and determined to get some strange. Makes total sense, if you substitute “not working and having fun” with “banging a diner waitress”. Your welcome for the kick ass analogy, feel free to use it, since you’ll probably just steal it anyway.

News From the Nest

  • Doug Z has a nice little write up on Jamil Smith, the tiny albeit hard-working receiver for the Cardinals. It’s an interesting read, and something I’m sure many people can relate to if they ever felt undersized. Personally that’s never been a real sticking point for me as I’m pretty sure I was 5’8″ and weighed 137 when my mother expelled me from her uterus. Which after living a little bit of life, makes me feel sorry for my father.
  • The Star Press does a little human interest piece on Fan Jam and chats with a few folks about the experiences there. For a program struggling to find their place amidst the hotbed of college football known as Mid America (the geographical location, not the conference) anything you can do to draw people in is well worth the price. Free posters, free food and meeting the team are all good ways. Roll in some hot dog man and several kegs and you may just get the student body as well.
  • Former Card Nate Davis returned to Indiana on Sunday, playing with the 49ers in their preseason contest against the Colts. Nate’s stat line was actually pretty good, going 5/6 for 84 yards. It’s NFL preseason, so it means approximately nothing, but at least it was nice to see Davis play. Well.
  • Speaking of former Ball State players, Cowboys tackle Robert Brewster can scratch ESPN.com’s Matt Mosley off his Christmas card list and instead put him at the top of his “People to Punch in the Throat” list. Mosley’s recent blog about the Dallas offensive line had this to say about Brewster:

    I was eager to see how former third-round draft pick Robert Brewster performed at left tackle against the Raiders. And once again, he turned in a dud. Not even the optimistic Phillips will be able to praise Brewster after Thursday’s showing. His feet are stuck in neutral and there’s absolutely no anchor. When you watch him, he’s getting pushed directly toward the quarterback. He’s most susceptible to an outside speed rush right now, and that’s not a good sign. Brewster will keep getting chances, but I thought that was a poor showing. Brewster was also penalized for grabbing a defensive end as he raced past.

  • Kelly Page remembers one particular play from last season, namely the interception for a TD against Army which subsequently caused me to drink profusely at the bar we were at in Washington, DC. Glad it was as frustrating for you as it was for me, Kelly.

Around the Blogosphere

  • The blogging giant known as Spencer Hall, he of EverydayShouldBeSaturday fame, brings to you 100 Thoughts About the 2010 College Football Season. Read it, love it, wish you were him.
  • SBNation has introduced a catch-all MAC site called The Hustle Belt. I’m always curious to see how the sites that cover everything for multiple schools manage to make it all work, but it’s nice to see SBNation repping the MAC moreso than the one blog (Red and Black Attack) that’s on their network now. I understand why the MAC is left out, and while I understand, it doesn’t make it any less stinging that the conference is largely ruled irrelevant in terms of the major revenue sports. That won’t change until the conference itself changes for the better, and based on what’s been happening lately, I won’t hold my breath. Our sandbox isn’t the biggest or the flashiest, but it’s still damn fun and that’s alright with me.
  • VanDelay breaks the story and the subsequent insanity surrounding the MAC Football Media Day and the resulting voting and ranking from the mainstream f0lks. Normally, I would smarmily say something about how this dying industry has clearly lost touch with reality, how they should find the nearest blunt object and proceed to deposit it into their nether regions, so on and so forth. That is until…
  • BullRun decided to ask the MAC blogs of note how our media poll would look and it’s pretty much the same poll. Which troubles me a bit. OTP and yours truly did get the Homer Award or something like that for ranking Ball State higher than the rest of the group, and in some ways, that sort of validates me. I am unlike the rest of the MAC blogs, that were like the mainstream media, therefore, er go, OTP =/= mainstream media. Success suckers! We’re crazy alright… crazy like a fox.

17 days until the season opener. Time to jump on board the bandwagon or get run over by it. Go Cardinals!