2013-14 Football Previews – (MAC) – Cardinals
Ball State used to be a perennial doormat in football, but that is no longer the case. The Cardinals put together a very good season in 2012. Ball State has been winning by outscoring its opponents. If they are going to take that next step toward a MAC title, they’ll have to be better on defense.
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In the past two years, the Cardinals defense has allowed exactly 416 points each season.
Mid-American Conference 2013 College Football Previews: Ball State Cardinals
Head Coach: Pete Lembo
2012 Record: 9-4
Ball State Gambling Odds from BetOnline to win BCS Championship: +2,000 (Part of Field)
Ball State Gambling Odds from BetOnline to win MAC: +600
Pete Lembo is a rising star in the coaching world, and Ball State might not be able to hold onto him much longer. Lembo has done a great job getting this program going again after they had a rough stretch in 2009 and 2010 before he came on board. Lembo has brought lots of excitement with his fast-paced offense.
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They should be exciting again this year. Do they have what it takes to move up in the MAC standings?
You could call just about every spot on this offense a team strength. Keith Wenning is the perfect fit for this offense. Wenning has a big arm and terrific presence in the pocket. He does a good job in decision making, which makes him perfect for this fast-paced offense. Wenning is a senior leader who will have total control of this offense.
Wenning has some great weapons on the outside. Willie Snead, Jamill Smith, and Connor Ryan are all very reliable on the outside. Smith is the biggest play maker of the bunch, and he’ll be one of the best kick returners in the league as well.
Adding to the amazing talent at the skill positions is the backfield of Jahwan Edwards and Horactio Banks. These two complement each other very well. Having two top tier running backs isn’t very common in the MAC, so Ball State will have the edge here most games.
On the other side, essentially every area of the defense could be called a weakness. When you are giving up 416 points per season, there are clearly some real problems. Ball State was 106th in the nation in rushing defense, and the front seven often gets beat in the trenches. The defensive line has a couple top talents, but there is no depth. Ball State is missing play makers at the linebacker spot in a big way.
Ball State’s secondary isn’t any good either. The Cardinals allowed 3,300 yards through the air last season, and there isn’t any help on the way. Eric Patterson is a solid cornerback, but the rest of the secondary is a big question mark. They aren’t helped by the fact that the front seven don’t get very much pressure on the quarterback. Expect a lot of big yardage through the air for opponents this year.
2013-2014 Ball State Football Prediction: 9-4
I’ll take Ball State to finish with an identical record as last year. The offense will probably be a little better than a year ago, but the defense is still a major problem. There are several teams in this league who have a decent defense, and I think it might be hard for Ball State to win the league by outscoring people every single game. Still, this will be an exciting team to watch in the year ahead!
2013 Cardinals Schedule
8/29/13 7:00 PM ET ILLST
9/7/13 12:00 PM ET ARMY
9/14/13 4:00 PM ET @NOTEX
9/21/13 1:00 PM ET @EMICH
9/28/13 3:00 PM ET TOL
10/5/13 TBD @VIRG
10/12/13 3:00 PM ET KENST
10/19/13 2:00 PM ET @WMICH
10/26/13 12:00 PM ET @AKR
11/6/13 8:00 PM ET CMICH
11/13/13 8:00 PM ET @NOILL
11/29/13 TBD MIAOH