2017 Football Preview – MAC – Cardinals
Looking for 2017 Ball State Cardinals predictions? The Cardinals endured a very tough 2016 season finishing with a 4-8 record, and they looked very outmatched in many of the games. This team is going to be young, and the expectations will be low, and this season will be more about building for the future then it is the final record for this year. The success this year will be measured by the amount the players grow, not if the team make a bowl game or not.
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- Head Coach: Mike Neu
- 2016 Record: 4-8
- Ball State Cardinals Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: +50000
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But can the Cardinals surprise some people this year, and make a Bowl Game?
2017 Ball State Cardinals Predictions: Team Strengths
Star in the Backfield: For the Ball State Cardinals this offense revolves all around the running back position. James Gilbert was a star last year, and he could be an All American this year, if the team has a bit better results.
Last year he rushed for 1332 yards and 12 touchdowns. He had a very impressive yards per carry last year of 5.3. In eight games last year he rushed for 100 yards or more.
Against Buffalo he had a breakout game rushing for 264 yards, two touchdowns, and had an average carry of over seven yards.
If he can continue to rush the way he did last year, he will be able to open the passing game, and the offense will run better as a whole. If the Cardinals want to take a step forward and reach a bowl game, he is going to have to have a season for the ages.
Strong Kicker: If the Kicker is one of the main strengths of your team, that probably isn’t a good sign about how you will fair on the season, but they have special kicker.
Morgan Hagee is back for his junior year, and over his career he has been almost automatic inside the 40 yard line. On such kicks in his career he is 26 of 28.
The one problem he has is his leg doesn’t kick much farther then 40 yards. He doesn’t have a kick made over 45 yards, and he needs to improve that if he wants to take the next step in his kicking career.
2017 Ball State Cardinals Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Will the Defense Be Any Better?: There was a lot of weaknesses last year on the Cardinals, but the biggest was on the defensive side of the ball.
They allowed opposing teams to gain over 470 yards per game on them, which was worst in the conference. They really need to improve that, even if it just by ten yards a game to at least show some sort of improvement.
The other issue they had last year was they didn’t force many turnovers, and that was a big focus in off season training. Last year they only forced 14 turnovers. When the offense doesn’t score a ton of points, the defense has to help create, and that just didn’t happen last year.
Getting In the End Zone: The offense had no issue moving the ball, but once they got in the red zone they really started to struggle.
They didn’t put the ball in the end zone enough and they need to stop settling for field goals if they want to reach that bowl game.
Ball State Cardinals Prediction: 6-6
They are playing on the weaker side of the division in the MAC conference and I think that will really help their chances for a bowl game.
They start the season against Illinois, and that is a very winnable game and I think that will start their season on the right foot.
I think they will do enough to get to 6-6 and get back to a bowl game.
2017 Ball State Cardinals Football Schedule
- 9/2/17 12:00 PM ET @ILL
- 9/9/17 3:00 PM ET UAB
- 9/16/17 3:00 PM ET TNTC
- 9/23/17 7:00 PM ET @WKU
- 9/30/17 TBD @WMU
- 10/7/17 3:30 PM ET @AKR
- 10/21/17 3:00 PM ET CMU
- 10/26/17 7:00 PM ET TOL
- 11/2/17 TBD @EMU
- 11/9/17 TBD @NIU
- 11/16/17 TBD BUFF
- 11/21/17 TBD M-OH
What do you think about our 2017 Ball State Cardinals predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2017!
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