Friday, October 24, 2008

Cardinal Roundtable: Eastern Michigan

In an effort to rally the troops of the blogosphere who share their affinity for the Ball State University Cardinals, OTP is proud to present the next installment of the Cardinal Roundtable. Each week, a different BSU blog will pose questions to the group about the upcoming game and the season in general. Brandon over at Ball U Nation is up this week, and the links to our Blog Buddy counterparts can be found at the bottom. Go Cards!

1. Las Vegas has us as 24-point favorites, would you take the over or under on that bet?
Truthfully, 24 points seems like a lot. As a bit of an amateur handicapper, I tend to stay away from lines this large. Just too hard to call, and realistically, at this point in the season, if BSU builds a lead of around 30 in the 4th quarter, I'd like to see some of the 2nd stringers get some snaps to avoid injury. That leads to garbage time, and garbage TDs for the opposing offenses. Having said all of that, I would take the Cardinals and lay the 24.

The Cards have performed exceptionally well against the spread this season (7-0) because they were severely undervalued and an unknown quantity. That's beginning to change, and as such, the guys who set lines try to get equal action. There's a reason teams with large fan bases sometimes have absurd lines... it's to even out the action. Vegas doesn't care about who wins or loses, and they don't do this as an indication of who's better. They simply set a line to get as close to equal amounts as possible bet on each side of the ledger.

EMU is playing competitive football, for sure. They've lost two in a row to Akron and Army, but by a combined 11 points. What makes me lay the points most of all is the fact that EMU let Maryland score 51. That's bad. As someone intimately familiar with the Maryland team this year, that means EMU has some problems on the defensive side of the ball.

2. In this week's polls, the Cardinals are ranked 20th. In your opinion is this too high, too low, or just right?
The fan in me says it's ridiculously low. And rational me might agree. In the latest edition of the OTP blogpoll, we had BSU at 15th. The national blogpoll had them at 19th. I think in truth, past the first ten or so teams, the poll becomes irrelevant and awash in human bias and general crappery. Do I think BSU is one of the 10 best teams in the country? I don't know. I know the cynic in me says the things everyone does... this team hasn't been remotely tested. Their quality wins aren't really all that high quality and they have no marquee victories.

3. Eastern Michigan has been terrible as long as I've been paying attention to MAC football, are you worried at all about this game or is it a guaranteed blow-out win for us?
I'm worried in the fact that I've been following BSU football for a number of years and I don't have the luxury of being able to take any team for granted. Do I think BSU is the better team? Absolutely. Do I think we're capable of playing a C+ style of game and still get the W? Absolutely not. A game like this worries me only for the fact that the Cardinals have started slow offensively the last couple games. The longer you let a team hang around, the more confidence they gain, and the chances for an upset skyrocket. The Cardinals need to jump ahead early, score often, and break the spirit of this EMU team. That's how we get to blow-outs.

4. If you could save one Eastern Michigan player and make him a Cardinal, who would it be and why?
Daniel Holtzclaw is the easy answer. He's an All-MAC selection at linebacker and a preseason Lombardi candidate.

5. Coming out of the bye week, what do the Cardinals need to do to stay undefeated in the second half?
Well, the smart ass answer is win. But that's a tall order against upcoming opponents. BSU has one more savory little cupcake in EMU to feast on and they'll be 8-0. Then the fun starts. Northern Illinois. Miami. Central Michigan. Western Michigan. 4 games. And no 4 games have ever meant more to a football program than those 4.

The other Roundtable Participants:

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