Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Cardinal Roundtable: NIU

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. We're up this week, and the links to our Blog Buddy counterparts can be found at the bottom. Go Cards!

1.) So... Northern Illinois. On a scale of none to sheer panic, how worried are you about the Huskies coming into Muncie and getting the victory?
Part of me says to be worried just because this season so far seems a bit too good to be true. And while NIU is a good team, they are not on the same talent level as Ball State. Could NIU win this game? Of course. But that would require the Ball State offense to lay a proverbial egg and the NIU offense to break out for a big game. Two large improbables, but certainly possible. If we're talking 1-10 with 10 being looking for a stool and a rope for after the game, I'm about a 3. If BSU shows up, plays hard, and takes this team serious, this is a big win for the Cardinals.

2.) There are four teams currently ranked ahead of us in the BCS. BYU, Boise State, TCU, and Utah. Do any of these teams win out? Where would you rank Ball State's chances of making a BCS game at this point.
Do I think all 4 of those teams win out? No. But I do think Boise State has a legit shot at doing that. Ball State ultimately cannot control the teams ahead of them, but they can control their own destiny in terms of wins and losses, and given this season so far and the epic rash of upsets here and there, all hope isn't lost for Ball State. Should the Cardinals lose a game somewhere along the way, it's all a moot point anyway.

3.) NIU checks in at 5-3 and 4-1 in the MAC. What do their wins, losses, and opponents tell you about this team?
NIU has lost 3 games by a combined 11 points. Their three losses have come against Minnesota, Tennessee, and Western Michigan, all on the road. This is a good football team, but they have struggled on the road this season. If this game was being played in Dekalb, I would be extremely worried.

4.) What Northern Illinois player would you like to pick up for this Ball State team and why?
In order to replace Dante Love, I'll select Matt Simon. Simon is an explosive playmaker at wideout, and that's something that the Cardinals have been lacking since Love was injured. It's not a coincidence that this team has been offensively stagnant since they lost their spark.

5.) This looks to be a classic case of a great offense versus a great defense. What do you expect from this Cardinal offense? What's your prediction for the game?
The realist in me says the first half is close, probably a 7 to 10 point margin at halftime. After the half, Ball State begins to pull away and the defense puts the clamps down to secure a 17-21 point win. MiQuale Lewis didn't run it much last game, so he may be itching to get going and put up some big numbers. How the Cardinals run offense performs against the NIU front 7 will tell us much about how this game will go.

Other Roundtable Participants:

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