Friday, December 05, 2008
So this so called "real life" tends to interfere with blogging at times, and consider this day to be one of them. OTP won't be running a LiveBlog of the MAC Championship Game tonight, as your site's lovely authors are both busy either entertaining a houseful of people (Alan) or running roughshod over the streets of Chicago (RV).
We'll leave this post as the official comment thread for the pre-game, game itself, and post-game, and we'll try our best to check in periodically with thoughts, etc. Edge might be around tonight so you've got that going for you... which is nice.
As for the game, I'm nervous. Not necessarily because there's anything specific I'm worried about, as I think Ball State's offense will flourish with the extra time to prepare, an indoor turf, and a large and rowdy BSU contingent, but just because of the situation. I'm a Cardinal fan... it's ingrained into me to believe we're going to somehow screw this up. Hoke and company have found a way to navigate through 12 landmines already, and there's nothing about this game that makes me think he won't be able to do it again, but still. There's just something.
It might be Buffalo's balance. It could be the fact that Bulls' coach Turner Gill seemed oddly confident and almost nonchalant about facing the Cardinals. Perhaps it's the sheer number of wins, the dizzying bowl speculation going on recently, the gigantic chasm in the fanbase forming because of the decision to tell Boise State to stuff their bowl in their asses. It could be any and/or all of that.
When the cleats meet turf tonight, the fact remains that Buffalo will be facing arguably the best team they've played this season. Yes, I know they played Missouri. Yes, I stand by my statement. The Tigers hung 42 on UB, and expect Ball State to move the ball at will. When the Cardinals are on defense, they'll face Drew Willy. Willy has had a good year, doesn't make many mistakes, and his a nice running back in James Starks to take some of the balance on the offense. Willy is not a mobile QB, and that is what Ball State tends to struggle with. Without having to play a linebacker in spy, expect the Cardinals coverage to be solid. BJ Hill has had a rough close to the season, but will do good things tonight, as will his DB running mate Sean Baker.
When the clock hits triple zero in Detroit, Ball State will still be undefeated. My head says Ball State by at least 3 TDs, but for our official OTP prediction, we'll play it close and go 35-21 Ball State.
4:24 UPDATE: Cardinals QB Nate Davis is apparently battling a little outbreak of the flu. Doug Zaleski reports this from his Star Press webpage and states that it most likely won't keep Davis out of the game, but it is something to watch as the game unfolds. Link.
Comment thread... commence. Predictions, pre-game chatter, and in-game thoughts are welcome. Play nice, kiddies.