Ask any dedicated blogger and they will tell you that the key to any successful site, regardless of the quality of the information, analysis, or writing, is the interaction of a fanbase, a readership, and those who waste their days here trolling for news, nuggets, and sheer awesomeness. It is for that interaction that we are proud to introduce our newest feature here at OTP... the Mailbag! The chance for you, our readers, to ask the guys who run this place their take on various things. Football, life, etc. Take it away, Mr. McFeely!
Why do you guys bother with all of this?
Alan: I do it for the chicks. The chicks that troll the interwebs looking for coverage of Ball State and Kentucky football. Because they are smokin' hot and know all about the triple option and spread. Get it? No? Fine. Mostly because it isn't being done, or wasn't when we started. I think most of us who contribute to the site make college football and the people who cover it anecdotally a daily part of life, and we felt we could do it too. It's a labor of love, as it isn't nearly as easy as it seems. There's only so much football information to even cover on a random April Tuesday. That, dear reader, is when you begin to formulate ideas about superhero columnists eating family pets in order to get an inside scoop of the draft. It's genius, and it's lightning in a bottle.
Edge: Or you get ridiculously bored and make fake conversations and lists. Thank you, Percy Harvin. Like Alan said... April is rough for college football. But doesn't Ball State deserve an awesome blog with some witty staff members (and little-to-no social lives)? Yes. Yes, it does.
RV: I certainly don't do it for the girls. That's when my penchant for hookers comes into play. Frankly, I think we all get tired of yelling in each other's general direction and want to bring it to a more appreciative audience. I'm also a glory whore and think I know more about college football than anyone else.
Alan: Debatable. RV is sort of the Erin Andrews of OTP. Decent to look at, better than you thought they were going to be, but I would suggest leaving the heavy lifting to the Herbie and Fowler of Edge and myself.
What are your predictions for (BSU running back) MiQuale (Lewis) this year? How will he fare without last years o-line and high profiled pass-attack? How about the running game overall?
Alan: I think the offensive line will be nowhere near as good as last year, but nowhere close to what the Legion of Doom is saying they will be. The LOD is a fickle bunch, who though I am confident are actually BSU fans, just simply assume the worst. Sure, there will be growing pains, but the fact remains that this is a team that has all the pieces to succeed. As for the success of Quale, it totally depends on the passing game. If new QB Kelly Page can put some pressure on a defense to cover deep or even not stack large numbers of players in the box, then Quale can have great success. My prediction? Somewhere around 1150 yards and a bakers dozen in TDs.
RV: I actually think MiQuale is going to end up splitting a lot of carries this year. We really don't know much about anything that's going to happen, and we won't know much till quite a few games into the season. If I was in charge, I would push the running game as much as possible, but I'm not. So, we might see Stan leaning more on Kelly than most of us would be comfortable. I'm pretty happy with the RB corp that we have coming into the year and I'd like to see them get as many carries as possible.
Which game scares you the most on the schedule?
Alan: The easy answer is Auburn, simply because it's on the road and it's against an SEC team. By mere circumstance alone, the SEC's third string would be borderline starters at most MAC schools, so the talent difference in first units is staggering. However, a loss here really doesn't impact the season all that much. My goal for the Cardinals is a MAC Championship, and that only comes by beating MAC teams. So the game I'm most worried about is Western Michigan. Road game. November. It's going to be tough.
Edge: Western. It's the end of our little marathon run in November, and it's on the road. If we're not beaten and bloodied from Northern and Central before we play Western, we sure as shit will be afterwards.
RV: Central. LeFevour is a force to be reckoned with and will continue to put up points. That was a great game last year and I'm not looking forward to Ray and Co. making it the worst game experience possible.
Who is going to be the best offensive player that we will face and have a hard time slowing down this year?
Alan: I would have to go with Tim Hiller, though Dan LeFevour scares me as well. Both those players are capable of taking over games and simply willing their team to victory, a luxury Ball State had for 12 games last year with Nate Davis and company. If they are on and clicking, it will be hard for any team to stop them. But it can be done. In looking at the sched for 09, there is no single player that I think our defense just cannot handle.
RV: LeFevour creates a problem that is very difficult to account for, especially in the MAC. Tim Hiller is a special QB, but there are ways to stop him (which Edge and I have discussed before). LeFevour, when he's on, is very difficult to stop and I'm not sure the Cards will be prepared for his assault.
What would you consider the best gameday experience in all of college football?
Alan: I have been to a few, but not all, so my perspective is certainly limited. The Swamp at Florida is amazing. That many people, all fired up, ready to take a snap themselves, just sweltering in Florida sun. It's a special bunch down there in Gainesville. I think the Grove at Ole Miss is one of the Wonders of the World. Southern women alone make a place special, but throw in the history, the fans, and the tradition, and it's like Derby Day every weekend. There are little things I like about other places... My Old Kentucky Home on senior day in Lexington, The T in Knoxville, and "We Are. Penn State". All great atmospheres. However, my money, and support, goes to Notre Dame for best gameday experience. It's epic. It's historic. It's legendary. All in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus. For my money, there is no better place to watch a game or get ready to watch a game, than Notre Dame.
Edge: What about Georgia Tech homecoming 2003, Alan? That was pretty badass. Finding an accomodating bunch of fraternity brothers, getting canned, getting sunburned, and seeing some good ol' Southern football.
RV: This is an easy one. Notre Dame Stadium. I don't even need to discuss why, because if you deny that it's the shit, you're just a liar.
Alan: Or a homer. Which is ironic in and of itself.
RV: Maybe you should define 'homer' for the good of our readership. Since, evidently, you define it differently than most people.