The Cardinal Curse –
By. E. Ransom Richter
Is losing 48 years’ worth of post season bowl games long enough to claim you have a curse? I think it is, but on January 5th the Ball State Cardinals have a shot at making history and destroying an almost half century old curse that I’ve dubbed, "The Cardinal Curse."
It all started back on December 14th, 1965 when Tennessee State bested Ball U 14-4 in the Grantland Rice Bowl. Two years later a return to the 1967 Grantland Rice bowl gave Ball State the same outcome. Eastern Kentucky dominated Ball State 27 - 13, leaving ball state 0-2 in post season bowl play. Fast forward 22 years without a post season bowl appearance to the 1989 California Raisin bowl, this was Ball States first Division 1 bowl game. Pesky Fresno State embarrassed BSU, scoring 27 points to their 6. However, Coach Paul Schude was not deterred, four years later he earned them a bid in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl, where Utah State won their first bowl game holding off the Cardinals 42 -33. This was Ball State highest scoring bowl game ever. Three years later a return to the 1996 Las Vegas bowl pushed the curse through the 90’s. Nevada won by a field goal scoring 18 to the Mac Champions 15. Eleven years went by with no post season play for the cursed Cardinals, until 2007, when Rutgers met them in Canada for the International Bowl. Rutgers man handled the cardinals 52-30, earning Ray Rice the MVP of the game. The following year is the one no one can forget, Brady Hoke and Nate Davis went undefeated in seasonal play, then lost the only two games that mattered. The Mac Championship to Buffalo and GMAC bowl (GO DADDY) to Tulsa. If the curse was going to be broken this was our best shot, but Tulsa prevailed 45-13, losing hope and gambling money for Cardinal fans everywhere. Let’s just forget Stan Parrish ever coached. Last year the honorable Pete Lembo gave it a go at the Beef O’Brady’s bowl, but the curse held strong, UCF ran over Ball State 38–17. Now are you a little bit more convinced of the curse?
I believe this is the year The Cardinal Curse will be broken, I believe Ball State will take the GoDaddy Bowl and leave Arkansas State very upset in Mobile, and I’m not just saying that because I am an Alumni. Wenning is a beast, 5th in passing yards, and surely getting picked up by a pro club. The same goes for Willie Snead the IV, he’s 4th in receiving yards and should at least get some type of professional pay check. All the odds makers favor Ball State. Most importantly Lembo hasn’t left, thank God Lembo hasn’t left! He can be the one to do it, he can be the one to lead Ball State to its first bowl game win and break The Cardinal Curse. However, if they play like they did at North Texas, the curse will be solidified. If they lose, Ball State needs to get David Letterman, John Schnatter, Jim Davis, and other alumni to pull some resources together, because clearly they’re not suffering from "The Cardinal Curse."
A link to the actual game footage of 1965 Grantland Rice Bowl, where the curse began http://libx.bsu.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/HistFilmVid/id/4