If you are a Ball State fanatic, you are probably jumping out of your seat just thinking about football season arriving. It's amazing to see this gradual improvement the past few years for the football program in Muncie, and it is going to be exciting to see if this improvement can keep going. This year's Ball State football schedule features some very tough competition that will test Pete Lembo's Cardinals. Even though all the games are worth watching, there are 3 games that a Ball State football fan simply cannot miss in the upcoming season.
3. Ball State at Bowling Green 11/28/14
Last Time Played: Ball State: 17 Bowling Green State: 31 10/17/09
It's always exciting to have your team take a crack at the reigning conference champs, and that's why Ball State going up against Bowling Green is the number 3 must watch game of the season if you are a Ball State fan. These two teams haven't faced each other in 4 seasons, so it will be quite the treat to watch the Cardinals take on one of, if not the best, teams in the MAC. This is the last game of the regular season for Ball State, so this game could potentially be critical to Ball State going to the MAC championship (hopefully), or at least qualify for a bowl game. It will be a tough game for the Cardinals to say the least.
Bowling Green is going to have a dominating offense, led by QB Matt Johnson. Johnson could very well be the best QB in the MAC next year, so that passing game will be tough to stop. The Cardinal defense will also have to go up against an excellent RB, Travis Greene. Greene ran for a school record last year with 1594 yards, and averaged 5.7 yards on 279 carries. This offense is going to be a nightmare for Ball State, especially if their defense is as bad as it was last year. If you are a Ball State fan, you better hope that the defense gets it together this year.
2. Ball State at Iowa 9/6/14
Last Time Played: Ball State: 0 Iowa: 45 9/25/10
Anytime Ball State plays a major conference team, it has to be a must watch game. That's why the Cardinals traveling to Hawkeye country is the number two must watch game of this season for Ball State fans. Sure, no Cardinal fan is really expecting to come out of this game with a W, but crazier things have happened in college football. Really, it isn't even completely out of the question that the Cardinals could leave with the upset. Is it unlikely? Of course, but if you are a Ball State fan, all you can do is believe. The way I see it, if Northern Illinois can beat Iowa the year before, the Cardinals can do it as well. Especially if you take into consideration that Ball State will be taking the Bronze Stalk trophy from Northern Illinois later in the season (sorry Huskie fans). Chances are, Ball State will beat Colgate week 1 (knock on wood), So the way I see it, this game is pretty much the tone setter for this season. If the Cardinals can beat Iowa, or at least play them tough, that would be a huge momentum boost going forward in the season.
The toughest thing about getting through Iowa is finding a way to beat their defense. Iowa's defense is top notch, especially at limiting a team to few yards. Last year, the Hawkeyes gave up, on average, 303.1 yards per game, ranking them 6th best in the country, and 2nd in the Big Ten. If Ball State's offense isn't clicking because of the loss of some key players, this could be a very long day for the Cardinals.
1. Northern Illinois at Ball State 11/5/14
Last Time Played: Ball State: 27 Northern Illinois 48 11/13/13
There is nothing better than a evenly matched rivalry game, and if you are a Ball State fan, you are itching to get that Bronze Stalk trophy back to Muncie where it belongs. That is why this game is the number 1 must watch game if you are a Ball State fan. Let's face it, last year's game hurt bad if you were a fan of the Cardinals, knowing that was probably the deciding factor to whether or not you were going to go to the MAC championship. Really, that game could have went either way, but it just so happened to fall in the favor of the Huskies. If you are Ball State fan (like myself, if you couldn't already tell), you probably want some revenge. The Huskies and the Cardinals will probably be at the top of the MAC West along with Toledo this year, so this game could be vital to winning that side of the conference in order to go to the MAC championship. On top of the fact that they are two evenly matched teams, the game will be played at Scheumann Stadium in Muncie, Indiana. That is just the cherry on top for Ball State fans.
Even though Jordan Lynch has moved on, the Huskies are still going to be dangerous through the air. Tommylee Lewis and Da'Ron Brown are two exceptional receivers, and they are both going to be very dangerous next season. Ball State's secondary has got to be on top of its game in order to shut down this offense. If you are a Ball State fan, you better be circling this date on your calendar because it is going to be one heck of a game.