Tonight, the Ball State Cardinals host the Bowling Green Falcons in Muncie, Ind. at Scheumann Stadium in the regular season finale for both teams. The Cardinals are 3-8 and only have pride to play for, while the Falcons are 8-3 and have a date in Detroit next week. Will Ball State catch Bowling Green scoreboard watching and looking ahead? BSU beat these Falcons in last season's finale in Bowling Green, but they haven't beaten BGSU in Muncie since 1995.
Max D. (Ball State) and Matt D. (Bowling Green) are here to argue for their respective sides. It's time...to talk some sMACk!
Max: This matchup is all we've got left as the 2015 Cardinals. We're home at The Scheu, and we can ruin Bowling Green's momentum. Upset special? It's iffy, but I'm down to talk some sMACk.
Matt: So, I've got nothing but respect for Pete Lembo and Ball State, so I say this with all sincerity: I feel sorry for the Cardinals. It's bad enough that the MAC's worst defense is running up against the MAC's best offense, but they're facing an angry team. BGSU just committed one fewer turnover in a horrible loss to Toledo than they had in the 10 games before it. This offense is going to be looking for some redemption and to get back on track for the MAC Championship Game. I think the Cardinals can put points on the board, but how in the world are they going to keep up?
Max: Honestly, I'd be shocked if we did. Yes, Riley Neal and James Gilbert have this offense churning, but it's nowhere near the BGSU offense. Matty J will probably go off and that's saddening to me. I think Ball State has to defend the pass first to contain the points but that opens up room for the Bowling Green rushing attack. Ugh.
Matt: W0ith that said, there is precedent for Lembo to build on. Ball State did ruin BGSU's senior day last year after the Falcons were beaten by Toledo. Do you think they can make lightning strike twice? Because I don't. I mean, that fact is probably just going to make the Falcons even angrier.
Max: Yes, that'll make it worse. Ball State has talent, but it might just be over-matched. I hate to say it, but it might be ugly. It'll depend on Riley Neal's ability to create. What can we expect from the Falcon defense?
Matt: BGSU gives up yards and points, that's for sure. They're next-to-last (just ahead of BSU) in pass defense and then in the lower half of the MAC for everything else. The thing about the Falcon D is that it makes big plays in big situations. They're tied for 3rd in the MAC in sacks and are 4th in takeaways. Even after last week's debacle, they still lead the MAC in turnover margin. With their offense, that makes a big difference and is what helped lead to several big blowouts in the middle of the season. Teams that have succeeded against BGSU have run the ball a LOT. Can Ball State do that?
Max: Well, James Gilbert and Darien Green have both put together pretty good seasons. Both tailbacks are finding holes easily and Green has breakaway speed. Gilbert has been used on third downs and goal line situations to punch the ball through. The BSU rushing attack is good, it's the help through the air that sometimes fails. Turnovers haven't come in abundance for the Cardinals, but we're not flourishing from them either. It's iffy. Are you betting on the under or over?
Matt: Oh, it's BGSU and the weather should be favorable, so I'd definitely take the over on 71. I'd normally be hesitant to take the favorite when they're favored by 3 TDs on the road, but the Falcons are 8-3 against the spread this season. It should be close for a while, but BGSU pulls away for a 55-28 win. What do you say?
Max: I'll also take the over, in large part to the BGSU offense. I think the spread (unfortunately) gets covered. Ugh. Let me go... Bowling Green 52, Ball State 21.
What say you, fans of the Falcons and Cardinals? Will this be a blowout, or will it be full of #MACtion? Will the Falcons roll or can the Cardinals pull the upset two years in a row? Let us know in the poll and in the comments below.