Category: Ball State Cardinals

MAC Championship - Bowling Green v Northern Illinois

MAC coaches tab Northern Illinois, Bowling Green preseason favorites

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Seemingly about a month behind their colleagues from other leagues, the MAC’s 13 coaches have released their predictions for the 2015 season. And they don’t look that different from years past.

League coaches see Northern Illinois and Bowling Green clashing for the conference championship in what would be the third straight meeting between the two programs. Bowling Green upset Northern Illinois 44-27 in the 2013 MAC championship, and Northern Illinois returned the favor with a 51-17 whipping last season.

Northern Illinois has won the MAC West Division five years running and leads all active members with six all-time appearances in Detroit.

Toledo was a close second in the West with five first-place votes and 67 total points to the Huskies’ seven and 70, respectively. Western Michigan garnered one first-place vote and 55 total points.

In the East, Ohio came in second with 64 points, 25 behind Bowling Green, but fourth-ranked Massachusetts received the only pair of first-place votes not bestowed upon the Falcons.

Full rankings below:

1. Bowling Green – 89 total points (11 first-place votes)
2. Ohio – 64
3. Akron – 60
4. Massachusetts – 57 (2)
5. Buffalo – 43
6. Miami (Ohio) – 30
7. Kent State – 21

1. Northern Illinois – 70 (7)
2. Toledo – 67 (5)
3. Western Michigan – 55 (1)
4. Ball State – 36
5. Central Michigan – 32
6. Eastern Michigan – 13

The 2015 MAC championship will take place Friday, Dec. 4 at Detroit’s Ford Field.


MAC extends commissioner Jon Steinbrecher through 2019-20

MAC Championship - Bowling Green v Northern Illinois
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The SEC, Big 12, and Sun Belt have all changed commissioners fairly recently and the Big Ten and ACC both have regime changes in their not-too-distant futures, but the MAC will enjoy a reign of continuity for the foreseeable future.

The conference announced Monday it had extended commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher through the 2019-20 academic year. He has run the Cleveland-based conference since 2009.

“I am very appreciative to the Council of Presidents and the confidence they have placed in me during my years as Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference,” Steinbrecher said in a statement. “We share the same vision and I look forward to continuing to lead this conference, our members and our students.”

Like his contemporaries, Steinbrecher has succeeded in extending the reach of his league and lining his membership’s pockets. The MAC recently inked a longterm extension with ESPN – think #MACtion – and another four-year deal with CBS Sports Network. He’s also expanded the MAC’s bowl lineup, moving beyond just the GoDaddy and Famous Idaho Potato bowls to create the Camellia, Boca Raton and Bahamas bowls.

On top of that, Steinbrecher also held on to his entire 12-team roster (remember: UMass resigns its football-only membership after this season) during the first and second rounds of realignment, making the MAC the only league in FBS to not change its membership during this era.

“He has performed extremely well and has been very efficient, specifically in the area of resource enhancement and management for all of our Conference Athletic Departments,” said Western Michigan president Dr. John Dunn. “Ultimately, he has enhanced the national profile of the Mid-American Conference, its programs and students. His national profile is very high as a result of his superior leadership, innovation and his positioning of the Conference office as a service organization for member universities. We look forward to continued growth under his leadership.”

52 college football centers named to Rimington Trophy watch list

Oregon State v Stanford

If your college football team has a center, there is a decent chance he has been named to the Rimington Trophy watch list, released Tuesday morning. Of the 128 teams in FBS and roughly 41 percent of those teams are represented on the Rimington Trophy watch list. Fortunately, this is reduced from the 64 names that appeared on the 2014 watch list.

The award for best center in college football has been presented by the Boomer Esiason Foundation since 2000. Auburn’s Reese Dismukes was handed the trophy last season. Michigan is the only school with multiple Rimington Trophy winners, although the Wolverines do not have a player on this watch list. This year’s Rimington Trophy winner will be recognized on January 16, 2016.


2015 Rimington Trophy Watch List

Siaosi Aiono, Utah

Jack Allen, Michigan State

Nick Beamish, Central Michigan

Dalton Bennett, Troy

Austin Blythe, Iowa

Deyshawn Bond, Cincinnati

Bo Bonnheim, Fresno State

Evan Boehm, Missouri

Jacoby Boren, Ohio State

Jake Brendel, UCLA

Freddie Burden, Georgia Tech

Josh Chester, Middle Tennessee

Lucas Crowley, North Carolina

Ryan Crozier, UConn

Ty Darlington, Oklahoma

Taylor Doyle, Texas

Kyle Friend, Temple

Kyle Fuller, Baylor

Max Halpin, Western Kentucky

Matt Hugenberg, Army

Joey Hunt, TCU

Jake Hurcombe, Eastern Michigan

Jared Kaster, Texas Tech

Nick Kelly, Arizona State

Ryan Kelly, Alabama

Alex Kelley, Colorado

Kayden Kirby, North Texas

Alan Knott, South Carolina

Robert Kugler, Purdue

Gabe Kuhn, Memphis

Taylor Lasecki, SMU

Eric Lee, UTEP

Nick Martin, Notre Dame

Mike Matthews, Texas A&M

Tim McAullife, Bowling Green

Josh Mitchell, Oregon State

Andrew Ness, Northern Illinois

Ryan Norton, Clemson

Alex Officer, Pittsburgh

Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia

Ethan Pocic, LSU

Spencer Pulley, Vanderbilt

Jacob Richard, Ball State

Michael Selby, Marshall

Graham Shuler, Stanford

Mitch Smothers, Arkansas

Matt Sparks, UMass

Austin Stephens, Utah State

Jon Toth, Kentucky

Max Tuerk, USC

Dan Voltz, Wisconsin

Kirby Wixson, Louisiana Tech

Ozzie Mann, one-time starting QB, transferring from Ball State

Ball State v Iowa

A player who began the 2014 season as Ball State’s starting quarterback will begin the 2015 season at a different football program entirely.

Monday, Ball State announced that Ozzie Mann has decided to transfer from the university and pursue other opportunities.  Where those other opportunities may be for the Indiana native is uncertain, although, if he ends up at another FBS program, he’ll be forced to sit out the 2015 season.

The fact that Mann lost out in this spring’s quarterback competition — Jack Miles, who took the starting job from Mann last year, took most of the first-team reps — seems to be the impetus for his decision.

“We want to thank Ozzie for his hard work and for representing our program in a first class manner,” head coach Pete Lembo said in a statement. “Depth chart decisions are never easy, but they need to be made. Ozzie has our full support and we will do whatever we can to help him with this next step in his career.”

Mann started six of the seven games in which he played last season, including the opener against Colgate.  For the season, he completed 116-of-197 passes for 1,281 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.

A two-star member of the Cardinals’ 2012 recruiting class, Mann played in six games in 2013 after redshirting as a true freshman.

Four new bowls apply for 2015-16 certifications, potentially bringing total to 43


It’s kind of funny, really. The reason given for so long that a College Football Playoff could not exist – eventual bracket creep that would inevitably ruin bowl season – has already consumed the bowl industry.

According to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy – the Edward R. Murrow of the bowl industry – the 2015-16 bowl season could have as many as 43 games after Orlando, Fla., Austin, Tex., Tucson, Ariz., and Little Rock, Ark., applied for certifications ahead of the NCAA deadline.

Forty-three bowl games equates to 86 teams. That’s more than two-thirds of FBS membership and well above the number of annual eligible teams based on current qualification standards. “Wednesday was the deadline for cities seeking to add a new bowl. The NCAA will make a decision in a few weeks whether to approve the games,” McMurphy notes.

Added an anonymous source: “As long as the standard to go to a bowl remains 6-6, commissioners will be pressured to have bowl games for all their conference teams to play in. That’s why you keep seeing more and more bowls added.”

The American Athletic Conference is the main source for the push. If each of the new games is approved, McMurphy notes, the AAC will have slots for nine of its 12 teams. So what we’re talking about is games between a 6-6 Temple and a a 6-6 Middle Tennessee.

Two things to note here:

1. Assuming all four games achieve certification that doesn’t necessarily mean there will actually be 43 bowl games following this season. Who’s to say fledgling bowl games in Birmingham or the like are actually coming back?

2. Ultimately, bowl games are exhibitions designed to draw television audiences. They’re TV shows. Those who care will watch and those who don’t will find something else to do. No one’s pointing a gun at anyone’s head here. If you complain about new bowl games while at the same time are not planning on watching the games your complaints are lobbied toward, one can only assume you also gather pitchforks and poster board every time Bravo announces its fall lineup.