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Ball State Football Preview Predictions and Schedule 2011
Ball State has had just two winning seasons over the last decade, 7-6 in 2007 and 12-2 in 2008 in a year that saw them ranked as high as #12 in the BCS poll. As often happens with coaches that have success with a minor conference like the MAC, coach Brady Hoke bolted to San Diego State before their Bowl game that year and it's been down hill every since. Offensive coordinator Stan Parrish took over an almost impossible situation that had him destined to fail.
Ball State brings in new coach Pete Lembo, who has had success at Lehigh and Elon, with a career record of 79-36 and he brings with him his defensive coordinator Jay Bateman. Lembo is an offensive guy that runs a no huddle offense that love to throw the ball. Elon ranked 2nd among all FCS teams last season with 322 yards per game through the air.
Ball State returns a good number of starters on both sides of the ball. Just how many is difficult to say as we get different numbers from several different sources. At least 7 on both sides of the ball, maybe more, including QB Keith Wenning.
Ball State was 4-8 a year ago, 3-5 in conference. The new no huddle approach that Lembo brings is bound to have some success, particularly in this first year as other MAC opponents will have to adjust. But Lembo and company may have their work cut out for them. The problem here is the gap between Ball State and the MAC elite. Ball State's wins and close games came against the lower echelon MAC Teams. Teams like Buffalo, Akron, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan. While they played Toledo to within a TD, games against Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Kent weren't even close.
Ball State is headed in the right direction. They'll have some success this year against the lower half of the MAC and should catch some teams off guard with the no huddle offense. But it's hard to imagine them closing the gap against teams they lost to by 30 and 40 points a year ago. It looks like another 4 or 5 win season and no Bowl appearance for the Ball State Cardinals in 2011. Their tough early schedule even includes a trip to Oklahoma to play the Sooners. Injuries could be a problem and they get Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan all in the 2nd half of their season.
2011 Ball State Football Schedule
Sept. 3 INDIANA
Sept. 10 at South Florida
Sept. 17 BUFFALO
Sept. 24 ARMY
Oct. 1 at Oklahoma
Oct. 8 TEMPLE
Oct. 15 at Ohio
Oct. 22 CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Oct. 29 at Western Michigan
Nov. 5 at Eastern Michigan
Nov. 15 at Northern Illinois
Nov. 25 TOLEDO
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