Central Michigan-Ball State is so bad it must be good.
It’s the football version of a pug.
For the first time in over a month, Muncie, Indiana, will host a college football game, and Vegas has no clue what to do with it.
Central Michigan opened as a 2.5-point favorite against Ball State, but let’s be real, nobody has any idea how this game between two below average teams will go.
That, my friends, is why Saturday will be good.
How We Got Here
Central Michigan opened its season as a five touchdown favorite against Rhode Island, needing three overtimes to beat them. Ball State opened at Illinois with a heartbreaking loss. Central Michigan followed that performance by beating Kansas by three scores, while Ball State beat UAB by same amount.
Ball State was outscored 86–6 by Western Michigan and Akron the last two weeks. On the season, the Cardinals’ leading rusher has fewer than 400 yards (the same can be said of the Chippewas). Backup quarterback Jack Milas, in relief of the injured Riley Neal, has not thrown a touchdown pass in three starts, but has thrown six interceptions.
Sure, Central Michigan followed a near-loss to an awful FCS school by beating a P5 team by 18 on the road, but this wasn’t your average P5 team. This was Kansas. And, oh man, the Jayhawks are awful.
Kansas has won just three games over the past three years and are 1–5 in 2017. But in reality, it’s worse than that. Over the past two weeks, KU’s defense has allowed 110 points and over 1000 yards of offense to Texas Tech and Iowa State.The Jayhawks’ only victory this season was over Southeast Missouri State, whose boasts two victories over FCS schools with one combined win.
But enough about Kansas’ futility. Back to CMU and Ball State.
Maybe the Chippewas are on the up. Two weeks ago they set the MAC East ablaze, beating Ohio 26–23 on the road thanks to a ridiculous blocked field goal returned for a touchdown before the end of the first half (Ohio also beat Kansas).
Then last week they were completely dominated by Toledo and would have joined the Cardinals in the “Only Field Goals Club” if it wasn’t for a late garbage time touchdown.
What to Watch for
It’s Homecoming on Saturday at Ball State, meaning there will be 3–4 times as many students in the parking lots than in the stadium. I’ll be there, sure, but I’ll be helping cover the game for the Ball State Daily News.
As a fan of the air raid and the spread offenses, I am intrigued to see Central Michigan’s offense. They’re currently 12th in the country in pass attempts per game with 41.7, and since the Kansas game they’ve failed to put 30 points on the board in a game.
CMU quarterback Shane Morris is barely completing 55 percent of his passes on the season, and Ball State’s offense isn’t very good either. The Cardinals have focused on establishing their run game, but are still throwing the ball nearly 40 times a game.
Saturday could also be the debut of redshirt freshman quarterback Zack Blair. He’s made appearances in each of Ball State’s last two games and may replace Milas as the starter until Neal is healthy.
Anyway, both these offenses have to pass the ball because of either necessity or the game plan and it hasn’t gone very well. Ball State is completing under 51 percent of its passes since Milas took over.
Something has to give on Saturday. Somebody has to score points. This game has every reason to be bad, so you know it’s going to be good.