Ball State Cardinals Vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles 8/30/12 Mark’s Free College Football Pick Against the Spread
The Eastern Michigan Eagles and Ball State Cardinals open their season and conference schedule in Muncie.
Eastern Michigan finished 2011 at 6-6 which is quite successful for a team that has been pushed around for years. The Eagles had shown some positive signs in 2010 but it wasn't until last season where this team really broke out with a ball control attack and a stingy defense that was meant to hide their flaws which were still many. The biggest flaw was on the offensive side of the football where the Eagles averaged 345 yards in '11 but were one dimensional with the rushing attack accounting for 218 yards. The problem was EMU could grind it out on the ground but couldn't throw the ball at all and QB Alex Gillett was pummeled early and often. The defense was the strength of the Eagles which combined with their grind it out attack to shorten the game and control the scoreboard which kept Eastern Michigan competitive.
Ball State ended last season with a 6-6 record and was never a serious contender for a postseason berth. However, the Cardinals played like champions at times but unfortunately also looked lost at others. That might be a long winded way of saying this team was inconsistent as we never knew what to expect from week to week. The Cardinals averaged around 380 yards per game in 2011 with QB Keith Wenning and the receiving corps accounting for 241 yards which was #53 in the country. The Cardinals scored 25 points per game and with eight starters back, should approach or surpass these numbers. The issue facing Ball State are mainly on defense where five starters return from a unit that was blitzed for over 500 yards and struggled to stop the pass and run and were allowing nearly 35 points.
This should be an interesting match up with two teams that have plenty of players back on offense but are missing so much defensively. The Cardinals won this game 33-31 in 2012 and with both teams loaded on the attack I can see the same type of outcome. I also expect this to be hard fought and close so I'll side with the Eagles and the points...