Ball St Cardinals 2022 College Football Preview
June 29, 2022
Record – 6-7
ATS – 4-9
The Cardinals were hoping for better things last year in the follow-up to the MAC Championship booked during the 2020 SCAMDEMIC season but it wasn’t meant to be. They rattled off three impressive wins in a row at midseason (Army, Broncos, Eagles) but proceeded to lose three of their next four contests. There was a chance to book back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2013 but they got smoked by Georgia St in the Camellia Bowl (L 51-20).
Ball St Cardinals 2022 Outlook
The Cardinals had a rough time getting anything going LY and could only churn out 338 YPG. Only Bowling Green was worse in that department among MACtion squads. They look pretty good at RB and WR heading into 2022, particularly with the return of RB Carson Steele who looks like one of the premier backs in the MAC (891, 6 TD LY). Steele booked 20+ carries in each of the last four regular season games and should be a workhorse. Four of the top-five receiving yardage leaders are back including WR Jayshon Jackson (829, 5 TD) but they’ll certainly miss the talented and reliable Justin Hall. QB is a major area of concern given the departure of the ageless Drew Plitt (program #3 all-time passer) and it’s unclear what to expect from John Paddock who only threw 26 passes LY. Three starters return up front to a unit that was mediocre in 2021 (injuries didn’t help) but they have good size. It’s hard to get too excited about the offense before we get a longer look at Paddock but they should be able to do good things on the ground.
The defense was average across the board in 2021 (#6 MAC total D, #5 run D, #6 pass efficiency D) but they did manage to pick off 15 passes (#2 MAC). Only five starters return for battle and they need to replace five of their top-six tacklers including at pair of doods that booked 100+ (Jaylin Thomas, Bryce Cosby). The DL is in good shape with the return of sack leader DE Tavion Woodard (5) and the transfer of DE Kyle King from Michigan St. We’re not as crazy about the prospects for the LB and DB groups given the loss of several talented veterans but MLB Clayton Coll is rock solid. Hopefully they can find a way to get that pass rush into a higher gear (23 LY, #T8 MAC).
RUH ROH. It’s a total rebuilding project and they’ll especially miss ace KR/PR Justin Hall. Even their ST coach is gone. Note that the INTREPID Phil Steele rated Ball St #5 (!) in the FBS on special teams in 2021. Expect struggles in 2022.
Overall – It’s an interesting start with a BODY BAG game week one (at Vols) followed by their MAC opener in week two (Western Michigan). There’s a tough draw out of the East to deal with as they hit the road to face Miami Ohio and Kent St, and they miss playing Akron. There’s only one home game in November.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – October 15th – Connecticut
This is a SANDWICH spot between two MACtion contests (Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan) and HC Mike Neu is just 7-12 ATS as home chalk.
Season Win Total
per BetOnline June 29
Over 5.5 +115
Under 5.5 -145
It’s not impossible to imagine them getting to six wins but it won’t be easy in a competitive MAC West. 88 of our 97 models project them to win five or six games.
Despite bagging six wins and making a bowl game in 2021 the Cardinals managed to lose by 20+ points on four different occasions.
It’s gonna be a grind for these guys to get back to a bowl game. They’ve lost a lot of key contributors on defense and special teams and will be working with a new starting QB. The good news? They’ll be in a lot of close games and could find a way to win four or five MACtion tilts. We’ll grudgingly call for them to just miss out on a bowl game.
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