Ball St Cardinals 2023 College Football Preview

Ball St Cardinals 2023 College Football Preview

June 19, 2023

2022 Recap

Record – 5-7

ATS – 5-6 (vs FBS)

The Cardinals snatched DEFEAT from the jaws of VICTORY in terms of getting to a bowl game as they lost their final three games after starting the year at 5-4. The season finale was particularly gut-wrenching as they fell to rival Miami Ohio by one point (L 18-17) in the epic battle for the Red Bird Rivalry Trophy. Can Ball St turn things around and become a player in the MAC West this season?

Ball St Cardinals 2023 Outlook


Things are gonna look different on offense this year and that’s a good thing. Ball St averaged a mere 23 PPG LY (#98) as they did a decent job moving the ball at times (384 YPG, #4 MAC) but couldn’t SCORE THE FOOTBALL. QB John Paddock averaged an impossibly-low 5.7 YPA in 480 throws (!) LY but the Cardinals are hoping for a major upgrade given the transfer of veteran gunslinger Layne Hatcher who’s thrown for over 10,000 (!) yards (84 TD) during his time with Arkansas St and Texas St. In terms of THROW GAME weaponry, the WR room looks extremely suspect as they lost their top-two receivers, but thankfully the Cardinals have a deadly pair of pass-catching TEs in Brady Hunt and Tanner Koziol who combined to catch 81 balls and 12 TD passes in 2022. Ball St took a devastating hit with the loss of 2022 MAC leading rusher Carson Steele (1,556) but did a fine job in the reloading process as they snagged Marquez Cooper from Kent St who just happened to be #2 in the MAC in rushing yards LY (1,331, 13 TD). The offensive line returns three starters and should be ok. Ultimately, the success of the offense is going to be dependent upon finding some legit doods at WR. We’ll keep an eye on things over the summer months.


Ball St was solid vs the pass LY (#21 FBS pass efficiency D, 6.2 YPA) but they were ripped apart by opponents’ ground attacks (182 YPG, #104). It could be BIZARRO WORLD reversal time in 2023 as the secondary looks to be in major trouble with an entire collection of new starters whilst the front seven is talented and experienced. They’ve got a ton of experience returning at DL and LB including the prime 1-2 combo at LB of Clayton Coll and Cole Pearce who combined for 195 tackles and 7 sacks in 2022. The entire starting unit is back up front and we expect improved play vs the run and adequate PENETRATION. Things look decent overall but there could be carnage when Ball St goes against potent air attacks.


Ball St is set at punter with the return of Aussie Lucas Burrow (41.4) but they’ll need to find a new PK. It also stings to lose KR Amechi Uzodinma (23.4).

Schedule Analysis

Overall – It’s HEADS ON A PLATTER time ** early on as Ball St goes on the road to face Kentucky and Georgia in back-to-back weeks. Things get significantly easier after that (Indiana St, Georgia Southern) and they catch a yuuuge break missing Ohio and Buffalo from the East.

** easy, Karen. That’s just a figure of speech. Hey, what happened to your 3rd mask? Two isn’t enough..

Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Bowling Green (Nov 1)

This could be a letdown spot as they’ll be coming off four consecutive games vs teams from the West division.

Season Win Total

Market consensus June 19 <wide range of prices available>

Over 5 -125

Under 5 -105


Lean: Over

We aren’t 100% sold yet but they should be good enough to win three or four MAC games.

MEGAmazing Tidbit

Don’t forget to check out the David Letterman Communication and Media Building when getting a tour of the Ball St campus. For those YOUNG SPARKIES out there, Letterman was a famous late-night TV star in the days before all the hosts weren’t Communists and/or shills for Big Pharma.


Ball St is one of the tougher teams to figure out. What we do know is that HC Mike Neu has a career record of 33-48 with Ball St and he’ll be on the HOT SEAT this season. They look pretty weak at WR and in the secondary but definitely have enough talent to compete in the majority of MAC contests. We’ll call for five or six wins and potential bowl eligibility if things break right.