Occasionally, I have to admit that fans of Auburn’s opponents might know one or two things about their team that I can’t glean from looking over their box scores and statistical rankings. (Occasionally.) One good way of discovering those things is by finding one of the fans of that team, and asking them questions.
And when the fans in question are as smart and funny as the Ball St. supporters at the always-excellent BSU-and-etc. blog OverThePylon, it becomes pretty much a no-brainer. So: what follows are my questions of OTP’s Alan on Ball St., Saturday’s game, and etc.; I returned the favor over at their place and you can read my A’s to their Q’s here.
1. I think we were all expecting BSU to take a step back from, you know, going 12-0 and all, but we didn’t see an ugly home loss to North Texas and an 0-3 start, either. Do you think Parrish can get the troops rallied enough to compete against a team like Auburn or will the shock mean we’re going to just see a sleepwalk special the rest of the year?
“Hell, the North Texas game was the least of our worries this season. Losing to an FCS school in New Hampshire, regardless of how “good” they are is embarrassing. Do we sleepwalk through the season? Who knows. And that’s not me being smarmy or dodgy… it’s simply the nature of the program now. If Alan of the future came here tonight and told me won out, I wouldn’t be all that surprised. If Alan of the future came here and told me we went 0-12, I wouldn’t be surprised either. That, unfortunately, is sort of the way it is when you have a team decimated by injuries, full of freshman, and their backs squarely pressed against the wall… it’s hard to say how they’re going to respond.
“To Parrish and this team’s credit, they haven’t been blown off the field. Each and every one of those losses could have just as easily been wins were it not for a couple flukey plays, some injuries, or penalties. It isn’t like a few years ago when we getting prison shower justice delivered week in and week out by gigantic BCS schools.”
“The thing that’s happened to the BSU running game was the graduation of 4 starters on the o-line that were dominant, aggressive, disciplined, and 4-year starters. Those sorts of players are damn hard to replace and frankly, that’s the reason why the offense has looked like a flaming bag of dog poop without the bag or the flames. Do I think Quale is as bad as the numbers have been? Of course not… this was a 1200 yard back last season. The problem is when there are no holes to run through, you can’t run at all. Think about it…”
3. To the point: do you see any way the Card defense slows down Auburn at all? If so, how?
“The defense for BSU hasn’t been that bad this season, in fact, most of the fans were pointing to this unit as the saving grace for the 2009 campaign. What isn’t going to help is Sean Baker missing the game. He’s a dominant safety and that injury (a broken hand) will hurt the minuscule chance we had of shutting them down.
“This defense has looked God awful at times, most likely because of a change in defensive scheme, from a 3-4 last season to this season’s 4-3. Though at times against North Texas and New Hampshire, it may have been a 0-0. At least that’s what it looked like.”
4. A win seems pretty much unthinkable at this point, so what are the Cards’ goals and/or expectations for this game? Aside from the moment when the check clears, what will make this trip a success for Ball St.?
“Well, I can’t speak for the team, but I can speak for me. My goal is to cross another stadium off my list, enjoy some fine southern hospitality, get some Zaxby’s, and just watch some college football. Whether the score is 70-0 or 21-20, I’m going to have a blast. However, my questions to Coach Parrish in the post game presser are going to be considerable different for those outcomes.
“For the team, this is clearly a payday game and the expectations for success are virtually nil. Auburn found us on Craigslist, they called us up, left the money in an envelope on the dresser, and then proceeded to lay the wood to us. That’s how it goes.”
5. Hey, you know who I just found out is a Ball St. alum? David Letterman! Who knew? I’d never heard that before this week, except for every single time I’ve ever heard Ball St. mentioned anywhere for any reason. I’m curious: are you guys sick of being David Letterman U. or are you still proud card-carrying fans of his?
“Not at all. I mean, we’d rather be known as the school that was 0-3 and then beat Auburn, but I’d like to be known as the Sexiest Man Alive. Neither of those things stand a very good chance of coming true. So, we take what we can get as a university… and having your school lauded on national television frequently, having a benefactor with the deep pockets like Dave, and having a ready made publicity machine ready to go should something big happen is pretty nice. Having said all that, I’m more of a Conan man.”