The Mid-American Conference the 2017 football season on Wednesday afternoon. 

Second-year head coach Mike Neu and the Cardinals will begin the season at Illinois on Sept. 2. The matchup will mark the fourth consecutive year the Cardinals have faced a Big Ten opponent.

MAC play for the Cardinals begins with a trip to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to take on defending conference champion Western Michigan on Sept. 30. The matchup will make the first time in two years that conference games start in September for Neu's squad. The Cardinals follow that up a week later with a trip to Akron to take on Ohio before a bye week on Oct. 14. 

2017 Football schedule

Saturday, Sept. 2 at Illinois (Champaign, Illinois) 

Saturday, Sept. 9 vs. UAB at Scheumann Stadium

Saturday, Sept. 16 vs. Tennessee Tech at Scheumann Stadium

Saturday, Sept. 23 at Western Kentucky (Bowling Green, Kentucky) 

Saturday, Sept. 30 at Western Michigan (Kalamazoo, Michigan) 

Saturday, Oct. 7 at Akron (Akron, Ohio)

Saturday, Oct. 21 vs. Central Michigan at Scheumann Stadium

Thursday, Oct. 26 vs. Toledo at Scheumann Stadium

Thursday, Nov. 2 at Eastern Michigan (Ypsilanti, Michigan) 

Thursday, Nov. 9 at Northern Illinois (DeKalb, Illinois) 

Thursday, Nov. 16 vs. Buffalo at Scheumann Stadium

Tuesday, Nov. 21 vs. Miami at Scheumann Stadium

TBA MAC Championship (Detroit, Michigan)

Ball State follows the bye week by hosting Central Michigan on Oct. 21, then staying in Muncie to host Toledo on the following Thursday.

The matchup with the Rockets marks the first of four-straight Thursday night games for Ball State. On Nov. 2, the Cardinals go back on the road to play Eastern Michigan. On Nov. 9 the team travels to Northern Illinois aiming for its first victory over the Huskies since 2008. On Nov. 16, the Cardinals return home to battle Buffalo before staying in Muncie to finish the season against Miami on Nov. 21. 

The Cardinals currently have four of their conference games picked up by national television outlets. The Oct. 26 matchup with Toledo, the Nov. 2 game against Eastern Michigan, Nov. 9 road trip to Northern Illinois and the Nov. 16 game versus Buffalo will all be shown live on CBS Sports Network. The Nov. 21 home game against Miami will be televised by ESPNU.

The Cardinals play each of their MAC West opponents, and two teams from the East division: Akron and Miami. Ball State played the same eight MAC schools last season as well.

The Cardinals; spring game will be on April 15.