I'll admit it when I'm wrong.
Saturday, I was wrong.
I thought the football team would pound on Kent State.
I thought the football team had enough respect for their winning record to play like it mattered.
I thought the football team had enough focus to put aside the importance of the following week and play hard, sound football on Saturday.
I was wrong.
Saturday's game was pathetic.
Until now I have been an advocate of Ball State football. I have tried to serve as the voice of reason. And then Saturday's game happened.
A contest with four turnovers and a lackadaisical feel about the game, it was a poor showing for a good Ball State football team.
All season, all we have heard is, "We have a good football team and now we are starting to show it."
No one showed it Saturday.
I mean, I can take a loss; don't get me wrong. No team can win every game. But, Kent State was not that much better than us. In fact, the only thing Kent State had over us was a quarterback with the speed and quickness of a running back. But hey, that in itself shouldn't have meant the game.
Less than three weeks ago, Ball State's defense was No. 35 in the nation.
This week the Cardinal overall defense is No. 53.
Kent State's quarterback, Joshua Cribbs, was good. I won't try to take that away. The mind-numbing fact that killed me is that our defense is good.
At least it was good. The defense should have been able to wrap him up better than it did.
Next, the amount of turnovers. Good Lord have mercy on my football- watching soul. Could we please get through a game with no turnovers? I know that is asking a lot, so could we get through a game with just one turnover?
Against Kent State, Ball State turned the ball over four times. Against Central Michigan there were two, against Toledo there were three and against Miami there were two. There have been 15 turnovers in the past six games for the Cardinals. That ratio speaks for itself.
But we can sit, complain and super-analyze every move the Cardinals make, but the bottom line is that it is the past at this point.
More so than any other time in the past five years, we must all look ahead.
This Saturday's game is probably the biggest game in recent school history.
The game against Northern Illinois Saturday will either clinch or destroy all hopes of winning a Mid-American Conference West title. We win, we win the West. We lose, we lose the West. We lose everything.
Can they do it?
You bet they can.
Well, "they" being the team that played against Toledo on that beautiful Homecoming day. "They" being team that upset the No. 25 team in the nation.
If "they" becomes the team that got whipped in nearly every aspect of the game last Saturday, then don't waste your gas to get to DeKalb, Ill. for this weekend's game.
First my reasoning and then my prediction: The football team got cocky. The four wins went to their head. I can't say that I fully blame them. Everything was falling into place and suddenly everyone was mentioning the words MAC title and Ball State in the same sentence -- something no one has done or even been able to do in quite some time. Kent State took advantage of that big-headedness.
Now, the tongues of Ball State's football players have the bitter taste of a loss again. A taste that has been nagging in the mouths of Ball State football for several years. Nothing would rid that bitter taste than the sweet flavor of a MAC West title.
You can be darn sure the Cardinals will be the "they" that faced and defeated Toledo come this Saturday.
Or at least "they" hope so.