Jake Fox is a senior journalism major and writes "What the Fox Says" for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Same story, different year.
Through two home football games this season, Ball State is averaging 9,076 fans per game. Last year — granted the team was 3-9 — just 7,974 fans attended per game at home. That was good(?) enough for second-to-last in the entire Football Bowl Subdivision.
Scheumann Stadium holds 22,500 people. The team it houses is 4-3, which is already more wins than last year, and looks like it could become bowl eligible for the first time since 2013. And the stadium is rarely even half full.
Where is everyone? Honestly.
Let me preface my argument by saying I don't work for Ball State Athletics. It's not my job to offer you all kinds of perks to come to a game. But I can tell you why you should.
First off, the Mid-American Conference is awesome. Search #MACtion on Twitter every Saturday, and you'll see all kinds of craziness. There are a lot of good players, high-scoring plays and exciting finishes.
It's underrated, too. Among the league's 12 teams, the conference has accounted for four wins over Power 5 Conference teams.
One of the best examples came when Central Michigan beat Big 12 power Oklahoma State on a last-second Hail Mary lateral touchdown pass. Sound unbelievable? That's because it was. The last play only happened because of an error by the referees — the crew was suspended after the game.
That same Central Michigan team only beat Ball State by three points a few weeks later in a game it probably should have lost. It's all about that MACtion, baby.
This is my first year covering Ball State football full time for the Daily News, and the game at Central Michigan was the first road conference game this year. Kelly/Shorts Stadium brought in 20,044 fans for that game, which ended with an underthrown interception that very well could've been a game-winning touchdown.
After watching Ball State lose 31-24 in its biggest rivalry game the week before in front of an abysmal 7,249 fans, it was nice to see more maroon and gold than empty seats in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
Who knows? Maybe Ball State will bring in 15,000+ fans for its Homecoming game against Akron this weekend. But it probably won't.
And once the midweek games start, it will only get worse.
The first of those is Nov. 1, when No. 20 Western Michigan comes to town. It's a good chance to see a team I firmly believe will run the table and make it to one of the New Year's Six bowl games. Next it's a Nov. 8 game against Eastern Michigan, a 5-2 team that should make it a really good game.
If you're slightly interested in football, MAC games are generally fun to watch. Even if you hate the sport, just try a game with your friends. After all, it's free if you're a student.
It will make my job in the press box more fun if you go to these last three home games. Hell, just go to one of them.
I've been working at the Daily News for almost four years now, and I'm tired of hearing that attendance was "disappointing," or "not what I expected."
I'm tired of the same old story.