|Ball State Cardinals|
|Athletic director||Beth Goetz|
|Head coach||Mike Neu |
4th season, 15-33 (.313)
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Past conferences||IIC (1934-1947)|
|Bowl record||1–7 (.125)|
|Rivalries||Indiana State (rivalry)|
Northern Illinois (rivalry)
|Colors||Cardinal and White|
|Fight song||Ball State Fight Song|
|Marching band||The Pride of Mid-America Marching Band|
The Ball State Cardinals football team is a college football program representing Ball State University in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football. Mike Neu is the head coach. Ball State plays its home games on Scheumann Stadium on the campus of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. The Cardinals compete in the Mid-American Conference as a member of the West Division.
The Cardinals have a 421–381–32 record, which ranks below the top 50 most victories among NCAA FBS programs. Ball State was originally classified as a teacher's college, participating in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) from 1937 until 1956. In 1957, they were classified as a Small College school until 1972. Ball State received Division II classification in 1973, before becoming a Division I-AA program in 1975 and a Division I-A (now FBS) program in 1981, dropping to Division I-AA for a single season (1982) before returning to Division I-A.
|1942||Indiana Intercollegiate Conference||John Magnabosco||6-2|
|1964||Heartland Collegiate Conference||Ray Louthen||5-3|
|1965||Heartland Collegiate Conference||Ray Louthen||9-0-1|
|1966||Heartland Collegiate Conference||Ray Louthen||7-1-1|
|1967||Heartland Collegiate Conference||Ray Louthen||7-3|
|1976||Mid-American Conference||Dave McClain||8-3|
|1978||Mid-American Conference||Dwight Wallace||10-1|
|1989||Mid-American Conference||Paul Schudel||7-3-2|
|1993||Mid-American Conference||Paul Schudel||8-3-1|
|1996||Mid-American Conference||Bill Lynch||8-4|
|2020||Mid-American Conference||Mike Neu||6-1|
|2001||MAC West||Bill Lynch||N/A lost tiebreaker to Toledo|
|2007||MAC West||Brady Hoke||N/A lost tiebreaker to Central Michigan|
|2008||MAC West||Brady Hoke||Buffalo||L 24-42|
|2020||MAC West||Mike Neu||Buffalo||W 38-28|
Ball State has appeared in eight NCAA Division I postseason bowl games, in which they have compiled a 1-7 record. Within all FBS teams, Ball State was one of eight that had never won a sanctioned bowl game, until the 2020 Arizona Bowl.
|1989||December 9, 1989||California Bowl||Fresno State||L 6-27|
|1993||December 17, 1993||Las Vegas Bowl||Utah State||L 33-42|
|1996||December 18, 1996||Las Vegas Bowl||Nevada||L 15-18|
|2007||January 5, 2008||International Bowl||Rutgers||L 30-52|
|2008||January 6, 2009||GMAC Bowl||Tulsa||L 13-45|
|2012||December 21, 2012||Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl||UCF||L 17-38|
|2013||January 5, 2014||GoDaddy Bowl||Arkansas State||L 20-23|
|2020||December 31, 2020||Arizona Bowl||San Jose State||W 34-13|
Ball State also appeared in two NCAA College Division postseason bowl games, where they compiled a record of 0-1-1.
|1965||December 11, 1965||Grantland Rice Bowl||Tennessee State||T 14-14|
|1967||December 9, 1967||Grantland Rice Bowl||Eastern Kentucky||L 13-27|
The Ball State Cardinals have had 17 head coaches throughout the program's history. With 68 victories, John Magnabosco has the most victories in the program's history, followed by Paul Schudel (60 wins) and Dave McClain (46).
The Cardinals have played Northern Illinois six times in football since the launch of the Bronze Stalk Trophy. The trophy depicts several cornstalks in tribute to the prevalence of maize around the respective home states of the rivals. Northern Illinois holds a 24-21-2 lead in the series through the 2019 season.
Ball State has produced a total of 27 NFL draft selections. The following "Active" and "All-Star" lists account for past and present Ball State University football players that have participated in the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, and the Arena Football League.
Among the numerous Cardinals who have participated in the NFL, CFL, and AFL, three have received all-star recognition by their respective leagues.
Announced schedules as of December 27, 2019.
|Maine||Western Illinois||at Tennessee||at Kentucky||Army||at Purdue||at Western Kentucky||Western Kentucky|
|at Michigan||at Penn State||Murray State||at Army||at Miami (FL)||at Liberty|
|at Indiana||at Wyoming||at Georgia Southern||Indiana State||Liberty||at UConn|