Sunday, October 14, 2018

Never the New Normal

The turnaround over the last 24 games has been so dramatic- from slumpbuster to The Team That Kills Title Dreams- it's a little hard to comprehend that beating Top 10 teams may no longer be an outlier, an unusual event, for fans of Iowa State.

Even as each win grows in surprising scale- this time tripling WVU in yardage and winning by 16 in a game that could have been won by 30- Cyclone fan never forgets to act surprised, because each giant win is new to the consciousness.

Hopefully, regardless of how many more crazy wins are in the program's future, the fan base will embrace each as if it's the first one.

Monday, October 08, 2018


Saturday proved progress both in a week-to-week sense and in the narrative arc of the Campbell tenure.

Iowa State should have beaten the Cowboys the last three seasons, but Saturday had the moxie to take a lead after a bad start, and then to respond each time OSU closed to within a score. They broke through that mental wall.

In 2014, TCU blasted Iowa State 55-3 on their way to a 12-1 season. They should have been in the playoff, while our Cyclones surrendered 466 points in that season. (In comparison, TCU gave up only 247 that year.)

The last two years, TCU has scored 21 points total against ISU. You don't need many things to go your way to win with that kind of scoring defense. We will get to enjoy plenty of wins playing in that kind of sandbox.

The program continues to bend towards consistently solid football, so wins should follow. Watching a breakout performance by a QB is fun, but I remember Steele Jantz and Sam Richardson having big breakout games, too. Its easier to do when the defense hasn't seen you on tape.

The big challenge will be against West Virginia, a quality team with a week to prepare. Cross your fingers the home team has the better scheme and execution.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


The OL- whoof. Any running play that requires a pull or trap is a guaranteed loss of yardage, as blockers can't block their man long enough for the play to develop. Best to stick with step-and-hit until the skill or the personell improves.

The defense remains solid, and it's fun to see so many different numbers getting snaps during the game. The depth will come in handy.

We shouldn't complain about a win, but it's in our nature. Red Zone failures will come back to bite our collective butts down the line. Field Goals won't beat TCU.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Close but still lacking

Hopefully this is the new normal.

When your team has the smallest budget in the Big 12, all you can ask is to play well enough to have a shot in the 4th.

The Cyclones have missed two chances in close games. They will win their share if the quality of play holds steady.

Saturday, September 08, 2018


A quick review of the SUI-ISU series over the last decade:

2018- Can't move ball after first possession; hung around, lost by 10
2017- Score 41, gave up 44 to team that averaged 27 in the rest of their games
2016- Blowout
2015- Tied in 4th quarter, lose by 14
2014- The infamous "ice the kicker" win (ISU would go 2-10)
2013- Trailed most of game, late rally to lose by 7
2012- The 9-6 win in IC against an SUI team that went 4-8
2011- Bonkers 3OT 44-41 win over 7-6 SUI squad
2010- Blowout
2009- Blowout

Summary: 3 blowout losses, 4 hang-around-but-lose-anayway losses, 3 wins on the last play.

The last decade could be 0-10.

Given the football budgets of the two programs, 3-7 is about what one would expect out of Iowa State. But if the program expects to move to the middle of the Big 12 pack, they have to find a way to beat teams like SUI and Kansas State more than half the time. It's the next mountain to climb.


The best tale to tell today would be Coach Campbell returning to the scene of the most humiliating loss of his Iowa State tenure to win in commanding fashion, proving that the turnaround of Cyclone Football is complete.

But this ain't Hollywood.

SUI contains the ISU running game, forcing ISU to win with the pass. Mistakes are made, SUI gets too many short fields and wins 24-10.

Sunday, September 02, 2018


Four minutes of football were not enough to get a feel for the 2018 Cyclones, even if the game did not count. Now the team will have to work out its first game issues in Iowa City. Super.

The fans of The Best Football Program Without A National Championship probably see a blowout win like Iowa State's last visit, and given the B12's performance last week, (Tech, Texas, The State of Kansas) who can blame them?

Thursday, August 30, 2018


The CMJ staff sees a 7-5 year for the Cyclones in 2018.

Wins over South Dakota State, Akron, Tech, Kansas, Baylor, and two out of Okie State, West Virginia, Texas and K-State.

The defense will be solid again, but I'll believe the OL is ready to consistently run block when I see it. And it's hard to be +10 in turnover margin two years in a row.

The '17 squad was luckier than average than the Iowa State team, too. No major injuries, when one QB flaked out the backup turned out to be great, forcing a turnover when they really needed one, etc. Some of those things will revert to the mean this year.

But they should keep every game close, which will be fun, if frustrating. Enjoy the ride.