Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Bottom

Make no mistake- North Dakota State is a solid team. They would be middle of the pack in the Power 5 conferences, and would push to win a league like the MAC or Mountain West.

But giving up 34 unanswered to a team not named Baylor is going to raise serious questions about the direction of your program.

Data point: Since ISU's 2012 upset of Baylor, the team is 4-14. Two of those wins are over Kansas.

You don't have to win at Iowa State, but you do have to look competitive.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;

-and so we being another football season in Ames, staring down another insanely hard schedule. Literally no gimmes when you include a favorite to win the Big 101112 West/Legends Division, a favorite to win the MAC and the three-time defending FCS champ. Whew.

Several have made the argument that ISU will go 3-9 or worse, Rhodes should be canned, etc. etc. etc. In other words, another typical summer expectation synopsis for the Cyclones. If the OL is riddled with injuries like 2013, 0-12 is in play. Magino can only do so much when the QB is running for his life, getting injured, and then is unable to run for his life due to injury.

My short answer: If the OL stays healthy and the offense can average 28+ per game, they find a way to get to 6-6 and a bowl invite. (It's all any of us want, really.)

But if the OL has to start using backups for extended snaps, look out below.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The White Whale Arrives

As I wrote at this time last year, I wasn't opposed to the idea of bowling in the south end of Jack Trice, I just didn't think it made financial sense.

But Pollard, the mad genius that he is, has found a way to make the numbers work. By adding a massive "Club Section" in the end zone seating area, 3000 fans will get the privilege of spending $750 on a season ticket that before was only $99. Granted, the club section will have amenities the current seating lacks- like a place to go when it gets too hot, too cold or too wet and porcelain toilets rather than Porta Potties. I suspect that section will sell quickly.

My only concern is that there be a plan for families who leverage Jr. Cyclone memberships into a family gameday activity. The current Jr. Cyclone membership won't be able to squeeze into the NE and NW corners under the current "Ya'll come" admittance policy. But $50 for a assigned seat on top of the current $50 Jr. Cy cost would be totally fair, and would move lots of families like mine from the grass to the seats.

If the reality looks in any way similar to the renderings, Trice may officially become a place you don't want to come play- and that will be great fun.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Too Much and Not Enough

The Cyclones have a certain offensive rhythm when they are successful, efficient, and winning. I can't put my finger on exactly how many passes it involves, but there is a sweet spot in their offense.

More than 10 baskets without an assist usually leads to offensive disaster and a loss. Fortunately, that has been a rare occurrence.  If Hoiberg is guilty of anything (and this is a minor quibble) is that his squad sometimes goes a pass too far when sharing the ball, which leads to a turnover. Nice problem to have.

That was evident early in their home win against West Virginia. Several possessions ended in a turnover when the extra pass was attempted, often inside and down low. After a time out the extra pass went away and shots went up. Score. The assists were earned, but the team stopped trying too hard.

Again- it's a good problem to have, but its interesting to watch it ebb and flow during the course of a game.

Bring Back Mirrored Schedules

I'm old enough to remember when the Big 8 basketball schedules mirrored opponents for the men's and women's teams, and each team would be home opposite weeks.

Back before TV completely blew up scheduling rhythm,  games were usually played on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons. The men might be on the road for two games while the women were at home for that week, then they would switch. The convenient part was that each would play the same opponent on the same day- If the men were in Stillwater, you knew the women were hosting the Cowgirls.

That symmetry gave the season a nice bit of predictability.

"Travel partners" only added to this. In the Big 8 days, OU and Okie State went on the road together, as did KU and Mizzou, K State and Colorado, and Nebraska with Iowa State. If you had a home game week, you would play OU on Wednesday and then OSU on Saturday.  When you traveled south, you swung through Norman and Stillwater in the same trip. With 14 games spread across 8 weeks, you then had a built in night off during the week that you played your travel partner. Symmetry.

These schedules arose in the days of trains and buses, when a trip from Ames to Oklahoma was a project. Now that every road trip involves an airplane and is paid with a TV rights check economizing travel costs is less important. But two-game road trips with your travel partner conveyed, even subtly, that everyone was working together to make lives easier.

That ethic evaporated about the same time as basketball shorts stopped being short.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bowl Season May Be Ugly

I don't like the match-ups most of the B12 teams face this year. While I don't expect a complete wipeout, looking bad while finishing 2-3 wouldn't surprise me.

Texas will struggle to keep up with Oregon
Ditto Tech versus Arizona State
Baylor will get a serious challenge from The Best Program Nobody Knows aka Central Florida
Bama will crush the Sooners.
Okie State has the horses to beat Mizzou, but will their heads be in it?

Looks like I'll be working on my To-Do list rather than watching football.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Adjustments

Half the fun of watching the Cyclones is studying the second half adjustments. At some point Fred finds a personnel and strategy combination that results in a 15-2 run over 3 minutes that wins the game.

This has to be a maddening group to game plan against, and double tough to adjust to as the game goes along. So much versatility.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Finishing Better Than They Start

At some point this Slow Start/Big Finish routine is going to bite our Cyclones on the butt, but for now it is quite the fun ride.

To watch the Hawkeyes lose is a most Cyclone way was fantastic. The second half is classic.