Saturday, October 08, 2005

Bad teams find a way to lose

It was appropriate that the worst and third worst B12 teams (from the perspective of all time conference records) met in Ames, both coming off OT road losses to their nearest conference rival. Each team had plenty of chances to win last week, both each found the way to lose. The Baylor-Iowa State matchup resulted in less one team winning, more the other team finding a way to lose.

Each program has historically struggled to win games in the league. Near misses were always punctuated by the blown play, the dropped pass, the defensive stop gone aray. ISU had the opportunity to put Baylor on the ropes, but fumbled. A fine scoring drive died on another fumble. Baylor eventually sealed the game by converting late first downs on bad defensive assignments.

Like last week at Nebraska, ISU had chances to win late, and failed on every opportunity. Today, the Cyclones again failed when opportunity knocked. ISU, despite easily moving the ball most of the day, found the way to lose.

Which means the Cyclones are now at a crossroads. Each of their remaining games is winnable, on paper. Each game is also, on paper, loseable. Three wins gets a bowl bid, more a nicer bowl bid. But this team's lack of playmakers makes even three wins a reach. The season is at a crossroads, with no gimmies in sight.

ISU was Baylor's fist B12 win back in '96. They are now BU's first conference road win. The Bears appear willing to toss the designation of "Doormat" on someone else. Hopefully the Cyclones make the plays to avoid that tag.


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