Sunday, December 31, 2006


Until last season, I described Mack Brown as the coach who had done the least with the most. He has now returned to form.

Losses to mediocre Kansas State and horrid a$m dropped UT all the way to the Alamo bowl and a date against an underachieving Iowa squad that managed only 2 conference wins.

The result? A come from behind win where UT found itself down 14-0, and almost 21-3. Only a botched halfback option saved the Longhorns.

Perhaps no program plays down to the level of the competition when nothing is on the line more than UT. While Iowa put forth its best effort of the season- an effort that would have won games against NW, Indy and Minny- Texas' lack of effort dug the hole.

Naturally, Iowa draws an indifferent Texas squad, but ISU seldom gets a shot at that.

It is understandable that UT's players didn't care. When you are having smoke blown up your skirt from the age of seven, a date with a 6-6 team in a possibly third-tier bowl doesn't get your juices flowing no matter how many sprints you are given in practice leading up to it. It goes with the territory of being highly gifted, and knowing it.

Give me a squad of three-star lunchbucket types any day. They won't win every game, but they will have the courtesy to show up and work hard every week.

Gene- remember this when you are out recruiting. You need both kinds of kid to win.


Monday, December 11, 2006

One Step Back

I watched the game twice off the TiVo. To say ISU struggled to find an offensive rythym in Iowa City would be nice.

For once, I thought Alford had a good game plan: Ball pressure. Whoever had the ball was forced to do something with it. In an offense that is still looking down, trying to follow the footsteps taped to the floor, it was a recipe for disaster. The result was 26 turnovers. The Cyclones looked somewahat confused on defense, and completely discombobulated on offense.

If you remove all the layups SUI got off of turnovers, ISU had a pretty good night from the defensive shooting percentage standpoint. They rebounded like mothers. SUI made some Every-Piece-Of-Garbage-Is-Going-In shots to boot.

SUI was clearly ready to go for this one, coming off their epic collapse against UNI. When they are in their usual Big 1011 free-fall in February we can snicker that they put waaaay too much emphasis on the ISU game.

Things will get better, but while this team is climbing the learning curve, there are going to be stinky stretches like we are in right now.


Friday, December 08, 2006


An interesting subplot of tonight's SUI-ISU game: SUI really, really, really needs this game to keep their hopes of an NCAA bid alive.

SUI already has 5 losses, which when added to an optimistic 8-8 Big 1011 record, leaves them with 13 losses. If they split their games against ISU and Drake- no guarantees there- they end with 14 losses, a bubble total to be sure. An 8-8 league finish may include a few quality wins, but would most likely include a few bad losses, too. They need all the help they can get.

It is far too early to say a home win over a rebuilding ISU will get SUI into the tourney, but a loss will dig the hole another foot or two deeper.

Here's a shovel, boys- keep up the fine work.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Head Games

Technically, Iowa State looked like they knew what they were doing on the mat Sunday.

But they have miles to go in the mental game.

Peak in March and all is forgiven.


Too Little, Too Late

Teams that get down 16 with 8 to go can't complain when things don't work out in the end.

Can the Cyclones exchange a horrid game against Drake for the best effort of the year in Iowa City? That would be nice to see.