Sunday, November 30, 2008

Maly Cheap Shot #742

The Grumpy Old Sportswriter dropped this little nugget at the end of Saturday's post:

But what I also wanted to know was what he studied at Iowa State and when he got his degree -- or if he got a degree.

I also wanted to know what kind of job Hicks had after his education at Iowa State.

No mention of any of that in the Register -- or the Omaha World-Herald, for that matter.

Let me write what you really wanted to write:

What do you expect from a second rate football program at a second rate college like Silo Tech? Nobody who graduates from there finds work, let alone the athletes.

If you are going to make a cheap shot against the dead, just go all the way, OK?


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Someday I hope to write the B12 North version of this, when there is someone worse than us:

How to Handle Being The Worst Team in the Big XII South:

I wanted to share some thoughts from the hit book "How to Handle Being The Worst Team in the Big XII South". This book, originally authored by fans of Baylor University, with foreword by Oklahoma State, has been a work in progress for 25 something years now.

Now that we have handed that prestigious torch off to your school, and it looks like it will stay that way for quite some time, you and your Aggie friends may want to really get into this material. Here are some highlights:

Chapter 1 - Bring up past records when discussing your program with friends. The best way to do this is to start from the present and go back through the past until you can find where you have more wins than "x" team. Inconsistencies in time frame does not matter - it can be 5 years for one team and 45 for another.

Chapter 3 - Find other parts of your athletic program that you can be proud of and meticulously learn and promote their accomplishments, no matter how embarrassing the sport. Baylor has done this recently with women's basketball, tennis, and most notably, track and field (Olympic gold medalist anyone?). Rumor has it that your men's club lacrosse team is pretty awesome. Just throwing that out there.

Chapter 5 - Find a couple of solid scapegoats and complain tirelessly about them. Your fan base has already advanced far in this area, with "Shermione" and "$Bill" taking the brunt of this effective relaxation technique.

Chapter 10 - Pick a team to hate and root for their failure. For Baylor fans, this has been you, and look how well it's worked! It's like The Secret - the power of positive thinking. It's very refreshing to change the channel from a frustrating loss and watch your sworn enemy fail. You may have to really dig deep here - you want a team that is average to pretty bad. You losing and them winning is a double whammy, so don't set your sites too high (UT/Tech). Arkansas is a good start, they're down this year.

Chapter 11 (THIS IS A BIG ONE) - Focus on moral victories. This chapter has a lot of content, so really pay attention to it. Within the umbrella of the moral victories chapter you'll find subsections such as: a) Don't pin your hopes on winning the game, pin your hopes on covering the spread. The spread is key, and beating the spread will bring you years and years of joy. b) Get excited about first downs. These may be harder to come by than you think, so really cherish them. c) Find remote stats that can highlight your improvement. Really dig into improvement. This should be a buzzword to use in the coming years.

Chapter 12 - Talk about the other redeeming qualities of your school. This is tricky, because it's actually really dorky to engage in academic smack talk, but, if done correctly, can deflect the focus of a conversation away from your school's crappy football program and onto other areas where the playing field is more level. Now, I'm tailor making this to A&M a little here, but I would recommend you focus on your strong engineering and business school reputation, and don't forget to bring up your various traditions! People never get tired of hearing about this.

Chapter 14** - Find another school to support on the side. This chapter is very controversial and was only added in later editions. I myself never went down this road, but several of my friends found a great deal of relaxation and comfort in finding a side school. While immediate family connections are the best (father graduated from Penn State or mom and dad met at Florida), it is also valid to dig deep into your family's history to find that great aunt that went to Alabama or that second cousin who got a masters at USC. The further away the school, the better. Claim that you have been watching them for years, especially as a little kid growing up. This helps ward off eye rolls and front-runner accusations from your friends. **Note: though highly successful, this chapter can be very dangerous, and is probably the only method that will incur hatred from fellow alumni and students. Use Chapter 14 at your own risk. Advanced students only. I'd say you'll be there en mass around 2013, although seeing how your fan base is bailing after 3 losing seasons out of the past 24, you may be there as early as 2010. Talk about advanced students!

That's it folks. I'll send you a copy for free - we're so excited to share this with a team not named Baylor. And you may read this and think: "Wow, Baylor is pathetic. This is really sad stuff." No, no! This is you! This WAS Baylor and now IS your school! I'm talking about what you and your fan base will be and have already started saying and doing.

I want to leave you with this. This can be your chance to practice, right now. Skim some of the material above, and go ahead and start using it on me. I would say the record route is the obvious way to go, but don't be afraid to be creative. Angry phrases like "F off" and total dismissal of my thread also work. Have fun, and I'll critique some of your responses as we go . . .

Good stuff, and dangerously true.


Boring Games

Whaddya do when your team is up 55-0?

Find some action that isn't your spouse.

I'll let you finish the joke.



My Dad always said you've got nobody to blame but yourself if you let a game come down to a questionable call by the guy in stripes.

That's exactly what happened against Hawai'i.

A tip 'o the hat to the Register for sending their coorespondent all the way to Ames to watch the webcast with Iowa State staff.

I guess the Rag didn't want to pony up the $6 so Rick could watch at the office, or at home for that matter.

You don't want to set the precident that your writers don't have to attend the event in order to write it up.


Saturday, November 22, 2008


Watching the Tech-OU game has reminded me that one key to good defense is good tackling. As in the first to arrive seals the deal. As in what rarely happened this year for ISU.

Pressure on the QB seems to throw offenses out of whack, too.

I hope someone notices that as they review tape from this year.



The Goblas are consistent if nothing else: they either improve during the season or get worse, no in between.

To think that the on-the-verge-of-bad team that squeeked by bad-and-about-to-get-worse Iowa State in September is taking the wood to a Gopher team that a month ago looked to be all that and a bag a chips, but now is, uhm, stinky is a little odd. The Goblas had 4-8 written all over themselves even after the ISU win.

Sorry, Gobla fan, it's not a "hangover" if your team isn't any good before a loss. Congrats on the nice finish- your self esteem was starting to lag.



Some really nice 3 point shooting analysis at Clone Chronicles.

The kind of stuff I love digging through, but seldom have time to do myself.



So, all you fans who insisted keeping Danny Mac was "settling for mediocrity", how's your return on this investment?

More importantly, how patient are you willing to be?

DM needed six seasons to win. Will Gene get that?

KSU canned Prince after 17 losses in three years, yet Gene has 19 in only two. On the other end, Robinson of Syracuse delivered consecutive 10-loss seasons, yet wasn't fired until this year's 9-loss stinker. That might be too patient.

So, mediocrity-haters, is next year Gene's Show Or Go? What's the minimum for wins? 4? 5? 7? What wouldn't be mediocre?

Personally, I don't mind losing on Saturday when you think you have a chance of winning on Friday. We don't have that right now.



Two years into the Gene Experiment and we sit at a total of 5 wins, two in conference, worst in the league. I suppose there is some symmetry to the team with the smallest budget also having the fewest wins.

It was nice seeing the offense score on their red zone opportunities: 5/6 which would have won the Gobla game going away- and continued improvement gives one hope for '09.

The defensive side, however, needs some work, to say the least. Until bad offenses stop looking like BCS candidates against our Cyclones, The Gene Project will still be considered a failure.

You have limited nickels, fellas. Use them wisely.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Last Shot

Given the level of play last week in Boulder, and the level of play from KSU the last six weeks, sure, Iowa State can break a couple of streaks this weekend.

I doubt Prince had enough time to build up referee good will like Mac did, not that the Mizzou hold wasn't really a hold. Good will helped that day.

But I assume that the K State players will pull a "win one for the Gipper" bit, though, and ISU's struggles will continue into next year.


Sunday, November 16, 2008


My failing memory is trying to convince me that once upon a time a bad Iowa State football team had a player almost win the Heisman.

I find that hard to believe. Only players from programs that GameDay travels to are eligible, correct? I'm sure that clause is in the fine print.


Bright Side

The good news of this lousy football season is that we'll be able to rebuild with all the awesome draft picks we'll get in exchange for finishing last.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Nickname Proposal

In the fine tradition of the Sheldon High School Orabs I propose future refernces of the athletic clubs from Iowa City be referred to as:

"The Goblas"


Hearing none, motion carries.

Goblas it is.

Of course, our Clonies will lovingly be referred to as "The Cargos".


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Rick Brown sees potential.

My dad always said having potential means you aren't worth a damn right now, but perhaps the 08-09 sports season won't be a total wash.


Saturday, November 08, 2008


I'm a long, long way from the situation in Manhattan, but I'm not sure 30 games is a fair test period for a coach in rebuilding mode.

Snyder's last team was bad- I mean, ISU made them look JV, and that's bad- so it looked like the classic "empty cupboard" situation.

Unless there is a Wayne Morgan Inmates-Running-The-Asylum scene, I am really leary of expending the time, trouble, trauma and treasure involved in firing a coach in less than four or preferrably five years. The odds of having a dramatic turnaround are pretty low. Look at the Big 12 North the last five years.

On the other hand, Napoleon advised: "Never interrupt an opponent in the middle of a mistake."

Fire away, you antsy Wildcats!


We're Too Nice

Gene would have been fired by now if he was coaching at K-State and not I-State.


Pull The Trigger

Clearly, KF needs to be fired. Trust the Wisdom Of The Crowd!

At least Kirk saved us from another Big TenEleven school boring us on National Championship Night. with yet another blowout.

Clearly, his program is in decline.



Bad teams find a way to lose.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I vividly remember the last ISU win in Boulder. I had been in Iowa City that day, witnessing what was expected to be a Northwestern win that was instead an Iowa upset. Iowa played with heart, and NW sinply didn't get off the bus. Observers point to that game as the beginning of the ascention of KF's program.

Driving home I listened to Sage Rosenfels lead the Cyclones through the snow to a win that would lead to that memorable trip to Phoenix for everyone. It would also be the peak of the Danny Mac adminestration, we just didn't knwo it yet.

Needless to say, a win over the Buffaloes would turn the opinions of the Cyclone crowd back into Gene's corner, just as last year's win over the Buffs solidified the feeling that things were headed in the right direction.

If the horrid road losing streak was to die, this week is as good a place as any on the horizon. Perhaps the team has something they can literally leave on the field if they win. Symbolism can be both corny and effective.



How bad are our Cyclones?

According to Sagarin, ISU is worse than any team in the ACC, SEC, Big Ten and the Big East.

Take heart, we're barely better than Washington and WSU.

If Gene turns things around, perhaps this can be the "Look how far we've come" landmark.