Thursday, December 30, 2010


I suspect Fred's NBA experience is helpful in managing a 5 1/2 man roster. My random sample of NBA stats reveals that most teams have 6 primary players, who all average in the high 20 to low 30 minute range per game. It's not that big a deal.

What matters is what happens on the off days. NBA practices are surprisingly casual. Lots of teaching- putting things in, walking through tenancies, that kind of thing- but not much full-out scrimmage once the season is underway. There are just too frequent, so rest becomes imperative.

I imagine Fizer wouldn't recognize an ISU practice today- lots of teaching, not much running, trying to preserve legs when the spacing between games is short. The "practices harder than the games" mentality will have wait.

We'll see if Fred's recipe can maintain the same effort once we get into the Big 12 season.



I loved the hustle in the win over Virginia, especially on the road. Much like their win over SUI, they just seemed in control even when the shots weren't falling.

Best of all, they had the hustle they lacked in the loss to Cal. Every loose ball had a Cyclone on the floor, which is the kind of effort this team needs to make every night.

But like the game in Iowa City, the execution of the take-the-air-out-of-the-ball sets at the end of the game need work. Burning clock is only so helpful if you don't finish the play.

In the end, I don't care that UVa only has a Sagarin of 117, any win on the road for this bunch is a big win. The fact they led by 10+ for 30+ minutes is remarkable. Well done.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010


This is complete snark-

Is there an optimum number of arrests a BCS football program should incur each year to maximize wins? Stat geeks, to your spreadsheets!

Tip 'o the toque to @brentblum.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I'm not sure I agree with the premise- ISU would be much better off with Barnes on campus than off- but the point about the "should have gone to a Big Time School" is spot on.

In the same way that recruits magically lose a star when signing with Iowa State, much of the preseason All-Everything hoopla would have never developed around Barnes simply because that sort of thing doesn't happen in the 515. Nobody good goes there.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hubris, Entry #3245

Seems to roll around every year: "Drop Iowa State from the schedule. Why do we need them?"

My favorite post in the thread
Yes, ISU needs to get off of the Iowa Wellfare Program and drop them. Have some dignity, for Cripes sakes! Act like a D-1 program playing in a BCS conference.
ISU needs to go back and pay the financial difference back to Iowa, that the lopsided agreement has provided ISU, over the last 3 decades.
We accept check or cash. A public apology would go a long ways toward repairing ISU's dignity, but I wont hold my breathe.

Hubris, indeed.



While I like John's writing, I take issue with this post.

True, Iowa State's non-conference schedule is really weak. But in June everyone thought ISU's team would be really weak, too. Their 9-2 record, and general level of play, is WAY above where anyone thought it would be.

Their schedule was set up to get them over .500- not to impress the NCAA committee.

The fact they have a mathematical chance at an NCAA bit is remarkable.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Key Second Half

Another watching of the win over SUI reinforced how important the defensive effort was.

My totals for the second half:

18 "empty" possessions in which SUI didn't score
9 steals
9 one-shot possessions, with defensive rebound

That success couldn't be sustained in the last 4 minutes when the fouls came thick and fast. SUI had 6 possessions in that stretch, and managed to shoot 11 free throws, while ISU only got two stops.

One or two more stops and one or two more buckets out of the offensive sets and ISU wins comfortably.

Its good to win, but the places for improvement are obvious.


Friday, December 10, 2010


Scott picked a good night to be on.

I loved his final shot, when every SUI fan in CHA screamed "NOOOOOOOOOO!!!" as he let it go- Bang! Game over.

Exhibit A: First half, aka How ISU Will Lose This Year. Casual D, lazy rebounding, just hoping to stop the other team.

Exhibit B: Second Half, aka How ISU Will Win This Year. Great doubling and switching, forcing lots of turnovers than turned into transition offense, rebounding like the game depends on it (coincidentally, it does). Given the number of blown fast breaks, this game should have be a 15 point win, not 3.

The only downside: I love Diante's game this year, but I'm cool with him putting away the fade-away jumper. The next one he makes will be the first.

Nice road win, fellas. Keep up the hard work on the defensive end.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Clash of Styles

When the shots don't fall, it's hard to impose your kind of tempo on the opponent.

Undermanned, first year coach, still learning new roles in a new system, down 1 with a minute to go, on the road? I'll take it.

Baby steps.


Saturday, November 20, 2010


While this team has a surplus of heart, they had a deficit of talent, and that kept them from winning the close games: K State, Nebraska, Mizzou.

But there is no question the program took more steps forward. And that's all we ask.

Get busy in the weight room, fellas.


Do Or Die

The situation against Mizzou is pretty simple: Win and get a bowl trip. Lose and start off-season workouts.

I expect Maximum Effort for the Clones- I just hope its enough to get them over the top.

Frankly, I've never liked the job Pinkel has done. He should have been banned from coaching for trying to turn Brad Smith into Peyton Manning. Idiot.

Mizzou 28, ISU 24.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Read this. Now.

It says everything I would hope for moving forward. We're in good hands.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Banana Peel

All I ask of Cyclone Football is to beat the teams that, at the end of the year, are behind them in the standings and rankings. Barring a dramatic switcheroo, Colorado falls into the "should beat" category.

I am as surprised as anyone that Hawkins didn't work out- I thought his hire was brilliant. He sure loved playing ISU- 20% of his B12 wins came against us. That's 2 of 10. In four and a half seasons. Ouch.

But considering what has gone down in Boulder this week, a collapse by our Clones wouldn't surprise me at all. It's one thing to be loose when you are the underdog.

It's time for ISU to learn to play as the favorite.

ISU 28-24.


Saturday, November 06, 2010


After all of the years of complaining that Danny Mac was too conservative, we must applaud playing to win.

Be sure to buy lots of Iowa gas on your road trips, Husker fan.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Doing something like this would be an abomination:

Just say no.


Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Want a full breakdown of A-Rob's winning TD versus Texas? Burnt Orange Nation has it for you.

That kind of analysis is both fascinating and disturbing. Where do people find the time?


Monday, November 01, 2010

Bullet Dodged

Saturday's win over KU was the kind of game previous Cyclone teams would have lost. This crew seems to have a good head on its shoulders, and doesn't go into the fetal position at the first sign of trouble. The third quarter was what we expected the first quarter to be like, but at least they got it done and kept KU at bay the rest of the way.

That said, KU gave ISU lots of help. Turner Gill was a complete chicken s**t for not running a couple of plays at the end of the first half, and his playing-not-to-lose made ISU's second half work a bit easier. That's what you get with Rookies. He'd better be a recruiting monster or his tenure in Lawrence won't be pretty.

Thoughts on the final Nebraska game later.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


If I was a coach forced to play my third string QB, with no backup, my plan would be pretty simple:

Run the ball. A Lot.
Quick passes, three step drop kinds of stuff.
Roll-outs to avoid the rush.
Run some more.

Don't expect to see deep drop backs, looking to throw deep. Quick manageable stuff, which will ideally get the ball out of the QB's hand.

Sacks may be scarce- but important.



For the football wonks in the crowd, CPR gets into some of the nuts and bolts of how his team prepares.


Sunday, October 24, 2010


Iowa State must now avoid the kind of mentality against Kansas that got Texas in trouble against Iowa State.

Granted, I don't know how you can't get geared up to play a team you have lost 5 in a row and six of seven against, but it happens.

When you get a chance to thump a team that's down on its luck, man, thump 'em.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Taking the Over

I marvel at the resiliency required to survive two successive beatdowns, then win what should have been another beatdown.

I also marvel at the amazing waste of talent that is Texas when they think they can just pull on the jersey and win. Had the Longhorns not been so impressed with themselves, perhaps they would have covered to 20.5 spread with ease.

Iowa State will never match the talent at a school like Texas- and they don't have to. As long as they find enough talent that still caries a chip on their shoulder, that want to prove to everyone they are good enough to play, they will win enough games.

I prefer my team to overachieve than underachieve. Today they were way, way over.



Five games left to play and their season is already over.

Better luck next year.



While I don't think ISU will come close to winning in Austin- the talent gulf will always be too big versus the Longhorns- I think we'll see a much closer game than the last two weeks.

Utah and OU had statements to make, and they were clearly motivated to do so. Texas made their statement last week in Lincoln. The Horns are notorious for playing down to the level of their competition, and I can't see them giving their best effort against a team that has been crushed the last two week.

ISU loses, but only by 14 or so.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bullet Dodged

Even with the fiasco that was Chiz, I think ISU dodged a bullet by not being able to woo Brewster. Good thing he thought enough of himself not to work for such a downtrodden program as Iowa State. He's a man with upside!

Once in a great while I am prophetic.


Saturday, October 16, 2010


On one hand its a simple "You don't have the horses to run with us" kind of thing.

But there's also a touch of "Don't even think you can compete with us long term" to games like that.

I hope the 28 redshirts understand the hill they are presently climbing.

The advantage to the new round-robin schedule is an annual test against against the Sooners and Longhorns. We will be able to measure our progress (or lack thereof) pretty easily.


Thursday, October 14, 2010


Why did only 43K come to the Utah game? Because Cyclone fans have long, long memories.

Considering the number of times we've collectively had our spirits crushed in just the last 10 years, I'm surprised more than friends and family bother going. 43K for a sure loss is a ticket-selling miracle.

To look at it another way, the Hard Core Base has grown 20% in the last 10 years. Remarkable.

It's going to take several years of consistent winning to get the casual fan to buy in.

And to all you dorks with a stadium seating fetish, the last thing ISU needs is 15K more lousy seats. Don't bowl the south end until tickets are hard to get.

On the comparisons to what happens in Iowa City: with three times the fan base, why did it take this long to sell out a season? Why do so few SUI fans go to games? If SUI fan bought tickets at the same rate as ISU fan, Kinnick would seat 100K+.

Winning football will fix this. Not getting blown out is a good first step.


Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Gap

Utah illustrated the gap between a team that can win some games and a
team that can win a National Championship.

ISU is OK as long as they stay away from the Top 10.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010


I probably can't add much to ISU's shocking win over Tech other than I'm still dazed by the WTF feeling of that night. It was all so unexpected.

We should all be thankful that Tech spent most of the first half trying to exploit something in ISU's run defense that wasn't there. Tech's offense never got on track until they went back to the pass-first offense they are all most comfortable with.

The stunning part of the win was that everything seemed to come together all at once. The offense clicked. The defense tackled and got stops when they needed them. Most of the crazy plays broke ISU's way.

(Trivia: the last time I saw an onside kick returned for a TD was in Ames in 1990. OU pulled the trick.)

Nothing sells tickets like winning. Hopefully the fellas can deliver the same kind of performance against the Utes.


Saturday, September 25, 2010


Cyclone fans, celebrate tonight's win over UNI. Given how bad the offense has become, it may be the last for the year.

The MO is this: Blitz every play. Our QB's won't make you pay.

We can't develop fresh linemen fast enough.

Random trivia- ISU has had 3 shutouts in their last 10 seasons. Two were against UNI. The other was Baylor, back in '01.

Not that they need it, but Tech had the week off to prepare. Super.



Since we have no idea how good our Cyclones are, there are few results
that would surprise me.

UNI winning and ISU winning by 28 are equal possibilities in my book. Weird.

I'm going with ISU 28-14 because I don't want to contemplate the alternative.


Sunday, September 19, 2010


Clearly, SUI puts way to much emphasis on their game with Iowa State. Their performance in Arizona is exhibit A.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Just Good Enough... lose.

I admire the guts of this program. They consistently push opponents even though they don't have much talent. But in the end they can't make enough of the plays they need to win.

Its the downside of being the perennial underdog. You are the underdog for a reason.


Friday, September 17, 2010


You could pick an ISU win over K State for a bunch of reasons, but I'll go with this one: They really have to if they are going to get another bowl trip.

The key to every ISU season is winning most of the "coin flip" games, the games that could go either way. Northern Illinois was one of those. Colorado and Kansas will be two others. Gotta, gotta, gotta win them.

Find a way, fellas. Find a way.


Saturday, September 11, 2010


All of ISU's strengths were neutralized today, all of their weaknesses laid bare.

It looks like KF has finally realized that a loss to ISU is more damaging than a loss to OSU, so they should take ISU seriously. At $4M per, I would expect a performance like that to be the norm, not the exception.

Don't like being slapped around? Get better.

At least we aren't Minnesota.



I think this will be usual Iowa State trip to Iowa City- a loss that's close enough to frustrate us. Lots of coulda, woulda, shoulda.

27-17 SUI.


Monday, September 06, 2010


A team with National Championship expectations should beat a team like our Cyclones by at least 28 points. You've got to win big to be taken seriously. No squeezing out last minute wins against the inferior. Anything less and the whispers start. Like last year.



I think we can move KU into the "Probable Win" column. (The link is an example of why I moderate comments here.)

Perhaps CU has improved a bit. The game in Boulder may be less of a coin flip now.


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Point Zero

Before any games are played, Sagarin ranked ISU #79, one ahead of Baylor, six behind CU.

Using his predictive math, ISU will go 0-8 in the B12.

Massey has factored in the win over NIU, and has us at #54. That could give us 3 league wins.

Hoping these numbers climb between now and December.



The win over Northern Illinois went better than expected, due almost entirely to the play of each team's QB's.

Both defenses ran the same scheme: stop the run, take their chances that the QB will make mistakes. Arnaud was sharp, and made some really tough throws. One of the INTs was a bad ball, the other a tip at the line. He has clearly improved over the summer, and was able to exploit NIU's secondary. Love seeing the TE involved in the passing game.

ISU was fortunate that NIU's QB was rushing everything, missing throws, and generally a bit out of whack. Not being named the starter until gametime will do that. The fact they made a solid rushing team one-dimensional is a positive sign.

A 9 play, 73 yard drive in the fourth to put the game out of reach was an effort previous Cyclone teams seemed to lack.

By my math, ISU has 6 Red Zone opportunities and came away with 2 TDs and 2 FGs. OK, but that needs to improve to meet the big goals for the year.

A big step up from previous years in both opponent and result.


Sunday, August 29, 2010


I'm going to set my prediction for FB at 5-7. Too many unknowns on defense to be more optimistic.

I see ISU getting wins over NIU and UNI early. NIU will be a nail-biter.

We'll give SUI a run because they don't realize that wins over ISU count towards BCS invites.

Two wins from the KSU/KU/CU group, but the loss will be a real slap to the forehead, like a blocked extra point or something.

One 'upset' of a team that will go bowling: Utah, Tech, Nebraska, Mizzou. Probably a near miss in that four, too.

I won't complain if they do better.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I'm surprised SUI is seriously trying to reign in the drinking culture of Iowa City.

It's their biggest competitive advantage.

Let's look at it rationally:

Two public universities in a small population state.

One town has a Top 10 Party School reputation, an awesome athletic program, and a top notch bar scene.

The other town has a lousy bar scene, historically mediocre sports, and has earned the derisive nickname "Lames".

Yet the two schools are essentially the same size in student population. How is that possible?

One school is able to market itself as a place a place to learn something. The other markets itself as a place to go for a good time.

Every school fills a niche in the academic universe. Iowa City should embrace its place as a Party School. It's their strength.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Based on Ubben's power rankings, ISU should get 2 conference wins. A good starting point.

Just glancing at the schedule, I wish ISU was playing Tech or KU on the KSU date. As both teams have new coaching staffs, it would have been nice to have played them early before they know what's going on or have installed much of their system. So it goes.


Saturday, August 07, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Knows vs Unknowns

I can't blame a kid not going with the known product in Madison over unknown products in Ames or Iowa City.

Madison is a much better town, anyway.

The Hoop Heads say the '12 Iowa HS class is top notch, so Fred needs to get his crew looking like they know what they are doing, even if they don't win a lot.



You can now watch every Sweet 16 game since 2000 at The NCAA Vault.

Damn that 2000 ISU team was good.


Monday, July 19, 2010


When it comes to tough football coaching jobs, Iowa State is in elite company.

The long-term future of ISU athletics centers on getting respectable, fast.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010


ISU spends more on football than I thought- and doesn't win enough per dollar.

But the big surprise? SUI is a horrible underachiever per dollar.

While I think its a little unfair to look at the past 5 ISU years, the three horrible years bookended with 7-6 bowl trips, I was surprised by the comparisons.

ISU plays more games against teams with smaller budgets than I assumed- 23/52. Improving that winning percentage will go a long way in improving the budget, too.

SUI should hardly ever, ever lose, and yet they do. .625 against teams with smaller budgets, 0-3 against bigger (I assume all Ohio State games). Shameful.


Friday, June 18, 2010


While all of these flaws have merit, not listing a completely rebuilt OL as a flaw is interesting.

Aside from Stanzi's ankle sprain, the Goblas got every break they needed last year when they needed it. Things like that average out.

Their fan base will manage to come away from a 9-3 or 8-4 season horribly disappointed.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sporting News: #82

TSN hates our QB and the D in general.



Huskers were bored with winning all the time, anyway.

Pure hubris.


Job 1

Not that folks aren't always trying to improve, but I'd say ISU has a 5 year window to turn itself into at a decent football program before The Texas League blows up for good.

Since the next conference-shopping-period will be based on one's value in football, the math is simple. Get good fast.


The Texas League

There isn't any other option for a new name.


Saturday, June 12, 2010


Random data from US News College Rankings:

Only 9 of the Top 25 schools play BCS football. The top ranked BCS school is Stanford, followed by Duke and Northwestern.

The highest ranked school that has won a national title recently is Notre Dane, #20. USC is #26, Michigan #27.

Iowa State is #88. KU is #100, NU #101, MU #104. Nebraska was invited to the Big Ten because of its "Academic Fit".

Boston University has a larger student body than Iowa State. Rice is Top 25, but is smaller than Drake.



Hlas makes a good case.


Thursday, June 10, 2010


I think Sean Keeler's plan is about as happy an outcome as ISU can hope for.

He also reminds us how friggin' far away Boulder is.

As long as The New Thing can put together its own TV network, and have revenue sharing, its all good.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010


I expect calls to end the end the ISU-SUI football series to begin in 3, 2, 1.....


Big 101112?

Away goes Nebraska. The other dominoes should fall soon.


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Opponent Vaccuum

The ISU sport most nervous about a B12 implosion is wrestling.

Suppose ISU finds itself as one of the "forgetten 4": KU, KSU, Baylor and ISU. ISU would now be a wrestling 'independent', which would make it much harder to field a team and operate versus the present situation.

Losing Big 12 opponents would put wrestling on a very, very short glide path to irrelevance.


Saturday, June 05, 2010


What Hlas said, but with less of a downer.

Sure a drop to the Mountain-CUSA-B12 Leftover-Something League would hurt our collective egos, but it would be a more appropriate fit from a budgetary standpoint. ISU has more in common with Colorado State and Memphis athletically than OU, Texa$ and Nebraska.

Would Cyclone fan rather be a perpetual second-division program amongst the Big Boys, or first-division among teams that don't have deep pockets?

An his point about "prestige"- its "prestige" only among sports fans. The non-sports public assumes that if you are playing Big Time Football that you are a Jock School that gives lip service to academics. The number of public universities that have high quality academics and winning sports is insanely small.


Seats- or Not

This will become moot once the B12 implodes and we find ourselves hosting Louisiana Tech instead of Texas Tech, but I would argue we expand the south bowl using Stand Up Tickets.

I attended a Bundesliga match back in the last century, and the cheapest tickets were behind the goals and everyone stood because there literally were no seats. The section was tiered with 6 to 8 inch steps, each step was a couple feet wide, and the front of each step had a waist-high railing to lean on. You could cram a bunch of people in there at very low cost, and, being cheap, it attracted a rowdy involved crowd.

It isn't that big of a leap from what the Jack already has in the SRO corners, but this would add some structure and order to what is current a rather free-for-all. It can become an football Cyclone Alley for adults.

Best of all, since you aren't dumping a lot of cash into it, if it doesn't work, no biggie.

Adding bodies to Game Day, even at discount, is a good thing.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Too bad ISU doesn't have the DL weapons to exploit this.

SUI may just have to win every game 3-0. Not the best plan, but given their talent on D, it is plausible.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Bubble Team

Fan House tries to formulate a 64 team Super League.

By using attendance as a predictor of TV ratings (a rational theory), ISU is in the conversation for averaging 40K-ish each year.


Saturday, May 15, 2010


Want to keep Nebraska and Mizzou in the family? Replace the worst TV deal in college sports with something that gives cash to someone other than Texas.

The right deal might even attract more schools in. Big 16, anyone?


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Outside Looking In

ESPN does a big "What If" of the new college landscape, using the term MEGA where I used Super. It pretty much lines up with what I posted previously.

Sure enough, ISU is not considered "MEGA", and is a leftover:

Teams Left Out: Cincinnati, Baylor, Boise State, Texas Tech, Louisville, Iowa State, Fresno State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State and Wyoming. One thing is for sure, Cincinnati, Louisville and Texas Tech would be a great addition for any conference to grab.

There's 11 schools right off the bat. Add another leftover (Colorado State? Air Force? Memphis?) and you have a league ISU can compete in.

Since ESPN drives the narrative, and has a financial interest in the MEGA system, look for it to happen.


Monday, May 10, 2010


The fact that Hoiberg has little interest in any other college job is an underrated recruiting trump card.

Hard to use the "He's using ISU as a stepping stone" argument. What job would he find more attractive?


Friday, May 07, 2010


Heard a discussion on sports radio Thursday that I agree with: BCS football will gel into 4 "Superconferences" of 16 teams each.

Each conference champ will go into a Super Playoff. One Big Winner.

The downside is that the BCS conferences have 65 teams. Then you start adding the other schools likely to be in the discussion- Notre Dame, BYU, TCU, Utah, maybe a Boise State or East Carolina- and some present BCS schools are going to be left without a chair when the music stops.

I suspect ISU will be one of those left standing.

At the same time, that could be a good thing. ISU has neither the financial nor emotional resources for Big Time Football in its present form, and would go 2-10 each year as a Super. A drop to UnSuper would stick emotionally, but we would find ourselves amongst a bunch of peers financially.

Assume the TV money would be token, so athletics would be dependent on ticket sales only. I like our chances in the money wars competing with Memphis and Colorado State instead of Nebraska and Texas.

There's an interesting league in ISU, KSU, Baylor and Tech mixed in with the UnSuper parts of Conference USA and the Mountain West. If the Mountain West can fund its own TV network now, the new expanded league would be TV worthy, too. The Supers would have only so many ads to sell.

The transition will be hard, but winning, even as a Mid-Major, will make up for it.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


You are always a surprising guy, Mr. Pollard.

Fortunately for Fred this is the only window where this kind of hire can be made. You don't throw a rookie into a job when the program has momentum, but when it needs a full reboot.

The talking heads have it right- his staff will be the key. There is probably a semi-retired head coach out there who wouldn't mind being the brains of the staff for a few years, able to mentor a young buck with potential.

We're pulling for you, Fred. We're all in this together.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


That isn't the rabbit I expected- way to surprise us, Greg!

I have to agree with Keeler on this one. Mac just didn't fit at ISU. I hope he's awesome at Creighton.

And the search begins.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hat, Meet Rabbit

When you look at the data in this fine Clone Chronicles post, Mac has to pull one heck of a rabbit out of his hat to be coach in September 2011.

The fail rate of DI coaches has to be north of 75%, and we're about to add to that.


Monday, March 29, 2010

New Guy

Maybe the new guy in Iowa City will be a big winner. Maybe not. Lots of hot Mid-Major coaches are now TV analysts or hawking sneakers, too.

Like recruiting, hiring coaches is a total crapshoot. 2/3 don't work out.



CU has no cash to fire Hawkins, but enough to can the WBB coach.

Then again, the buyouts are different by a factor of 20, but the income difference is a factor of 50.

Gotta look like you are trying.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hustle trumps Talent

I guess having 3 McDonald's All-Americans isn't enough to beat Northern Iowa. I'm sure KU will just go out and find a couple more.

They have a funny habit of either making the Final Four or flaming out early. There's a sportswriter metaphor about having a tank full of racing fuel and instability, but I'm not going to work too hard for it.

I shed no tears for KU. Better fire Self, clearly he's in over his head.

Good thing they have football to fall back on.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Since I have a soft spot for basketball Schools that don't play Big Time Football, here are my Final Four teams:

Kansas (wah-wah-wahhhhhh)

It's been a few years since I've been able to make that joke.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Hello, My Name Is"

Good thing Greg and Co. buys name tags by the gross.

Can you play right away? Call now- operators are standing by.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Money helps in hoops, too:

NYT: Big East Winners Spend More Than Losers

Some of those numbers aren't far from lots of DI football budgets.

I must be old, because I remember when DePaul and St. Johns were basketball powers.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Big News

ISU finished last 7 of the last 8 years in the B12 All-Sports rankings. This year we're fifth, so its all good, apparently.

While I think Jamie has done a good job on the whole, does data like that get brought up at his annual review? What should our expectation be? I guess when you have the smallest budget last place isn't surprising.

Anyone who doesn't think the rest of the league would dump us in a second should consider that little factoid.

BTW- We're also keeping our basketball coach.


Sunday, March 07, 2010


A heck of a win for a team that had given up on its lame duck, in-over-his-head coach.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Sorry Fellas

That was a choke.

Rather symbolic of the season as a whole, unfortunately.


Saturday, February 27, 2010


Shoot 45%? Check
Crush your opponent on the boards? Check.
Make some threes? Check.

Look at the ISU half of the box score and one would think they won. Wrong.

Of course CU would be outplayed in every possible way, but shoot an impossible percentage to eek out a home win.



Wednesday, February 24, 2010


A scenario for Big 1011 expansion nobody is talking about: dumping Northwestern and Iowa.

Really- if one is trying to build a Super Conference for maximum eyeballs, Iowa has neither the population base or national interest to be a big TV draw. If you are going to have a football school from a small population state, trade Iowa for Nebraska. Huskers vs. Ohio State/Michigan/Penn State every year? Ratings bonanza!

NW doesn't have the alumni base or local interest, despite being in Chicago. That's what you get for having academic standards.

Iowa fan is smug looking at Iowa State's long-term prospects, but if you take the dispassionate view, all they have is being a legacy.

(I know, it would never happen. Just saying.)



For once, our Cyclones put the game away late. Amazing what happens when you shut down a team that was otherwise scoring at will.

At least the men have tied the football team for B12 wins this season, something I didn't expect would be such a milestone in August. So it goes.

The difference between the #9 and #10 vs. #11 or #12 in the tourney is huge.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bury him, I guess

 If Ron Maly has given up on Greg, then I guess its over.

Then again, Ron gave up on Rhodes after two games, so take his obituary writing at your own risk.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Impossible Happens Again

Iowa State has clinched their third HyVee Cy-Hawk trophy.

Given that Iowa City has every advantage- Huge budget, a win-at-all-costs mentality compared to Ames, 3:1 fan advantage, adoring media, etc, etc, Iowa State should never win this trophy. Never.

The fact that they are running .500 in this "contest" is hysterical, and shows who knows how to get more bang for their buck.

Considering ISU did this the hard way- by losing the football game, and the 3 points that go with it- is even more remarkable.

Granted, Iowa fan doesn't care about this thing. As long as they thump ISU in football and wrasslin', all is well.

It's still fun to win the unwinnable.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Finding A Way

When your last 10 minutes is a collection of bad shots, missed free throws, ole' defense and butterfingers ball handling, the refs are not going to bail you out.

They tend to favor the team that plays like it knows what it is doing.

Just sayin'.



Greg certainly isn't mailing it in- good to see him get on the refs.

If Brackins never shoots another fadeaway jumper, it will still be too many. The dude can draw a foul on every shot attempt if he want to.

Show some stones.


Saturday, February 13, 2010


Beating the #11 team by 24 doesn't suck. Using 16 threes to do it was fun, too.

Good luck in Lincoln, ladies.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Now the target is Colorado.

Cyclone fans need to cross their fingers and toes on all of this realignment talk. We are one departure away from being the northern outpost of Conference USA or eastern end of the Mountain West.

It wouldn't end well for us, friends.


Sunday, January 31, 2010


Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing in the rules that requires Iowa State to spot the other team a 15- point head start.

On the plus side, we have a heck of a 30 minute team on our hands.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Three Quarters

The fellas played 30 minutes of solid basketball- but the lapse at the end of the first half did them in.

While I think they are still short-handed the rest of the way, solid effort and sticking to the gameplan will bring in some wins.

I have no problem cheering for a team that works its butt off. In a way, hard-working and undermanned is the typical ISU sports team.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Lucca has left the team.

I take back everything written below.


Body Of Work

Personally, I think the roadie to Lubbock is much more important than Saturday's visit by the Jayhawks.

Right now, Sagarin has ISU eighth in the B12 between Okie State and Tech. Beat Tech on the road, while they are in turmoil, and you move up a few notches. Lose to KU, and you really don't change. A loss to a Tech team that may be in the process of tanking may be the biggest anchor on your tourney resume come March.

If you don't beat KU at home, you still have a ranked KSU along with Mizzou, a$m and Okie State all making the trip to Ames for you to try to burnish your resume with.

Best case? Sweep CU and NU, win at Tech and OU, beat a$m, Mizzou and OSU at home, and somehow knock off KU or KSU to finish at 10-6. 8-8 with no "bad" B12 losses and I think we're in.

Beat everyone below in the standings and we'll be fine.


Not The Best Plan

Page 14 of the How To Lose Your Job As A College Coach reads:

"Call out your fans for not being supportive enough of your lousy team".

Pat Knight plays it perfectly.

(Honestly, I forgot he was still their coach.)

Do we consider the attendance Wednesday night as a referendum? What's the over/under?


Insight Ratings

Why didn't anyone watch the Insight Bowl?

Nobody gets the NFL Network.

Two details from The Wiz of Odds:

The Insight's ratings were unchanged from last year. The teams that play the game don't matter.

The Texas Bowl, which moved from NFL Network to ESPN, saw its ratings go up 2000%!

That 20 times more viewers than last year. That's how much being on The Mothership matters.


Insight Ratings

Why didn't anyone watch the Insight Bowl?

Nobody gets the NFL Network.

Two details from The Wiz of Odds:

The Insight's ratings were unchanged from last year. The teams that play the game don't matter.

The Texas Bowl, which moved from NFL Network to ESPN, saw its ratings go up 2000%!

That 20 times more viewers than last year. That's how much being on The Mothership matters.


Sunday, January 17, 2010


Its nice to see the good guys win one they easily could have lost. Success at defeating Brackins double teams helps.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Insight pics

Really strong work. Nice technical explanations, too.



A wonderful effort was undone by an inability to defend the dribble drive or the pick-and- roll.

Play like that every night and the wins will come.


Monday, January 11, 2010


I did a lot of growing up when I was at Iowa State. I was able to do it out of the public eye, which was nice.

Chris Colvin gets to grow up in public.

I hope he is better for it. Initial reaction is positive.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Too Late

The fans of The School Without A National Championship Most Deserving Of One are going to be insufferable until they play Northwestern in November.

The upside? We can only help fuel the insanity.

Personally, I think Iowa will win every game by 35 points. If they don't someone should be fired.


Saturday, January 09, 2010


I watched the Minnesota game this afternoon, and a couple of things stuck out:

- If Austin can get any consistency to his passing game, he will be a devastating runner.
- Tackling, until the last Minney drive, was 100% better than previous years. Lots of solid open field stops, almost always by the first player to make contact. Why that disappeared late is a puzzle.

Cyclone Fanatic analyized the numbers from the year. The biggest one for me, and in the annual rant about it, it's hard to win when your points-per-game is 20+ spots below your yards-per-game. I don't care if you are rolling up 700 on the other team, if you can't muster more than 14 you are in for a tough year.

Likewise, the defense must be saluted for improving so much in the points category.


Upon Further Review

The Iowa State men's basketball team is crappy, in a not-playing-up-to-potential way.

Down the stretch, I was kinda cheering for NDSU. They played with heart, hustle, had movement on offense, and looked like they were following a game plan. The deserved to win.

ISU looked like a rec team from the Y.

I can't really argue with any of this.

I see an 0-5 start to the B12, which the conference wins O/U at 4.

And next year will probably be worse. Ugh.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Good, Great

Iowa State didn't play badly against Duke- Duke just played really well.

Exhibit A was how Duke never never panicked after getting a shot blocked. Somehow the ball ended up in the hands of someone who got it in the bucket. No problem.

Does ISU have room for improvement? Certainly. But sometimes you just get beat.


Friday, January 01, 2010

Flip Flop and a Dead Horse

Ron Maly heaps praise on Paul Rhodes and the Cyclones, in an apparent turnaround from September when he compared Rhodes to Walden and Criner.

But nowhere do you read a "I've changed my mind about the guy" or "I was wrong".

Not surprising, coming from a guy who keeps beating up a coach he's asked exactly one question of in 15 years.



Keeler declares Rhodes restores "It" to Iowa State.


Minney Recap

" extraordinarily beatable Iowa State team .." won anyway.

The defense held when it needed to.



Update:The comments to the recap are epic.