Sunday, October 30, 2011

Slobber knocker

Saturday was exhibit A of why I don't bet on sports.

SUI was a 15 point favorite at Minnesota, and lost.

ISU was a 15 point dog in Lubbock and won. By 34.

I'm not sure which is more surprising- the win or the margin. The Cyclones simply manhandled Tech in every way. It was the kind of performance that we aren't used to seeing, sadly. It would be fun if it became the norm rather than the exception.

Now Iowa State prepares for a Kansas team that mustered only 41 yards in 36 plays against Texas. 41 on 36. I've never seen that before. The hardest part of the week will be getting the Cyclones to bring the same focus they had in Lubbock to bear on the Jayhawks. Being back in the bowl chase should do that.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Smaller, Slower, Weaker

Iowa State is all of the above, and yet made a$m sweat a bit. It was the kind of effort that will keep fans coming back, especially when the weather is spectacular.

The five-games-without-drawing-a-holding-penalty-streak is just sick, yet a symptom of being smaller, slower, and weaker on the DL than everyone else. Other teams don't get flagged because they don't have to hold (much) to get the job done.

Unfortunately my eyes are not trained enough to tell if ISU is getting better over time, if CPR recruits are an upgrade over Danny Mac or Chiz recruits. I do know that the schedule is getting better, er, tougher.

Heck, I think this team could beat this year's Utah, Colorado and maybe Nebraska. So it goes. FWIW- ISU has lost to 4 of the Sagarin Top 30. Iowa is 0-1. That's a huge difference.

Keep grinding- hopefully the corner is nearby.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Deja Vu

This is exactly the situation where CPR has led ISU to gigantic upsets. In a way, beating A$M would be less surprising than beating Nebraska in '09- our starting quarterback will be suiting up.

Not saying it will happen, but the conditions are exactly the same as the Nebraska and Texas wins. This time we're at home.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Ah, September was a fine month, wasn't it Cyclone fans?

October has reminded us of two things:

A. Iowa State can beat teams in the bottom half of Div. I and even the best of Div. II
B. There is still a giant gulf between Iowa State and the Top 50. Talent, depth, everything.

It's no accident that you can pull a random Top 25 from each decade and 15 of the names are in every single poll. Good football requires momentum- once you have it its much easier to maintain than it is to build it, and most importantly it pulls you over the dips.

Whatever momentum Iowa State had on October 1 has been sucked away by those with big budgets, big talent, and momentum.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Sometimes improvement isn't obvious. Go read this review of the defense's work against Baylor. We can watch the game and think that Baylor just gashed us- but in reality they gash everybody. In fact, Iowa State made them work for their points more than usual, and equal to K State. Perspective is key. I made bowl projects in the past by looking at how much differential a defense had on opposing teams compared to the opponents average output. The ranking against all schools only tells half the story. Get the offense to put more points on the board and we may be on to something.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Turning Point

I suspect CPR is pitching this week's game against Mizzou as a key moment in the season. Either Iowa State stops killing itself with bad penalties, turnovers and anemic offense, or they limp home with a 1-8 finish after a 3-0 start. Mizzou is in a similar spot. Two losses to ranked teams have them in last with ISU, and statistically they are twins- good at the same things, bad at the same things. This game looks a lot more winnable than it did in July, but the Cyclones are going to need their first complete game of the season to pull it off. That's a big maybe.


I'm old enough to remember a time when Iowa State would only fumble once a year or so.

Friday, October 07, 2011


It seems CPR has spent this week building up everyone's spirits after the loss to Texa$. "We played with Texa$- it was the mistakes that killed us." A look at the stats shows good drives, with failures when things got close.

Next up is a Baylor squad that is more Arena League than Texa$ League. They score points in bunches, and give up points in bunches, too. Can ISU score in the Red Zone rather than miss field goals? Can the defense get enough stops to be close in the 4th?

Let's go with another 36-35 loss for Baylor. Stranger things have happened.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


The Lonhorns set the tone early when they went for it on 4th and short inside the 20 on their opening drive:

We're here to grind you into the ground, punk.

Grind they did.

Texas didn't want to just beat Iowa State- they wanted to remind Iowa State and everyone else in the Texas League that they are in charge, they call the shots, and everyone else is in the Texas League by their blessing. We crush you in football, and you cash some of our TV check. At the end of the game your line is:

Thank you sir, may I please have another?

Texas reminds we Cyclones not to forget our seat on the football bus, and to act accordingly.