Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Who you are, who you want to be

With a few games to go there are two groups of teams in the Big 12: five at the top who are pretty good, and five at the bottom just trying to keep up.

It's discouraging to not play very well against OU and Texas, but those teams will blow o it Iowa State when they set their minds to it. Given the financial gulf between The Big Boys and ISU, that should be expected.

But the five schools in the bottom half of this years league are financial peers of the Cyclones, and they are who ISU is really competing against year in and year out. This year, the Cyclones could finish at the top of the bottom half. They already have wins against Baylor and TCU with Kansas and West Virginia on deck. Wins against both not only earns a decent bowl trip, it also solidifies their place at the front of the Small Money league within the Big 12.

But you have to win or you just continue being viewed as a bottom feeder.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Earning It

Even the new guy in the league doesn't respect the Cyclones:

TCU violated one of the primary rules of being a "good" Big 12 team -- do not lose at home against Iowa State. Ever.

Welcome to the big time. If you don't show up to play the Chump, you become the Chump. Chump.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/10/07/4317147/loss-to-iowa-state-proves-tcu.html#storylink=cpy

Sunday, September 23, 2012


As if showing your fan base that Cyclone Football is trending in the right direction to sell more tickets, the implosion in Iowa City presents a big opportunity to position themselves as The Big Show in the state. Its a lot easier to tag one program as Troubled or Loser when there is a big difference between the two. Contrast helps.

You won't win every in-state or head-to-head recruiting battle with SUI, but winning one or two in each class adds up over time. Hayden understood the importance of dominating ISU. It's time to turnt he tables.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Attitudes like this are why Iowa State fans relish beating Iowa so much.

There may never be an ISU win over Iowa that isn't considered an upset, because Iowa is the Best Football Program Without A National Title (in their minds). 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Numbers Game

An excellent football article in the New York Times of all places. Looking ahead at what Penn State faces, Iowa State's plight in the 80's was brought forth as an example of what happens when your numbers get cut.

I was a student in Ames during the Walden years, and I didn't realize at the time how big the numbers gap was between ISU and, well, everyone else.  It doesn't bode well for PSU in the near term.

But those ISU teams hung around better than they should have, and scratched together a 6-5 season in 1990. But being down 20 or 30 players makes the 1990 win in Norman and Marv Seiler's win over Nebraska even more remarkable. Plucky doesn't begin to describe those teams.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Penn State Fan, A Peek Into Your New World

Hello Penn State fan. Let me give you a brief tour of your new world as a fan.

Hopefully you are entering the Acceptance phase of the news that your football program has been put in an induced coma. That will make things easier. It's going to be a struggle for a while. You are going to have to reset your view of the world for a few years until the numbers come back to even and you get some momentum back.

The good news- you have massive infrastructure. Stadiums that hold 100K+ are pretty rare. That's a nice revenue-generating asset to have in your pocket. You have a large fan base that is willing to buy tickets. When the time is right for the bandwagon to get crowded again, you will be flush with cash.

You already know most of the bad. It will be a tough sell to get four and five star recruits to come in for awhile. You will have to do more with less. Start by bringing in tough kids who want to play with a chip on their shoulders, for whom knocking off an Ohio State or Michigan once in a while will be enough of a reward. That's the kind of thing you will need to sell.

Little secret- those kind of players are fun to root for. Seeing kids outwork and outhustle the five-star recruits is a hoot. When they beat a team with a talent advantage, you will celebrate like you've never celebrated before. Because for a while it will be different.

You will now be happy after every single win, no matter how lowly the opponent. It will be a long time before you are relieved you didn't lose. Admit it- you felt that way at least four times a season. "Good thing we didn't lose to THAT team!"

Here's another bit of good news- you are about to find out who the real fans are, and who were going to games for the good time. The next few years will be the attendance nadir for Penn State, but you can look around and see who is in it for better or worse.

This might be hard, but reset yourself mentally. Prepare to go 0-12 this year. If you end up 4-8 with some close losses, the season will feel like a success. That is your new reality. Someday you will be able to say "I was a fan in '12 when nobody else would be."

Sunday, July 15, 2012


The most striking thing about this poll? Iowa isn't on it.

It's a real change that the press doesn't consider the GoBlas one of the five best team Iowa State will play this year. That can't sit well in IC.

Or the press doesn't think ISU can win in Kinnick. I can't say I blame them.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Tough Out

As long as Iowa State has the smallest athletic budget in the league, our expectations, especially in football, have to be tempered. Anything above 4 wins has to be considered a success.

Personally, I'm happy if the Cyclones are viewed by the rest of the league as that team they will probably beat, but it will be a damn struggle, especially in Ames.

I think Dave Uebben has a "Punches above their weight" view that is about right.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How Does Iowa State WIn?

The lead of the Pre-Snap Read  preview encapsulates the football world's view of Iowa State: How do they win? The damning number is this: Texas signed more 4-star recruits this winter than Iowa State has in 10 years. Combined.

It's numbers like that that pop in my head when more enthusiastic Cyclone fans start talking consistent winning and better bowl games. The raw numbers make it very, very hard.

The raw numbers also make the upset wins all the more special.

Thursday, May 03, 2012


New promise from this site- from now on I only link to B12 football projections that have Iowa State somewhere other than last or next-to-last.

No matter how well the Cyclones do in football, it's always assumed to be a fluke.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


The new "Big Four Classic" is a public admission: Iowa and Iowa State are tired of losing to Drake and UNI, and aren't going to take it anymore.

Moving road trips to Knapp and McCloud to the "neutral" WFA says nothing more than "We're chicken". After a few years Iowa and Iowa State will simply let the series end and stop playing either Drake or UNI, and will use those dates for two more wins over East Mudboot State.

Pathetic, weak, and a loss for fans of all four schools.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Good Riddance

I hated Frank Martin's style of play at K State- it was more street brawl than basketball, or basketbrawl in the Detroit Pistons of the late 80's-early 90's style. Fugly. Everything basketball shouldn't be.

Add to that Frank's gall at orchestrating a mauling, then complaining that the opposing team shot more free throws. You can't have it both ways, ace.

Hopefully the Wildcats hire a coach with a defensive style that involves more than just "Grab and Hold".

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Clearly, the Fred Experiment isn't working out. There's a reason you don't bring in a cast of refugees from other teams and make a team. The Land of Misfit Toys doesn't work well together.

But lacking a clear alternative, and without the cash for a buyout, we'll soldier on.

The above is sarcasm folks. Fred's great- the good times are back.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Big Ending

Looking ahead, ISU needs to build up wins while it can. The B12 schedule ends at K State, at Mizzou, home to Baylor.



After thumping two inferior teams- on the road- it's clear Fred's boys are finding a rhythm. They are challenging the great teams and taking care of business when they need too.

While they are susceptible to taking teams lightly (cough- Okie State- cough) when focused and on task they run the gameplan, find the open man, and win. I think this team can be as good as it wants to be.

While two games with Baylor and one each with KU and Mizzou remain- This could be fun.

Saturday, January 07, 2012


The most impressive part of the win over a$m wasn't the first half scoring spree- it was finishing the dang game. Up 19 at half, they Cyclones never let it get closer than 15 in the entire second half, and ended up winning by 24. They increased their margin even after bringing in subs. Awesome.

It was fun watching a team continue to run its stuff the whole way, playing aggressive defense, making the extra pass, doing all of the same things that built the big lead. If ISU backed off on anything it was giving up easy shots after offensive rebounds- no point in adding a free throw and giving the Aggies a bit of momentum.

So now ISU sits at 2-0 with a road win. They two best teams in the league are next week, but given their play against UT and a$m at least you can say "Why the heck not?"