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.