Monday, December 30, 2013

Bowl Season May Be Ugly

I don't like the match-ups most of the B12 teams face this year. While I don't expect a complete wipeout, looking bad while finishing 2-3 wouldn't surprise me.

Texas will struggle to keep up with Oregon
Ditto Tech versus Arizona State
Baylor will get a serious challenge from The Best Program Nobody Knows aka Central Florida
Bama will crush the Sooners.
Okie State has the horses to beat Mizzou, but will their heads be in it?

Looks like I'll be working on my To-Do list rather than watching football.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Half the fun of watching the Cyclones is studying the second half adjustments. At some point Fred finds a personnel and strategy combination that results in a 15-2 run over 3 minutes that wins the game.

This has to be a maddening group to game plan against, and double tough to adjust to as the game goes along. So much versatility.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Finishing Better Than They Start

At some point this Slow Start/Big Finish routine is going to bite our Cyclones on the butt, but for now it is quite the fun ride.

To watch the Hawkeyes lose is a most Cyclone way was fantastic. The second half is classic.

Monday, December 09, 2013


While coming back from down 18 to win in OT is impressive, not getting behind will be more important long-term.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Role Change 2

Perhaps the dumpster fire that was the ISU offense is going to change- CPR canned the OC and running backs coach.

Its good to see that lousy work isn't tolerated, and that changes will be made when they need to be.

Bring in a few Jucos to fill holes, get everyone on the same page, and go win some games.

Role Change 1

It was fun to watch ISU deliver some disappointment rather be on the receiving end.

Given how lousy the season was as a whole, the ending was as good as we could have hoped for.

Which moves us to the next post-

Sunday, November 24, 2013


The 34-0 shutout of KU was cathartic for everyone involved. It was a nice reward for those who put on enough layers to spend 3 hours in 5 degree weather

It was an important win for two reasons: it gave the program a bit of momentum headed into the WV finale, and it took all of the wind from KU's sails after breaking their losing streak last week. Climbing the standings is a long-term zero-sum game. To climb the standings, you need to consistently beat everyone below you. KU is a team ISU needs to keep a rung below to have long term progress.

WVU appears to be in football trouble, so the best thing to do would be to hand them an anchor to the bottom of the standings.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


While it's fun to have basketball matter, I didn't realize how irrelevant our Cyclones have been on th national stage: the current #21 ranking is their highest in 12 years.

That covers four coaches.

The current play of the team gives me some confidence that this won't be another high water mark for the decade. Fred's teams usually struggle in November and December as the new faces find their role- that doesn't appear an issue so far.

BTW- the Detroit press blames Michigan's loss in Ames not on solid Cyclone play down the stretch but on youth and not having a leader yet.

Sunday, November 03, 2013


Looks like ISU is trying to revert to their historic norm.

Given the injuries and youth- the number of Freshmen who are playing is terrifying- Cyclone fans are willing to punt on this year. But the program is losing momentum with every blowout.

I imagine a few coaches are going to lose their jobs, but a angry mob needs to see that changes are being made. The offense is arguably the worst among the power conferences. That can't stand.

If the NCAA really cared about competitive balance, every school would get 3 weeks of practice at the end of the year, bowl game or not. But the NCAA has a financial incentive in keeping the traditional football powers in power, so teams that need the extra practice don't get it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


In the previous 17 Big XII seasons, Iowa State football has finished in the top half of scoring exactly twice: 4th in 2005, 6th in 2000.

That explains only having 37 conference wins across 17 seasons.

Until this club can score regularly, they will struggle. If I knew what would solve it, I wouldn't be a blogger.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I admire anyone who has the time and skill set to work the data like this.

A Cyclone fan with that time and skill set is a double bonus.

Cy-Hawk Trend

A friend who is smarter than me pointed out this interesting trend:

Kirk Ferentz is 2-5 in Ames.

His teams that won in Ames finished the year with 10 and 11 wins.

The teams that lost in Ames finished their years with 7, 7, 7, 6 and 1 win.

To look at it the other way, the ISU teams that have beaten Iowa in Ames have finished with 6, 3, 7, 7 and 4 wins. That trend is less definitive.

Since few see this year's Hawkeye club winning 8 or 9 more games, Iowa State should probably win.

Or rather, Iowa should probably find a way to lose.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Now We Know

The loss to UNI only cemented Iowa State's title as Program Hardest On Its Own Fans.

During the game I started joking with the Cyclone fan net to me which painful loss from the past was the most painful- and we had a damn long list to choose from. UNI '13 is definitely on it. Delivered at a moment when your fan base was ready to go nuts, it is the worst loss of the Rhodes era. Considering how badly they played in Memphis, its been a while since Cyclone Football has been worth cheering for.

So our Cyclones are a work in progress. At least we will have no illusions about our underdog status the rest of the way.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


UNI should have won in Madison last fall, and the Badgers went on to the Rose Bowl. The Panthers could have won in Iowa City had they gotten a few breaks.

I'm going to assume this game won't be won until the fourth quarter. The heat is going to require lots of rotation of the second team, which should be an advantage for the Cyclones. UNI's first 22 can play, but I hope there is a drop off when comparing ISU's second units to UNI's. If there isn't, we might as well lose since its going to be a long fall anyway. Pull that Band-Aid off early and quickly.

So don't panic if it's tied at 14 at the half. It will be a war of attrition.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Punching Above Their Weight

The DM Register did a good job figuring out the athletic and football budgets for several conferences. Those are hard numbers to parse out.

Iowa State again has the smallest athletic budget in the Big 12, yet is fourth or fifth best in performance.  Nice job all around. That kind of result is all we can ask for.

My only quibble is the "Cash Spent per football win" formula only focused on one year being too short. One good or bad year skews the results too much. I would prefer a 3 or 5 year horizon to get a clearer view of things.

The big surprise? Iowa has the fourth biggest budget in the Big 10, yet is last in the league for performance the last two years. Ouch.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Long Fall

If you follow the links for Iowa and Iowa State, you will find that at the moment both teams combine to be favored in exactly one conference game, Kansas over ISU in Ames.


We Clonies are used to the perpetual underdog role. That is a new experience for fans in Iowa City. Another 2-6 or worse year- I hear talk of 0-8 being a real possibility- and things will get real ugly for Coach-For-Life Kirk.

The goal for the '13 Cyclones: Continue the forward momentum, because there isn't much in Iowa City.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Cyclone Fan's White Whale

The South Endzone Project rears its head again.

I understand that lots of Cyclone fans feel that as long as Trice a sort-of-open south end zone it will have a "second tier" look to it. But right now Iowa State is a second tier football program! Playing not-quite-.500-football doesn't justify a $50 million dollar upgrade.

But let's play what if from a business viewpoint: $50 million would replace 5000 current end zone  and hillside seats and add, best case, 10,000 new seats. Dream scenario, $50 per seat for 6 games equals $4.5 Million per season, giving you a payoff of roughly 12 years. But that's best case scenario.

As it stands now, end zone seats go for ~$30 on a season ticket. Hillsides are ~$20. Do you think all those fans are going to suddenly jump to $50 for a high end zone seat? Nope. They will have to be heavily discounted, probably in that $20-$30 range. Half the revenue means double the payback period. 25 years on a project? No. Way. It just doesn't pencil out.

Add in that the number of visitor tickets has dropped dramatically with Nebraska and Mizzou out of the league (not that Mizzou fans travel, but they could have), and the project gets even harder to pull off.  I know, luxury suites could be added to drive some revenue, but how much can you charge a high-roller for a lousy view? The article is right- unless someone donates $10+ million for the project, the South Bowl will remain a pipe dream.

Not that it wouldn't be cool and help our Cyclones look First Tier- but they have to win a lot of games before that will become a reality.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Out Iowa City Has Always Wanted

Looks like SUI can finally drop  Ames Community College off of its schedule.

They've been looking for an excuse since '98. Now they have one. It was fun while it lasted.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Forecast: Fugly

Check out the quote in this article:

“We have had games where we’ve held teams to 40, 50 points,” Irish forward Pat Connaughton said. “I think that’s what we want to do in order to come out with this win.”

In other words, ND would prefer to the final score look like a halftime total for a typical ISU game.

That's everything wrong with college basketball.

I expect the game to be painful to watch. Lots of fouls, ND mugging ISU at every opportunity, and as a result, clean open looks will be hard to find. It's tough to get open when the defender is holding your arm.

The good news is that if ISU can get a ~10 point lead, ND will have to do things they don't like. Advantage: ISU. Score early, score often. First team to 60 probably wins.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Best and Worst

Iowa State's win in Morgantown had the two extremes of Cyclone basketball. The first half was brilliant- free flow on offense, solid defense, a 44-20 halftime lead. But the second half had a 16 minute stretch that was horrid- 14 turnovers, bad rushed shots, and giving up 54 (!) points.

But the Cyclones made enough shots down the stretch to pull out the win, and finish 3-6 on the road. Not great but respectable.

Watching that game confirms that in the B12 and NCAA tourneys ISU can beat anyone- and can lose to anyone, too. Fasten your seat belts.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Ticket: Punched Take II

Now they are really in. A win in Morgantown and a few in KC will go a long way towards improving on a 12 seed.  The Cyclones found themselves in the same situation last year- win in KC and avoid the dreaded 8/9 game. They failed. Learn from the past.

The win over Okie State was exhibit A of how much better the Cyclones do when they simply hustle and play with energy. The game got tight when it turned into Afternoon At The Y midway through the second half. Quick shots, lazy D, the whole bit.

The examples of success and failure are pretty stark.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ticket: Punched

Solid road win? Check.

5 Top 25 recruiting classes in a row and you find yourself in 6th place on the NCAA bubble? Fail. Imagine what any of the other B12 coaches would do with Baylor's talent. Scary.

Win three of five down the stretch (Tech, KU and OSU at home, roadies at OU and WVU) and ISU should be the 3 or 4 seed in the B12 tourney and dodge the first round game on Thursday. Wins in KC help seeding in the NCAAs.

With five players averaging 9 points per game, they are a match-up nightmare. Commence havoc.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

16 of 20

In Iowa State's three most crushing road losses, the opponent (Kansas, Okie State, Texas) scored on 16 of their 20 possessions in the last 3 minutes of regulation.  ISU held the lead at that 3 minute mark of each of those games. Full details at the Ames Trib.

One more stop in each game and ISU probably gets the win.

The Cyclones do a nice job of getting ahead with their offense, and don't need to turn into a knock 'em sock 'em, grind it out of defensive team that then struggles to score 50 each night. But a few key stops will go a long way.

Their trip to Waco is a good place to start. the Bears came from way behind to almost beat OU at home. They aren't dead until the buzzer, boys.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Playoff Mode

It's an old cliche, but the Cyclones may as well get into a playoff mindset right now. Losses can be fatal to their NCAA hopes.

Six games remain- all are winnable, and all are also losable. But going 4-2 or 5-1 will get them a solid seed in both Kansas City and the NCAAs. But that kind of finish means getting over their road funk in a hurry. They have been on the cusp of several road wins, but can't make the stop they need. At some point the averages will even out and you will get the break you need. Just hurry.