Category Archives: Football

The Big Game

It is the week of the Big Game. I recently got an e-mail from Jason Baier that I thought that I would repost. The Iowa-Iowa State game is a big deal in this state. There are times when the rivalry does affect our lives because of how seriously a person or a group can take it. When the word’s “friendly rivalry” don’t really seem to apply.

I have been a victim of the rivalry once. Olivia and I were driving to Burlington to watch Elainie play in a softball tournament. I would like to say that I am making this up, but it is a true story. We were pulled over and given a fix it ticket for having a Iowa State license plate cover.

The exact words that came out of the cop’s mouth before he gave me the ticket was, “I know you like the Cyclones on your side of the state . . .”

Despite the inconvenience of getting pulled over and getting a ticket, I’ve never really feared for my safety in Iowa City or “their side of the state” because I was a Cyclone fan. It is this fact that makes this article below so ridiculous for me. The commentary in the story is also courtesy of Jason Baier as well.

Rivalry gone badLonghorns fan nearly castrated in bloody bar scuffle

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — To some Oklahoma football fans, there are things that just aren’t done in the heart of Sooner Nation, and one of them is to walk into a bar wearing a Texas Longhorns T-shirt.

That’s exactly what touched off a bloody skirmish that left a Texas-shirt-wearing fan nearly castrated and an Oklahoma fan facing aggravated assault charges that could put him in prison for up to five years.

The shocking case has set off a raging debate in this football-crazed region about the extreme passions behind a bitter rivalry. Some legal observers have even questioned whether this case could ever truly have an impartial jury.

“I’ve actually heard callers on talk radio say that this guy deserved what he got for wearing a Texas T-shirt into a bar in the middle of Sooner country,” said Irven Box, an attorney in this city 20 miles from Oklahoma’s campus in Norman.

According to police, 32-year-old Texas fan Brian Christopher Thomas walked into Henry Hudson’s Pub on June 17 wearing a Longhorns T-shirt and quickly became the focus of football “trash talk” from another regular, 53-year-old Oklahoma fan Allen Michael Beckett.

Thomas told police that when he decided to leave and went to the bar to pay his tab, Beckett grabbed him in the crotch, pulled him to the ground and wouldn’t let go, even as bar patrons tried to break it up. When the two men were separated, Thomas looked down and realized the extent of his injuries.

“He could see both of his testicles hanging on the outside of his body,” said Thomas’ attorney, Carl Hughes. “He was wearing a pair of white shorts, which made it that much worse.”

It took more than 60 stitches to close the wound, and police interviewed Thomas at a nearby hospital emergency room.

Beckett’s attorney, Billy Bock, concedes that his client commented about Thomas’ shirt, but said it was just good-natured ribbing (is there such a thing in a rivalry like that?) and that he apologized to Thomas when it appeared to upset the Texas fan. Later, Bock said Thomas approached his client at the bar and threatened him.

“My client is a little man, and this guy [Thomas] is 30 to 40 pounds bigger than him,” Bock said. “He’s bigger, stronger, younger and probably faster, and he aggressively leaned in (what does aggressively lean in mean?) and touched my client and threatened to beat him up. … My guy was defending himself and just took control of the situation.” (by taking control of his “boys”)

Thomas’ attorney disputes Beckett’s version. “That’s total malarkey,” (malarkey? we are definitely in the south aren’t we)Hughes said. “My client never said a word to him. He got up to pay and when he paid and left a tip, the guy grabbed him.”

Beckett, a 53-year-old church deacon, federal auditor and former Army combat veteran (he is an Army combat veteran and he grabbed the guys jewels instead of just beating him up?), has pleaded not guilty. His next court appearance comes Oct. 4, two days before the Sooners and Horns tangle in their annual football game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Thomas, who once lived in Houston and became a Texas fan during the heyday of star running back Earl Campbell, is still recovering from his injuries but has returned to work as a meat cutter at a Sam’s Club warehouse store.(this story is too good to be true)

Like Beckett and Thomas, many fans of the two college squads never attended either university, but have come to identify so closely with these teams that they attach banners to their cars, wear team colors on game day and even have programmed their car horns to play school fight songs.(do you know anyone like this?)

Dallas police Sgt. Andy Harvey, a 12-year veteran of the force, said it’s not uncommon for fights to break out between fans of the two schools.

“People are passionate about their teams and their universities, and that’s a good thing,” he said, “but when you mix a real passionate sports fan and then get a little alcohol in there, sometimes it’s not a good mix.”

On both Texas and Oklahoma fan Web sites, boosters trade familiar tales of having their car tires slashed or windshields smashed for sporting the opposing team’s sticker in enemy territory.

Assistant District Attorney Scott Rowland said the rivalry will have no bearing on the way the case is prosecuted.

“It appears that it played a part in the fight,” he said, “but that won’t play any more of a role in our handling of the case than would a fight over a girl or a car or a song on the jukebox.”

Source URL: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/football/ncaa/09/11/oklahoma.texas.fight.ap/index.html?cnn=yes

I mean the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry can be kind of intense (they did have to stop playing each other for 40 years because of the violence) but I’m glad nothing like this happens around here.

A Cold Mountain

So Saturday was a pretty horrible game. Iowa State got completely smoked by a Division 1-AA opponent on its home field. Please don’t give me the line that if we hadn’t committed all of the turnovers or missed the field goal and the extra point we could have won the game or the score would have been closer. All of those things are part of the game and it doesn’t change the truth. That truth is that we flat out got smoked. We flat out got smoked by a Division 1-AA school. We got smoked on our own field. This is the equivalent of getting beat up by your little sister. No make that this is the equivalent of getting beat up by your little sister while all of your friends are watching it happen. Plus all her friends are watching it happen. Plus your mortal enemy is watching it happen and he gets to fight you next week.

The scariest part to me is that some Cyclone fans are starting to panic. They are starting to panic because it is already 2 games into the season and the realist is looking at our schedule and it is dawning on them that we are very likely looking at an 0-12 season.

That is a hard pill to swallow. Even Jim Walden never had a season where he lost every single game.

It is my sincerest hope that some of the what I like to call “New Age Cyclone Fans” that ran Dan McCarney out of town last year noticed what happened in Auburn last Saturday night. While UNI was making us punch ourselves in the face while saying “Quit hitting yourself”, McCarney was helping his new team beat nationally ranked Auburn. You can try to minimize his contribution to that victory if you want, but it is only a matter of time before you have to admit that he can coach. He did things at Iowa State that were considered practically impossible. Yet after falling 1 field goal short two years in a row of winning the Big XII North and then having a bad year, he was run out of Ames like he was Frank Solich.

I’m not saying that I don’t think Chizik won’t get it turned around. I just want it noted by some Iowa State fans at some point that Dan McCarney could coach and was not treated fairly. Essentially he was run out of town based on inflated expectations that wouldn’t have existed if he hadn’t made the Cyclone program into a program that had expectations.

I don’t expect this to happen. I hear the same people that ran McCarney out calling the call in shows and they are angry. They don’t get why we are this bad. They don’t get why a team with a first year head coach with no previous head coaching experience could be this bad. Why a team with virtually no talent on the offensive line could struggle. Why a team with no defensive line depth can’t get pressure on the quarterback or stop the run.

They have their scapegoats already. They already are demonizing Meyer. They think if we just threw the ball to Blythe more everything would work out. These people remind me of a quote I often think of when I see somebody that has created a bad environment, but don’t understand why bad things keep happening. This quote is from Cold Mountain and it is a reference to the South and the Civil War, but I think it applies to this Iowa State football season and the “New Age Cyclone Fans” that keep calling radio shows and clogging up message boards completely confused by why we are so bad this year:

“They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say ‘Shit, it’s raining!'”

If Dan McCarney wasn’t the high class person that he is, I would swear that he is sitting in his Tampa home laughing his ass off.

Don’t get me wrong, because I didn’t agree with the decision to fire McCarney doesn’t mean I didn’t agree with the decision to hire Chizik. After the betrayal had been completed, somebody had to pick up the sword. We had to hire somebody. I think Chizik is an excellent coach, but when you hire somebody without any head coaching experience, you need to realize that there is going to be growing pains. We are essentially paying him to learn on the job. The first few seasons might be pretty brutal. Eventually I have no doubt that he will get us back to being as good as we were under McCarney. Perhaps even a little further than that. Cyclone fans just need to be patient and lower their expectations. They just have to realize the criteria for success this season is not going to be wins and losses. The criteria is going to be whether or not we improve as the season continues. I just hope that we can keep filling the stadium.

The pictures from the game have been posted. I also posted a couple seemingly random bee pictures and a couple of pictures from the Pufferbilly Days 5K. I was going to combine the ISU-UNI pictures with Pufferbilly Days pictures, but in the end there weren’t many Pufferbilly Days pictures because I slept through the parade and I didn’t stay out on Saturday night because I had church in the morning and my Aunt Linda was going to be there and I hadn’t seen her for awhile. So I guess it is kind of random.


Iowa State Cyclones versus Northern Iowa Panthers

Brush with Fame

I don’t have the pictures from Saturday’s butt whooping that UNI put on us put together yet, but there was one story that occurred on Saturday that I wanted to share right away.

I didn’t do my normal tailgating on Saturday. Instead I went to see 3:10 to Yuma with Russell. After we had spent the appropriate amount of time discussing the movie, I made my way to my normal tailgating party. The kickoff for the game was at 6 pm. I made it to the tailgate at about 4:45.

By this time Corey and Willy had moved their tailgate closer to the stadium by combining their tailgate with the tailgate of Corey’s friend Chief. No sooner had I tracked them down when B-Ross from SoundOff! walked by. I didn’t see him, but one of the other people in our group yelled his name as he walked by.

B-Ross came back and shook my hand and asked us who we were. I introduced him to Corey and Willy. Then I told him that he needed more airtime. When Andy left for Kansas City I knew it was going to be a major blow to the show, but the week that B-Ross co-hosted he showed that he was the best person to replace Andy.

For whatever reason, they decided to give the co-host job to Heather Burnside who is actually quite wretched and the show has suffered.

B-Ross told me that I should tell that to Keith Murphy.

I told him if I ever see him I’ll let him know.

B-Ross said, “Let’s go.”

So the Willy, Corey, and I followed B-Ross down to another tailgate where Keith Murphy was hanging out with his family.

B-Ross told him that we had something to tell him, so Keith Murphy got up and walked over and shook our hands.

I told him that B-Ross needed more airtime.

Keith looked at B-Ross and asked him, “How much did you pay these guys?”

I told him that he didn’t need to pay us anything and if I was ever lucky enough to win the Chili’s gift certificate (for answering the weekly trivia question) I would be honored to take B-Ross with me.

Keith said, “Nobody has ever done that.”

Then Keith saw my camera and asked if we wanted our picture taken with B-Ross.

We all wanted to. So Keith Murphy took the picture below:


Iowa State vs. UNI

After the picture, we talked about how years ago, Keith Murphy had compared Willy to Chewbacca after he and Jesse were interviewed before the Iowa/Iowa State game. Keith and Willy laughed over this story and he told me that with my beard I would have to be our Chewbacca now.

Then we bid them a fond adieu and Willy and I headed into the stadium. This awesome story helped take some of the pain of the loss away.

Flashed

I eventually plan on writing about the debacle that was the beginning of the Gene Chizik era, but not quite yet. However, I thrown some pictures of the game in the Snapshots section of the website. If you don’t want to browse on over there, you can just follow the link.

IOWA STATE CYCLONES FOOTBALL – 2007


I should give special thanks to Jason Stensland for making these pictures even possible as I did something incredibly stupid and he managed to bail me out. I guess I might need to make one of the game day checklists that are all the rage these days.

Going On Record

Most of the recent conversations I have had with my Cyclone friends have been about the proposed designs for the new Cyclone helmets. The athletic department has unveiled three potential new designs. They will eventually choose one of these three designs and the Cyclones will start sporting that new helmet during the 2008 football season.

I do not think that intrinsically Hawkeyes are bad people. I have some good friends that are Hawkeyes. Some of my blood relatives are Hawkeyes. If everybody I knew was a Cyclone my world would be a boring (yet admittedly beautiful) place. It just so happens that the majority of my friends are Cyclones and the minority are Hawkeyes or Panthers or apathetic.

It is because of this wealth of Cyclones that I know, that I have had the “helmet” conversation a lot lately. It goes a little bit like this:

“Hey man. You voted for a helmet yet?”

“No. I am a conscientious objector. I am abstaining from voting.”

“Why is that?”

“I will not pick the least of three evils.”

I was not a Jamie Pollard man. Not through and through. Not even a little bit. I didn’t trust him. I didn’t like his decisions. I felt that he was trying to make a name for himself at Iowa State and then he would move on to a greener pasture. I did not agree with the firings of Wayne Morgan, Bobby Douglas, or Dan McCarney.

However, I have changed. What changed my feelings about Jamie Pollard were Hawkeye fans. Hawkeye fans are terrified of Jamie Pollard. Hawkeyes have been the top rooster in this state at least ever since Hayden Fry flew into Iowa City.

Despite Iowa State’s athletic dominance of the state during the late 90s, Hawkeyes never wanted to consider it anything more than “cute” that the school in Ames fielded athletic teams.

This is attitude did not derive from the self refreshing supply of smugness that Hawkeyes keep next to their soul. Well not entirely. Cyclones have to share much of that blame.

Even when we beat the Hawks 5 straight years in football, we always kind of felt that it was fool’s gold. We often didn’t have higher aspirations than just making it a “rivalry again”.

Jamie Pollard changed that. He brought an entirely new attitude to the Cyclone Nation. He threw down the gauntlet. He let it be known that we were no longer to be satisfied with occasionally beating the Hawks. He let it be known that we were no longer willing to just be the poor sisters to the Hawks. We were now more than willing to compete with them for athletic dominance of the state.

This scares Hawkeyes. They don’t want the Cyclone game to become a game that they might not be favored in. They want this to be a game that they can count on in getting them close to bowl eligibility. If the Cyclones jump up and beat them every now and again, it is cute, but they still are clearly #2 in the state. They can have their bone now and again.

Whether I wanted to admit it or not, Pollard’s moves have proved to be the right moves. Sanderson nearly lead Iowa State to its first national championship in wrestling since 1986. McDermott brought in one of the top recruiting classes in Cyclone history. Chizik has yet to prove himself on the field, but the buzz around the program is pretty amazing.

I applauded Pollard’s bold move of placing Cyclone billboards in Hawkeye enclaves. I found it hilarious when he refused to sell single game tickets to the Iowa – Iowa State game. I was on my feet applauding when he announced that we were getting rid of these terrible Kansas City Chief* knockoff uniforms and returning to our true school colors of cardinal and gold.

I was quite taken aback when I felt Pollard has made his first mistake. That first mistake is the new helmet options. The new helmet options are terrible. Have a look.<








I have two major complaints.

First is the fact that these logo designs look horribly dated. For example look at the cursive “Cyclones” design. Now look at this:



That is the helmet the Cyclones wore from 1987-94. It was pretty cutting edge, in the 80s. Now it looks like Iowa State is showing up to an 80s theme party. Perhaps if they choose these helmets their new intro music will be “Axel F”.

Now look at the “ISU” helmet. Then look at this:





The top helmet is the helmet the Cyclones wore from 1981-82. The bottom helmet is the one that they wore in 1979. The lines coming off the back of the ISU on the top helmet scream “USFL expansion team”. The star that dots the ISU on the bottom helmet screams “Starlight Express”. If you are a football team, you don’t want to remind people of musicals about roller skaters.

Take a look at the “I State” helmet and then look at this:






The top helmet is from 1976-78. The bottom helmet is from 1980. It isn’t that I hate these helmet designs. It is that they are from 30 years ago. They look like they are from 30 years ago. The new helmet design looks like it is from 30 years ago.

I’m not against retro. I daresay that I am a big fan of retro. Not just in the world of athletics. I love antiques and things that have been used and are clearly from a different era. I’m a huge fan of anachronism.

However, when it comes to the sports world, retro is fine for special occasions. You have a retro uniform day once a season. You don’t design your uniforms to look like after the game the players are going to the disco to hear the latest song from The Tramps.

I would make one exception. I would hope buy a ticket for the retro train if we were to bring back my favorite helmet in Cyclone history. The 1967 helmet. Take a look at this sweet baby.




That is a helmet! It is still retro, but it does correct the 2nd error I feel that the Cyclones have made. That second error is choosing white helmets. The goal of the athletic department was have a white background so that the logo really popped.

I don’t dispute that logic, but with gold pants, cardinal jerseys, and white helmets we are going to look a bit like a walking joke. We are going to look like clowns. So I hope that these 3 helmets are a joke, like putting Jim Harbaugh on the list of coaching candidates and when they announce the new helmet, they pull an entirely new helmet out of thin air. This is my dream.

*Jason Baier requested that I remove the line about the Chiefs. I had to turn down his request because anybody that follows football can tell you that by comparing the uniforms to the Chiefs it is a double slam because the Chiefs are a sorry franchise. You don’t even have to point it out. It is a tautology.

Failed Beginning

So I thought quite some time about beginning a new segment on this blog. I was going to do some endorsements. You know, endorsing products, ideas, people. I was all set to endorse my first product: Heartland Creamery Milk. In fact, I even went so far as to have the following image made:


Chocolate Milk Endorsement

 

You can see that I was serious. Definitely in the mood to do some hardcore endorsing. It wasn’t without any particular reason. In fact there were a few reasons for my strong passion for Heartland Creamery Milk. Let’s start with the obvious. It comes in a glass bottle. How cool is that? It keeps the milk quite a bit colder than the plastic jugs that most milk comes in. Secondly those glass bottles bring back pleasant childhood memories of taking milk back to Boyd’s Dairy.

Another reason for my passion for this milk is that it is quite tasty. I am not willing to place it on an even pedestal with the holy grail of milk: Anderson Erickson. However it is certainly quite a bit better than Roberts. Of course almost everything is better than Roberts

I also enjoy the fact that Heartland Creamery owns all of their own cows. Therefore they have complete control over the product that they are putting on the shelf. Plus, they can control the cow’s diet and any “antibiotics” that the cows might get.

One last thing that “rings my bell” about this milk is that the company is unabashedly Christian. All of the profits from this product go to support a Christian Academy for violent children and an Adult recovery center.

Sounds great doesn’t it? The problem is that I can’t bring my self to give Heartland Creamery my complete and utter endorsement because People Magazine wrote an article about this school in their October issue. This article asserts that the students are abused physically while they attend this school.

Now normally I wouldn’t care about what a rag like People Magazine has to say about anything. This is a magazine that is only suited for beauty salons and keeping houseless people warm during a cold winter night. I have a suspiscion that even houseless people would rather endure the cold than having People magazine come into contact with their skin. I know that if I was given the choice of lining my clothing with People, Entertainment Weekly, any Left Behind novel, or a Nicholas Sparks tome OR just being cold . . . I wouldn’t even think twice. Bring it on Old Man Winter!

Although I do confess that I would burn all of those failed writing attempts to keep warm. As long as I got to wear gloves. I wouldn’t want my skin to come into contact with that trash.

But this is off the point. The point is that on the Heartland Creamery website there is a response to the attack by People. Their response isn’t overwhelming in reassuring me that this is just another attempt at trashing religion by the mainstream media. You know, like how the 700 Club is a clever parody by the liberal media designed to make Christians look stupid . . . oh, that’s not a parody?!?

The response basically is quite up front with its use of what they call “tough love”. They admit to being raided by the government in 2001, but that none of the charges stuck. So I’m not sure where I come down on this whole milk controversey. (I hope somebody out there caught that rip snorting pun. I’m talking to you Nate! Twin Cities, huh! huh!) I do know that I can not endorse this product at this time, but there glass bottles are extremely cool.

I also think that Heartland Creamery should make an energy drink called “Tough Love”. I’d buy it and I don’t even drink energy drinks.

While I’m on the subject of my beliefs and God, I would just like to point something out. I don’t know if it says this on my main MySpace page, but I do have one core belief about God and athletics. It goes a little something like this:

I do not believe that God takes an active role in deciding the outcome of sporting events. No matter how much people in the stands or in the game pray, ask, or plead for God’s intervention. I do believe that God takes time out from rooting against Notre Dame to root for the Iowa State Cyclones.

I bring this up because anybody that watched the Sugar Bowl last night witnessed history. Notre Dame lost its 9th straight bowl game. This is a new NCAA record. Furthermore, 85 teams have won a bowl game since the last time Notre Dame won a bowl game. 85!! There are only 119 teams in Division I football.

Here is a little story from work today. Tell me that somebody else gets the exquisite irony in the statement one of my co-workers made today. I’m going to slightly paraphrase, but the essence of what was said is still there:

“I’m a genius. I have proof. I took a test on the internet.”

I assure you that this statement was not said in a facetious manner. It was said straight faced. It was meant to be a statement of fact. It almost makes me want to go off on a rant about how the term “genius” is overused and how “genius” in actuality has next to nothing to do with intelligence and it certainly has nothing to do with how people score on standardized tests. It also make me want to do a rant on the various forms of intelligences, but I won’t at this time. I’ll just let that sweet phrase sink in a little bit longer.

How about another picture:


Thinker Recreation

Why this picture?

Because next week at the Brunnier Art Gallery an exhibition of Rodin’s sculptures is opening. True it is only about 30 sculptures, but how many opportunities do you have to see the work of a man who is widely considered to be the greatest sculptor since Michaelangelo in virtually your own backyard. I say virtually because these sculptures will not physically be in your backyard. However, if anybody is looking for a late Christmas gift idea for me, a Rodin sculpture would look great in my backyard. I’ll even let you borrow my window breaking rock. Although I will need it back soon. The 1 year anniversary of my first day at my current place of employment is rapidly approaching and I’ll need that rock to “buy” some cake.

The rock thing aside, I’m pretty freaking jazzed about going to see the work of Rodin. If anybody else wants to go, let me know. But if you roll with me, you have to display the proper amount of snootiness. It is a metric ton of snootiness.

Speaking of art, I’m going to start working on a new photo project now that the calendar is virtually done. Anybody out there with a burning desire to press their face into a piece of plexiglass for a picture let me know. I’m not making that up.

Other Projects

A note to let you know that I haven’t forgotten about the Artist’s Notebook. In fact I have so many things to write about that I don’t know where to begin. There was the trip to Minnesota to see the Foo Fighters, there was Rebecca’s senior picture shoot, and Halloween of course. I might even write a little bit about the Iowa State Football season, but right now I’m just going to go to bed.

A Cyclone Victory

Much has transpired since the last time that I took keyboard in hand and banged down a few thoughts for the World Wide Web. I won’t discuss many of those matters at this time. I’m only going to bang out some thoughts about the UNI-ISU football game on last Saturday. I don’t have a “Snapshot” page of pictures from that game quite put together at this time, but it will burst into existence in the next couple of days. It will definitely be up before we manhandle Nebraska on Saturday.

My observations:

1. Jon Davis is our best receiver. For all the hoopla that Todd Blythe gets, he has become a ball dropping machine. That is ironic since Jon Davis has the reputation for having bad hands. Even Blythe’s touchdown was a catch that he missed the first time and got lucky that the ball came back to him. Forget the fact Davis has been the most consistent receiver on the team. Forget the fact that he is the only receiver not to have dropped a ball this year. Consider only these facts: 1. He leads to team in receiving yards with 304. 2. He is second on the team in receptions with 21. 3. He has the longest reception of the year at 44 yards. 4. He leads the team in yards per reception at 14.5 YPR. Other Cyclone fans can call sports radio shows and complain that we aren’t throwing the ball to Blythe enough. I will wonder why we aren’t throwing the ball to Davis enough.

2. We might be 3-2, but we could very easily be 0-5. To break it down, our 3 wins are thanks to a dropped pass in the end zone, an overthrown ball in the end zone, and a field goal that floated barely wide right. All three plays were the last play in the game. Football truly is a game of inches. Although dominating performances against inferior opponents would have been nice, I get a certain amount of morbid joy from seeing us on the right end of those inches for once. How many times have we lost by that same small increment? I can think of 9 just off the top of my head: Alabama in 2001, Florida State and Texas in 2002, Colorado and Missouri in 2004, and Nebraska, Baylor, Missouri, and Kansas in 2005.

3. We almost lost to UNI at home. That would have been incredibly embarrassing, but I have had season tickets since 1983. It wouldn’t have been the worst thing I’ve ever seen in Jack Trice Stadium. I’ve seen ISU lose to UNI two other times already. I’ve seen us lose to Baylor. I’ve seen us lose to Connecticut. I’ve seen us lose to Western Michigan. The icing on the cake is seeing us lose to Drake the year before they completely dropped football. I don’t think anything will ever be as embarrassing as that 20-17 loss to the Bulldogs in 1985. I think the modicum of success that we have achieved in the last few years has spoiled Cyclone fans to the point that we now treat unimpressive victories like losses. I’m not sure if that is because we have arrived as a midlevel power conference program or just a statement on how quickly we forget.

4. When UNI kicked a field goal to take a 27-21 lead the two people to our right and the two people to our left got up and departed. I understand if these people would have left because this put UNI up by 10 points or 17 points or even 9 points. It didn’t, it put UNI up by under 7 points while giving our offense the ball with 2 and half minutes left to get into the end zone. At this point in the game our offense was moving the ball at will. The only thing separating us from putting this game away much earlier was a pair of fumbles. One by Austin Flynn as he was trying to power his way across the goal line and another that simply bounced off Ryan Baum’s helmet as he misjudged the trajectory of a Panther punt. There is no good excuse for the thousands of Cyclone “supporters” that streamed out of the stadium after that field goal. I think Jamie Pollard should take the money he flushed down the toilet for that stupid inflatable toy the players use to enter the field, and station ushers by the gates to take pictures of people who leave the game under these circumstances. Obviously we don’t want to ban them from coming to future games. However, establishig a Wall of Shame for such people would be a good deterrent and remind “fans” to support their team to the bitter end. The Cyclones have broken my heart on many an occasion. I don’t use it as an excuse to quit on them in the future. I put my heart back together and remember that next week might be the game where the other team misses a field goal at the buzzer to lose the game.

5. Although I have yet to find anybody to sign on to my theory, I think UNI made a huge mistake by laying up and going for the field goal that gave them a 27-21 lead. Not only do I disagree with the 3 straight runs they called in the red zone, but I think they should have manned up and went for it on 4th down. The worst case scenario was that they don’t get the 1st down and ISU gets the ball on the 15. They still have to go 85 yards to get a touchdown. True ISU could kick a field goal and head into overtime during such a scenario, but I don’t think I have to remind anybody about the Cyclones’ history of missing pressure field goals. Conversely, if the Panthers make the 1st down, the game is essentially over. ISU is out of timeouts. UNI could run out the clock or at worst leave just a handful of ticks left for the Cyclones offense. Now laying up was the prudent decision, but I think you only make prudent decisions when you are playing either your equals or your inferiors. Division 1-AA teams only get so many opportunities to upset 1-A schools. You have to be willing to take some risks to do it. UNI should have taken that risk.

6. Never thought I would write the following tidbit: I want to see more Stevie Hicks. The guy is averaging over 5 yards a carry and he is getting less than 10 carries a game. I understand that ISU has fallen behind in their last 2 contests, but I don’t think that means you abandon the run completely. Not when it is working to the tune of 5 yards a tote. That being said, I think I have finally figured out what is stopping Hicks from being a great back. He is definitely nothing more than an average D1 back, but that is good enough considering how bad our running game has been since Haywood graduated. However, Hicks shows the speed and power to be more than just an average back. There are times when I thought he was just way too indecisive. He seemed to stand in the backfield motionless after getting the ball and then he would get tackled for a two yard loss. I think his poor decision making comes from a lack of vision. I don’t think that Hicks sees the field very well. That explains to me his occasional indecisiveness and his lack of big plays. The play in the UNI game that leads me to this conclusion was late in the 1st Half. UNI was leading 21-7. ISU decided to roll the dice on 4th and 2. The call went to Hicks. There was a cavernous hole to his left. Rather than cutting to the left and perhaps taking it to the house, Hicks followed Koch straight up the middle. The problem with that decision was that Koch didn’t make it past the line of scrimmage. There was no hole where Koch had gone. There was at least a ton wall of cardinal, purple, and gold humanity. Hicks tried to move the pile. I’m sure Hicks is a strong guy. He certainly is an impressive looking human being. However, I don’t think on his best day he could move a ton of human bodies two yards. On Saturday he didn’t move it 2 inches.

7. Jason Scales. I like seeing him getting more playing time. I would like it even more if we could see more plays with him in open space. The screen play was a nice setup for Scales to use his talent. He is quicker and has more moves than Hicks. I think running him between the tackles isn’t the best use of his talent. I’d like to see more options and more sweeps with Scales.

8. Marquis Hamilton caught a huge ball during the game winning touchdown drive. I hope they keep enlarging his role in the offense. Especially with a Nebraska team that has proven an inability to cover tall receivers coming to town this Saturday.

9. Here is a riddle: The ISU defensive line has gotten penetration. What just happened? The other team called a screen play. I know they are young. I know they are small. We need to find a way to put pressure on the QB. Blitzing isn’t the answer unless we stop playing this soft zone garbage. When the opponent is throwing 5 yard passes because your corners are 15 yards off the ball, a blitzing linebacker isn’t going to get there fast enough. Not even close.

10. The other thing that concerns me about our defense is that we are missing an awful lot of tackles. On 3rd and 7 in the 4th quarter, Eric Sanders (who nobody will mistake for Michael Vick, Seneca Wallace, or even Todd Doxson) made Curvey miss in the backfield and then not 1 but 2 other Cyclones miss him as he trekked down the sideline for one of the most pathetic first downs you are ever going to see. I love Alvin Bowen. He is fast and hits like a bulldozer. That being said, I don’t know if he still leads the country in tackles, but I would lay money down that he leads the nation in missed tackles.

Those are my observations. I am still predicting another Cyclone victory on Saturday. Nebraska is a paper tiger. I believe the real Cyclones will show up this week. They have to right? We’re quickly running out of Saturdays.

A Little Pro Bono

Originally Posted —9/14/2006 9:10:39 PM

After looking at the UNLV pictures I decided to put together a page with some of the snapshots. There aren’t many there, but the ones that are there can be found at the following link:

Iowa State versus UNLV

There is now less than 2 days to the big Iowa State-Iowa showdown. I feel sorry for people that don’t live in Iowa, because there isn’t much better entertainment than listening to Iowa fans rationalize away a loss to Iowa State.

The five year anniversary of September 11th has come and gone. In Des Moines somebody put together a memorial field consisting of an American flag for every victim of those terrorist attacks.

I bring this up because I have been tapped by the American Legion Auxiliary of Roland to take some patriotic pictures for there Christmas baskets or some such thing. So last night I went down to the Memorial Field with Monica to take some pictures. This excursion ended mostly in disaster. I took my camera to work to recharge the battery, but I forgot my memory cards. This meant I had to travel to make a stop in Boone before I headed to Des Moines. I compounded that mistake by taking a wrong turn off the interstate and by the time I made it to the Memorial Field it was fairly dark. I took a few pictures that are worth anything. You can peruse those pictures at the following link:

9/11 Memorial Field

I also might be looking at taking some pictures near the Veteran’s Home in Marshalltown.