Three Thoughts on Thursday: Special times

Chris Williams

Publisher

Photo by Reese Strickland.

On New Years morning, my wife and I were sitting at our kitchen table enjoying a nice hangover recovery breakfast. I had the Des Moines Register sports page in my hand (the Register did an amazing job on its four-page section on the life of Johnny Orr by the way).

She glanced over at me and with a surprised tone in her voice said, “So the women’s basketball team is undefeated too?”

Realize now that unlike you, my wife is about as casual of a sports fan as you can find. Why she agreed to marry a clueless sportswriter like me is one of this world’s greatest mysteries.

I replied, “Have you been living in a cave for the last two months or something?”

Clearly, she doesn’t read any of my work here on your favorite website and that’s fine. I don't blame her. But her response of, “That’s really awesome that neither team has lost yet,” to my wise guy remark got me thinking.  

I have no idea what is going to go down in the winter of 2014. Sports are the greatest reality show in the world because at any second, anything can happen. But I do know this: The success that Iowa State’s two basketball programs experienced in the months of November and December is unprecedented. 

If you’re an old-timer reading this, you know what I am talking about here. Seasons like this are anything but consistent. We have a lot of young people who come to this website every day and that’s why I think it is important to get this point across before the Iowa State women tip off their Big 12 season tonight at TCU.

This has never happened before. Ever. Enjoy this. These really are special times. 

What’s in store for January?

A friend of mind sent me this text a few nights ago: “What will Iowa State’s record be in the month of January?”

Well, KenPom.com has Iowa State going 6-1 during that span with its only loss coming to Kansas in Lawrence on Jan. 29. 

While I’m not as optimistic as Mr. Pomeroy’s computers, I am hardly predicting an Iowa State doomsday either. I like Iowa State on the road this weekend at Texas Tech. Really; you can’t pick against Iowa State at home right now, can you? Baylor and Kansas will both be formidable foes. Iowa State could realistically lose either of those two games.

At Oklahoma on Jan. 11 and at Texas on Jan. 18 are the problematic games on this month’s schedule. Those are the two games I have circled that will be the difference in a good or great month for the Cyclones.

Bowl game jottings

*** Really, Baylor? Really? 

I mean, really?

I had the Bears listed as my No. 1 confidence pick in our Cyclone Fanatic bowl pool.

Way to represent the Big 12 Baylor. Well done.

To quote ESPN’s Chris Berman, “That’s why they play the games.”

*** As most of you know, I am a big Minnesota Vikings fan. Obviously, I have my eye on everything going on up north including whom the Vikes might take with the eighth pick in April’s NFL Draft.

Up until now, I have never been a huge Johnny Manziel fan. But after watching Texas A&M mount a massive comeback win over Duke on Tuesday night, I am sold. 

Chalk it up right now. I am now on the record. I want “Johnny Football” to be wearing purple next season. Let’s do it. Sign me up today.

He is Brett Favre in 2014. 

“But Chris,” you ask. “There are so many variables. He could be a complete and total bust. Is it worth the risk?”

The last time Minnesota took at quarterback, they went the semi-safe route with a guy named Christian Ponder. Give me the most talented player available at the most important position on the field. Give me Johnny Manziel.

And the same goes for Jadeveon Clowney. I’d love to see the Vikings draft him. Sure, he’s been a pain in the rear in college. But that is mostly because all he has been able to think about is playing in the NFL. 

At this point in my life, I am convinced that I will never see the Vikings play in a Super Bowl (I have yet to think about them actually winning one). So why be conservative with anything at this point? I am all about talent baby. Load me up with some of that talent.

*** At halftime of the Rose Bowl, my wife and I had to go and pick up our car that we had left at BenchWarmers in Ankney the night before (we drank responsibly and had a designated driver – I hope that you did too). My truck stereo was tuned into 1460 KXNO where I heard some FOX Sports Radio blabbermouth predictably complaining about bowl games. 

“There are too many of them.”

“Why is the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Years Day?"

“The Rose Bowl isn’t the granddaddy of anything.”

(Yawn.)

Raise your hand if you wait all winter, spring and summer long for college football season.

Raise your hand if your house actually schedules events and family outings around Iowa State’s football schedule.

Raise your hand if you think college football is the greatest sport in the world?

If you raised your hand to any of those questions, you will probably agree with this take: There are not too many bowl games. Period.

Bowl week on ESPN is perhaps my favorite sports week of the year. College football games start at 10:45 on a random Monday morning and go on all day long? Are you kidding me? That’s freaking awesome. 

How in the world can anybody complain about that?

You won’t see this guy doing it.

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