Good Read in OWH
Sorry if this has already been posted. I just copied and pasted it from their website.
"Iowa State's football players still are saying all the right things. They talk about working hard and getting back to practice and cleaning up the mistakes that have plagued them throughout the season.
But the words are starting to ring hollow. The Cyclones sound like a bunch that is starting to wonder when - or if - it will win again.
The offense, expected to carry Iowa State through the rough spots, is leaking oil. A rash of injuries is turning a young defense even younger. The special teams are ordinary. The play-calling has been suspect.
Even ever-optimistic Dan McCarney, who has done wondrous things with a once-woeful Cyclone program, is starting to sound a bit beaten down by a season turning more sour by the week.
Iowa State stands 3-5 heading into its final four games. It could be argued that the Cyclones are a handful of plays from being 0-8. They had to go down to the wire to pull out victories over Toledo, Nevada-Las Vegas and Division I-AA Northern Iowa.
They are 0-4 in the Big 12. They have lost to three of the league's best teams - Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska - by a combined score of 99-37. Iowa State then caught Texas Tech at possibly the worst of times. Pass-happy Red Raiders' quarterback Graham Harrell dissected a secondary weakened by injury in Saturday's 42-26 victory that had many in the crowd streaming towards the exits halfway through he fourth quarter.
Several ISU players said afterward that you can't blame the fans for bailing on a team that has been consistent only in its inconsistency.
"We've let the fans down, we've let the coaches down and we've let ourselves down," Iowa State defensive back James Smith said.
The question now becomes whether Iowa State can pick itself up. And if it can't, who will pay the consequences?
There is a low rumbling amongst some in Cyclone Nation that it ultimately could be McCarney. The winningest coach in the history of the program, McCarney has taken Iowa State to bowl games five of the past six seasons. Before his arrival 12 years ago, Iowa State had made a grand total of four postseason appearances in its first 103 years of football.
But McCarney's critics point out that he's only won more than nine games once. Even if he gets a pass on his first five seasons, when he was digging out of the quandary left behind by Jim Walden, McCarney's record since 2000 is a hardly overwhelming 42-40. The Cyclones squandered chances to make it to the Big 12 championship game the past two seasons. Suddenly, postseason destinations such as Shreveport and Boise don't seem quite as exotic as they once did.
If Iowa State doesn't pull itself out of its nosedive, hard decisions will be made at season's end. And many of them will be made by McCarney's boss, Jamie Pollard.
Pollard is an energetic young athletic director who came to Ames 13 months ago from Wisconsin. He has big plans for Cyclone athletics, starting with a $135 facility renovation program that includes modernizing Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum. A winning football team will make it easier to part boosters from the big bucks needed to fund the project.
If anyone doubts that, ask Steve Pedersen.
Just what Pollard thinks about this football season's turn of events is unknown. He has repeatedly declined to discuss McCarney's performance with reporters that regularly cover the team, saying that there will be plenty of time for evaluation at season's end.
Is Pollard in McCarney's corner? Pollard wasted no time in cleaning up a basketball mess last spring, bringing in Greg McDermott to replace Wayne Morgan. Will he be just as quick to put his stamp on the football program?
Those questions add spice to the season's final four weeks. The Cyclones could make them moot with a strong finish, and it's possible as their schedule lightens with Kansas State, Kansas and Colorado the next three opponents. Iowa State finishes the regular season with a home game against Missouri, the team that denied the Cyclones a trip to the Big 12 title game two seasons ago with an overtime win.
After Saturday's game, Iowa State center Scott Stephenson was asked how much the Cyclones have left in the tank for a stretch run. His answer was plenty, as the team hasn't used much juice in getting to this point of the season.
McCarney's backers, and there still are plenty of them, had best hope the players find the gas pedal to keep this season, and possibly an era, from skidding out of control."
Re: Good Read in OWH
Sums it up the situation in Ames pretty well.