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  1. #1
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    Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans
    CycloneFanatic.com
    Jeremy Lind

    One of the greatest aspects of being an Iowa State fan over the past 26 years has been that tomorrow is always a brighter day, or so it seems. The promise of hope and change always revolves around the fact that a rebuilding program is supposed to get better by all measurable counts - both on and off the field. With Iowa State having made some fundamental changes in the way it approaches football over the past few years, it's no wonder some Iowa State fans have forgotten to take their meds and have started to go a little wacky.

    It's always entertaining to watch the dramatic ups and downs leading up to a season and after the first loss. Once the first sign of reality sets in, the sky starts to fall and the world is about to collapse down on those that let their emotions get the best of them. Iowa State, it seems, really isn't that different when it comes to inflated expectations and dramatic tail-spins. Make fun of the Hawks and their Top 10 expectations every year, but at least they've been there in the past.

    When Gene Chizik took over the football program two years ago, it was evident that Iowa State fans had a reason for their new hope and promise in terms of actual wins and losses. As season ticket sales skyrocketed, fans started expecting wins right away - wins that they had no reason to realistically expect. You can want wins, you can hope for wins, but you need to learn to know when to expect wins. Iowa State has never been a program that has been able to expect more than 2-4, maybe 5 or 6 wins in any given year. There is certainly hope that things will change in the near future, but when it comes to football, development often happens at a snails pace. Welcome back to reality Iowa State fans.

    Not all fans have let their emotions get to them, some have realistic expectations for growing pains and another frustrating season. We'll dismiss the crack-heads that expected an undefeated season this year, but it's important to talk about those that expected 7-9 wins this year, they're the ones that need to listen for a few minutes. The truth is going to hurt, please make sure to push the sharp instruments away from you before reading on...

    Iowa State is, and has been, a very mediocre football program - at best. We've been in the bottom rung of the bottom division in the conference for a very long time. We haven't capitalized on any opportunities over the past decade and we've had very little in the way of recruiting of BCS conference caliber athletes. We're second fiddle in the state and we're a program that has historically been on the receiving end of some incredibly lopsided scores. Despite what we'd all like to believe, beating Iowa was the only thing that kept coach McCarney around for so long.

    Our saving grace? We're the most vocal and united fans anywhere in the midwest. We have demanded a better program and it appears, behind the scenes and in the locker room, that we might FINALLY be approaching a new era. But, a new era is different than a new day. Eras develop over time, not over night.

    When Iowa State started out looking like a terrible excuse for a Big XII team last year, the coaching staff started making headway in turning around the mentality of the players. One by one they started to take the wheel and steer the players that were used to being disappointed in to fighters that demanded more of themselves, more of their team-mates, more of their coaches, and ultimately, more of their fans. Once the players realized that what they had been doing wasn't going to cut it any longer, Iowa State started to look like a team on a mission - a mission to improve at every aspect of the game. They didn't look like a competitive team at most points, but they developed as the year went on, something I personally have never seen in regards to Iowa State Football.

    Now that the players are on board, the coaches have started to make believers out of the fans, although maybe a little too quickly. In a time where everything is about the here and now, Iowa State Football is about tomorrow and the day after. Instead of concentrating on making a program of first-class athletes and second-class individuals, Iowa State is focusing on building around the right athletes and first-class individuals. It's a different approach, but one that has the potential to make Iowa State a far more competitive team for years to come.

    The problem that most fans face is that they're paying money for tickets to see Iowa State today and they want to see a competitive team now. In reality, Iowa State has no reason to be much better this year than they were two years ago, except for the simple fact that they now have hope and a competitive coaching staff. The starting players really haven't changed that much, the only thing that has changed the expectations are the ideas in ones' head that demand something good in return for pricey tickets. The players on the field today are slightly stronger, faster and bigger, but they're still the same players and we're facing tougher competition by all accounts.

    As some of the younger players get into the mix, as some of the new recruits hit campus, as Iowa State continues to get bigger, faster and stronger, we'll see more and more competitive matchups on the field - but that doesn't mean we can expect those games to fall our way just yet. A new era demands a new level of rationality, a new level of understanding. A program takes years to build, probably around 3-4, and it's going to be frustrating at times keeping that in mind when we lose to a team that has a far richer tradition than us. Maybe we'll catch a few breaks and get some unexpected wins, but that doesn't make them expected before the fact.

    What I'm taking a long time to say is simple - Iowa State fans are like any other in terms of expecting, wanting and demanding success. The difference is that we really haven't had much in the past in terms of accomplishments. Gene Chizik and co are building a program from dang near nothing and it's showing. The countless posts ranting after a loss to a team that has been in the Top 10 multiple times over the past decade is just heartbreaking. I want success as much as anybody, but I learned long ago that the best things in life come to those that wait. I know you guys are just like me and are tired of waiting, but life is longer than a couple years for that reason - not everything can be done over night.

    I probably sound like a broken record writing these posts as often as I do, I certainly feel like one, but to me it's important to remind people that there are legitimate reasons to believe in our program, our coaches and our players. There are legitimate reasons to hope that we win more than 3 games, but we're not going to go from 3-9 to 9-3 over night. If we win 4 or 5 games this year, that is a vast improvement over last year considering what we know about the North this year. Maybe we'll get 6 or 7 wins next year, but again, we're not going to go from 3-9 to a legit division or conference competitor without allowing our players, coaches and recruits the time to develop. Despite how much we want to win today, we're not the only ones trying to win each Saturday.

    We're going to win some close games, we're going to lose some close games. We're going to beat some teams that we realistically should, but we're also going to lose some games that some had expected us to win. Until we allow a coaching staff to actually do it's job, far too many fans are going to be pulling their hair out and showing their frustration in unnecessary ways. As much as I'd love to beat Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, etc, I realize that I can't expect it, at least not this year or next. Until we can show that we can stop beating our self, we can hardly expect to beat anybody else. That era of consistency and expected wins is approaching, it's evident in the locker room, the recruiting trail and the on-field development - but it's not going to be a reality today, tomorrow or next week.

    Maybe these articles can serve as some level of rationale to those that have let their emotions take over the fanhood. You can want wins all you want, but expecting wins is a whole different thing that needs to be earned over time.


    A program isn't built on one player and it doesn't succeed because of one player, thus a program won't fail if it doesn't get that one player.

  2. #2
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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    Excellent peice Jer.



  3. #3
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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    That's about as realistic an article as you can get. Good job.

    But you missed the paragraph about how that helmet to helmet call agains EIU is the only reason we lost Saturday????

    Then again, maybe this article was written partly because of that silly thread.



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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    This could apply, in alot of ways, to our BB program as well......EXCELLENT article!



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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    Hit the nail on the head. I'm still amazed when I hear people talk about dropping their season tickets, etc this early into Gene's tenure! And people seem to forget that the rest of the conference isn't just standing still while we work to build our program. The rise of the North division IMO made this rebuilding job even more daunting than it was 5 years ago.



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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    I agree with what you are saying, but I have thought the vast majority of ISU fans have taken this loss quite well.



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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    Quote Originally Posted by snowcraig2.0 View Post
    I agree with what you are saying, but I have thought the vast majority of ISU fans have taken this loss quite well.
    Probably true. The UNLV game will obviously have an impact on how much support the team and the coaches will get during the conference season. I'll be very interested to see what the attendance is at the Kansas game.



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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    [quote=Cyclonesrule91;633112]
    But you missed the paragraph about how that helmet to helmet call agains EIU is the only reason we lost Saturday????

    quote]

    We were Rob-bed!



    Excellent article. I sometimes get caught up in the hype, but often ground myself shortly after. I have no expectation this year on W/L's just on team improvement.



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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    Nicely done.



  10. #10
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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    [quote=bostinelosd;633142]
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclonesrule91 View Post
    But you missed the paragraph about how that helmet to helmet call agains EIU is the only reason we lost Saturday????

    quote]

    We were Rob-bed!



    Excellent article. I sometimes get caught up in the hype, but often ground myself shortly after. I have no expectation this year on W/L's just on team improvement.
    Is that like being Rick-Rolled? I don't know if it'll catch on...



  11. #11
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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    How about this, win or lose most people aren't going to come onto a message board and sing the praises of how great we look/are. When we won our first 2 games, people complained. When we lost a game people complained. Same thing... The people who complain will always whine more than the people who don't see everything so negatively.



  12. #12
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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    Good write up Jeremy!

    Although I think the one reason SOME ISU fan's are so disappointed after last week's loss is that we gave it away. And it was poor coaching that gave it away. Iowa may have been a top 10 team at some points in the past 10 years but they aren't this year. That is not a top 25 team. I don't expect us to win 8 games. But it is hard to see us give away a game that was ours for the taking. For us to take another step in the right direction, we have to start winning those games. We never have in the past, but I think we can start to this year.



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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    Agreed on all accounts...good write up Jeremy. That being said, however...Saturday's game is a MAJOR step in building what you're talking about. I predicted 5 wins before the season, UNLV is a step in that direction.


    "They'd write things like...Lloyd. See you around....maybe."

    --Lloyd Dobler

  14. #14
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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    I still think 6 is possible, but we will see. We have to win this Saturday.



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    Re: Iowa State's Bipolar Football Fans

    C'mon Jeremy - "...Coach Chizik and co are building a program from dang near nothing." ???????
    It'd be nice to read an objective article on this site about Chizik without resorting to ripping Mac. Dan had a heckuva harder job coming in here than Chizik has. Please tell Arnaud, Smith, Sumrall, and a bunch of other McCarney recruits that they are "nothing." Good god.



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