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Football

The greatest day

By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher

Fanatics, it is now time for a little history lesson. Trust me. This will be fun.

March 25, 2000 — I’m not going to give you a score or any specifics on the game. It was when the Cyclones lost to Michigan State in the Elite Eight. Yeah…We all know that Iowa State got jobbed. But had the Cyclones made the Final Four, they would have been the best team in the semi-finals. Think about the national championship banner that could be up in Hilton right now. Yep. This was a very, very bad day in Iowa State history.

March 15, 2001 — Remember this date? Yeah…That is when Hampton (15) upset your second-seeded Cyclones in the NCAA Tournament’s first round. Not only was that a shockingly terrible moment, but you have to relive it every single year when the replays are shown across the country.

“You know 15 seeds can knock off a two, just ask Iowa State,” the talking heads annually say.

That was a really bad moment. In fact, I feel nauseous just thinking about it.

May 6, 2003 — This is the day that then-head basketball coach Larry Eustachy stepped down. We all know about the events that led to this historical hour. There’s no need to dive into that. But the result of this happening is what makes this one of the worst days in Iowa State history. How many NCAA Tournaments has Iowa State been to since that day? One? Yep. Exactly. May 6, 2003 set this basketball program back a decade and in it still hasn’t recovered. There’s no question that it was one of the worst days in Cyclone history.

Nov. 26, 2005 — In my opinion, this one just might go down as the worst day in Cyclone history. The football team was one win away from the Big 12 championship game. All the guys had to do was get through a mediocre Kansas team. Iowa State jumped out to a 14-3 lead over the Jayhawks in Lawrence, only to blow it in overtime, losing 24-21. The Big 12 Championship Game was no longer a reality for the Cyclones and instead of spending the holidays in San Diego at the Holiday Bowl, the Houston and an eventual loss to TCU had to do. Oh yeah, who can forget about the men’s basketball team losing at home to a hapless Iona squad that very night. Nov. 26, 2005 was a terrible, terrible day in Iowa State history.

Tired of those sickening thoughts? I am doing this for a reason and it isn’t to make you suffer. Hang with me on this one Fanatics.

On all of those days, and so many others, how many times did you think this?

“God hates Iowa State.”

I sure know that has crossed my mind more than once in 25 years of life.

You see, Hawkeye fans don’t get it. The Husker Nation just doesn’t understand. How could they?

Being a Cyclone fan isn’t easy. More often than not, you’re not going to get that important break. Heck, if Bret Culbertson, who I think was a really good kicker, connects on just one of his mishaps late in any of those regular season football games, Iowa State could have played for multiple Big 12 Championships and maybe even pulled off a monumental upset. Dan McCarney could still be in Ames. Who knows?

But the point to remember is that none of the above scenarios were meant to be.

Yesterday’s news was.

June 14, 2010 — In my opinion, goes down as the greatest day in the history Iowa State athletics.

It wasn’t the greatest day because of what actually happened. It will go down as the greatest day because of what didn’t happen.

Iowa State athletics were on the verge of extinction on the big-time college athletics landscape. Sure, if the Clones were in Conference USA, you Fanatics would have turned out to cheer on your team. But we also all know that it wouldn’t have been the same.

Instead of decreasing television revenue drastically, Iowa State can possibly make up to $10 million more a year with this new deal.

On June 14, 2010, a barely breathing athletic department was given a new life. The 10 remaining members of the Big 12 Conference got together and came to their senses.

Was this decision one-sided? Maybe. Texas ultimately got what they wanted. The mighty Longhorns gold mine grew larger. But really, why should Iowa State fans care? Let’s all be honest here for a minute and please, put your pride on the shelf.

Ask yourself this:

Has Iowa State really been competing with Texas (in football) for the past 15 seasons? No, and it hasn’t even been close.

This is what I don’t get. People keep asking me if by signing on with the “Beebe Plan,” Iowa State “sold their soul to Texas?”

The answer is, absolutely not but even if that was the case, why should it matter to Iowa State? Iowa State did what was best for Iowa State. Just like Nebraska did last Friday. Just like Texas did yesterday. What in the world is wrong with looking out for your own good in the greedy world of college athletics?

"But it’s bad for the sport," critics will say.

Oh yeah? Well college athletics didn’t give a damn last Friday when they threatened to kick Iowa State to the curb. So I’m not going to waste one ounce of my energy worrying about how we’re "padding Texas’ pocketbook."

Texas came around in the 11th hour because it was the best deal on the table for Texas, not to help the good people in Ames. Iowa State fans are too smart to think otherwise. It just so works out that the same can be said for Iowa State in this scenario. It was a good deal for both parties.

Some of you out there might think that this column is nothing more than a bunch of hyperbole. Go ahead and call it what you want. You won’t change my opinion.

June 14, 2010 could have meant Armageddon on a “big-time” scale for the Cyclones.

Instead, with this new deal, Iowa State is set to be invigorated with more money than it has ever seen before.

So to me, there is no question that June 14, 2010, will go down as the greatest day.

Now think about those nasty days that I listed up above. This ought to put things in perspective for you. Without June 14, 2010, there may never have been a chance for Iowa State to be on the brink of that type of national success ever again. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance that would have been the case.

We’ve been there before. We’ve seen that type of success. In my opinion, Iowa State has only begun to see the light. Because of June 14, 2010, we now have the opportunity to go there again, and this time, win.

The schedule

I can hear the critics already. These are the people who I refer to as the guys who like to “urinate in our Cheerios.”

I know. That last phrase was a little vulgar but I think it gets my point across nicely.

With this new look Big 12, Iowa State will now see the likes of Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State on their schedule, each and every year. Go ahead and add a top notch Iowa program to the non-conference slate. With this new round robin format, Iowa State will now only have the luxury of scheduling two “cupcakes” per season.

My take? It’s better than being in Conference USA. I’d play Texas 12 times a season before making less than $2 million a year.

Is it really all about money?

No, it’s not all about money. But if you think that cash doesn’t matter in high-major college football, you’re crazy.

Tuesday will likely be another busy one here at CycloneFanatic.com. But the thing to keep in mind is that you can now relax. Iowa State is here to stay.

Congratulations Cyclone Nation. You all deserve it.