Monday Musings: Oct. 8, 2012 Edition

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Where’s a guy to start?

The last week in Iowa State athletics was…eventful to say the least.

You know I could write a book today right?

Let’s dive right in and begin with Iowa State’s 37-23 win over TCU…

On Iowa State/Big 12 Football

— Late in the fourth quarter on Saturday (right before the Jake Knott game-clinching interception to be specific) I got a text message from my mom. Mom, like many of you, is a die-hard Cyclone fan. On Monday nights, my parents huddle around the radio and listen to John Walters and the Iowa State coaches show on the Cyclone Radio Network. Dad reads every article, every thread and every comment posted on Cyclone Fanatic. Mom and dad love their Clones more than they do me (probably not right?). 

“I’m really nervous,” read the text. 

Keep in mind that the game was all but iced at this point. 

“Don’t be," I wrote back to the woman who raised me. 

“But it’s Iowa State," she replied. 

You all can relate to her take on the game at that point in time can you not?

Here’s how our text conversation ended.

“A new Iowa State," I said. 

And I wasn’t just trying to ease mom’s mind either. I truly believe that a corner has been turned in not only this football program but the entire athletic department. 

I’m not here today to promise a Big 12 championship this season or next. What I meant was that back in the day, yeah, Iowa State could have invented a way to lose that game. The 2007 game at Toledo comes to mind…

But this is a different program. It’s a program that like it or not, the local, regional and national media has taken notice of.

On Saturday morning, the ENTIRE SET of ESPN’s College Gameday program picked Iowa State to go on the road and beat the 13th ranked team in the country. Folks are taking notice. 

I think that we learned a lot about Paul Rhoads’ program over the last eight or nine days.

Fans were furious with the loss to Texas Tech two Saturday’s ago. Fans were actually calling for quarterback (you were right) and coordinator (you were wrong) changes with a 3-1 record. What does that tell me? Expectations have risen in Ames and that’s a good thing.

Let’s fast forward to Saturday’s win over TCU that resulted in Iowa State being ranked 25th in the latest USA Today/Coaches Poll. During Cyclone Reaction (the Cyclone Radio Network’s postgame show that I co-host with Jack Whitver), I picked up on an aura of confidence within the fan base. When I got home and checked out the boards, I noticed the same thing.

You all were happy with the win, but not ecstatic. You expected it. Iowa State fans expected to go on the road and beat at top 25 football team.

When is the last time, if ever, that you remember that type of a feel? 

My point exactly.

— Thanks to a staggered kickoff, I got a good look at Kansas State on Saturday by watching the majority of their 56-16 win over Kansas. You can’t criticize Kansas State for defeating a rival by 40 points but I will say this. The Wildcats seem vulnerable and I say that with no disrespect in mind. It’s just the way that they play ball. Kansas State isn’t an overly talented football team. Their speed doesn’t blow you away. But they are well coached and rarely beat themselves.

A few examples: Through six weeks of college football’s regular season, Kansas State is ranked fifth nationally in turnover margin, ninth in passing efficiency and third in sacks allowed. They do the little things right and that’s why despite the talent level of the opposition, Kansas State is pretty much always going to be in the game.

Throw your hatred for the dreaded men in purple aside. This is an impressive football program.

— I came away from Saturday with a lot more respect for the program that Charlie Weis is building at Kansas. The Jayhawks got blown out according to the final scoreboard but this was a legitimate game halfway through the third quarter. At one point, Weis called for a fake punt and a fake field goad in the same drive. Both worked. It made the ultimate gambler Paul Rhoads blush. But those are the things that you have to do when you lack talent. If anybody should understand that, it’s an Iowa State fan. Rhoads has used trickery as an equalizer for the last three seasons. Kansas might not win many (if any) games in the Big 12 this season but the Jayhawks will bring it. They did on Saturday at least.

— I’ll eat some crow for West Virginia’s win at Texas, but not the entire bird.

I didn’t think that the Mountaineers would escape Austin undefeated. So I was wrong there. But my take on West Virginia since June (the same take that I’ve had on TCU) was to talk to me in week 12. Talk to me when the grind of playing Big 12 opponents week in, week out has gotten to you. If West Virginia is still unscathed at that point, I’ll finish off that crow. Sound good? 

West Virginia’s defense has given up an average of 55 points in its first two Big 12 games. That would make me nervous if I had anything to do with that program. But that offense…Oh boy…That offense is nasty. So maybe the defensive issues just won’t matter in the end? I think that they will. It has to at some point right? Stay tuned.

— Does anybody else think that TCU’s young quarterback Trevon Boykin is going to be a damn good player in a year or two? Something tells me that won’t be the last that we’ve seen of that guy. 

— Shockingly enough, there are only two undefeated teams in the Big 12 after the first weekend of October. It’s a deep, deep conference.


— I really enjoyed covering Bill Fennelly’s 18th Media Day at Iowa State last Wednesday. 

One thing I’ve noticed about Coach Fennelly over the years is how appreciative he is of the fan base. It’s almost as if the man is incapable of answering a question without praising the fans. That’s a guy who gets it .

— Iowa State’s men’s basketball Media Day will go down this Wednesday in Ames. We will be all over it. 

— Was this the worst weekend in history for the tomahawk chop? I would give you all my analysis on the ending of 2012 for my Atlanta Braves but this is a PG-13 website. We can’t and will not cross over to that R rating.

Then there was the Florida State Seminoles (lost to N.C. State as National Title hopes vanished into the night). 

And what about the Kansas City Chiefs?