Williams Blog: Somehow, magazine picks ISU last in the Big 12

Before we begin: Preseason predictions mean nothing. I know that. You know that. Just getting that out of the way…

Growing up (I’m 29), I was always taught to let the little things slide. Only fight battles that need to be fought. Stick up for those who need help and never be a bully. I don’t consider this much of a “battle,” but for the sake of my sanity, a blog that needs to be written.

I write this blog today fully realizing that it could come off as petty, homerish and even unnecessary. But sometimes, I just can’t keep these vigorous fingers away from my dated MacBook Pro. Perhaps I just need to grow up and do exactly what Dad told me to do, let the little things slide (by all means, this is little).

As I do every October, I swung by the bookstore yesterday afternoon to grab a handful of preseason college basketball preview magazines (I am a hoops junkie if you didn’t realize this by now). The reason I do this is to write one large column to let you, the Cyclone Fanatics of the world, what the national guys think about Iowa State’s chances in 2013. I found three of them.

Athlon and Lindy’s are both picking the Cyclones to finish fourth in what will likely be a watered-down Big 12. For the record, that is right where I have Iowa State finishing too. I think that the diehard Kool-Aid drinkers will go as high as third for the Cyclones while the pessimists could go as low as sixth. 

Fact: Anybody who knows anything about this league, even the most casual of casual fans, knows the following: Kansas and Oklahoma State (in either order) represent the league’s the top tier heading into the 2013-14 campaign. Texas Tech, Texas, TCU and maybe (a strong maybe depending on who you talk to) West Virginia are the bottom four (some of this is debatable obviously).

I’ll list how Lindy’s and Athlon have the league finishing and then, will get to the USA TODAY preview, which is the purpose of this blog.


1 – Kansas
2 – Oklahoma State
3 – Baylor
4 – Iowa State
5 – Kansas State
6 – Oklahoma
7 – Texas Tech
8 – Texas
9 – West Virginia
10 – TCU


1 – Kansas
2 – Oklahoma State
3 – Baylor
4 – Iowa State
5 – Kansas State
6 – Texas
7 – Oklahoma
8 – West Virginia
9 – Texas Tech
10 – TCU

Both polls are reasonable and fairly similar.

Now, the USA Today preview magazine.

1 – Kansas
2 – Oklahoma State
3 – Baylor
4 – Texas
5 – West Virginia
6 – Texas Tech
7 – TCU
8 – Oklahoma
9 – Kansas State
10 – Iowa State


Me after reading this:


It is almost as if this piece is a random selection of teams four through 10. Perhaps the author went off of which uniforms he likes the most? Or, he could have just drawn them out of a Kansas ball cap. 

Last night, I tried hard to “understand” what he might have been thinking while putting these rankings together and for the life of me, I cannot find an objective reason at all for a top 10, any top 10, to look this way.

I am all for a guy going out on a limb in his preseason predictions. Heck, I picked TCU to win the Big 12 in football this season. But I had actual reasons for that. But this? 

Just forget Iowa State being ranked 10th for a moment. That is preposterous but due to the fact that I publish (and I fully realize I write with a lean), let’s throw that out of the picture for a while.

Texas at fourth? Rick Barnes’ seat might be hotter than Mack Brown’s right now, and that’s saying something.

Kansas Wesleyan, no, Kansas State (a program that has been in the NCAA Tournament in five of the last six seasons), at ninth? Worse than TCU (2-16 in the league last year), Texas (more like Transfer U, and not in a good way), and Texas Tech (on its fourth head coach in four years, counting last year’s interim coach Chris Walker)? Hmm…

Texas Tech at 6th? A big Tubby guy huh?

In his preseason rankings, a credible and legitimate reporter and USA TODAY employee, Scott Gleeson ranked the Cyclones at 39th in the country (note that Gleeson wrote some quality columns in this very magazine too). USA TODAY has all sorts of great writers and credible journalists on its staff.

How could this asinine of a column even make it onto newsstands?

Final thought – and I imagine that most of you will agree. This isn’t an Iowa State vs. the world situation here. I’d venture to guess that writers who cover every school in the Big 12 would feel the exact same way about this list that I do.

To reiterate an earlier point, preseason predictions are worth as much as the paper they are printed on. But is a little bit of logic behind the rankings too much to ask anymore?