Lofty Expectations 'Not Worth a Damn Thing;' Is It 'Adios, Bruce?'
Ames, Ia.—It was Dan McCarney’s day with reporters, and my question to him had to do with the high expectations a number of people have for his Iowa State football team.
I wondered how he felt about those expectations and if he had a handle on how his players would react to them.
“Good question, Ron,” said the man in his 11th year as the Cyclones’ coach. "How the players will react, I don’t know. People still aren’t sure about the Cyclones, and I shared that with the kids yesterday.
“I pulled out a couple or three [preseason football] magazines and showed them to the players. We talked about it, then I threw the magazines behind me on the stage up here [in the Jacobson Building].
“You know what it’s worth? Not a damn thing. This is the preseason.”
I’m picking McCarney’s team to win the Big 12 North title and to have an 8-3 regular-season record after going 7-5, including a 17-13 victory over Miami of Ohio in the Independence Bowl, last year. Eight-and-three will certainly land Iowa State in a nice bowl game in December.
“We’ve seen the magazines picking us as high as winning the Big 12 North, just as you mentioned,” McCarney said. “I’ve seen magazines listing five different teams winning the Big 12 North, which means they think we’re all mediocre and there isn’t a real good team up here yet in the North.
“I’ve seen magazines mention five, six and seven of my guys for people to keep their eye on. I’ve seen magazines that list the top 35 players, and no Iowa State player was even mentioned.
“People just aren’t sure. It’s not like the whole country has a groundswell of support that ‘you’d better get your butt to Ames and watch the Cyclones because they’ve got it all figured out.’ That’s not happening yet.”
But McCarney is confident his team will be improved.
“Should we be a better football team?” he said. “ There’s no doubt in my mind we should be. Do we want to pick up where we left off last year when we were the second-most improved team, in college football? No question. Do we have some question marks? No question.
“Do we have some guys who everybody in this room can put their paycheck on and say, ‘If I was a betting man or woman—which you may not be and I’m not…..don’t get me with a [Rick] Neuheisel. I don’t bet, but I know who I’m going into game-day with at a number of positions.
“I like the leadership, chemistry, accountability, togetherness and heavier on this football team.
MEANWHILE, OFF THE FOOTBALL FIELD
A man -- a very smart man, by the way -- called this afternoon to ask if I'd "heard anything about Van De Velde."
I assume he meant Bruce Van De Velde, the athletic director at Iowa State.
"No, I said. "I haven't heard anything. I was in Ames yesterday for football press day, but I didn't see Van De Velde. However, I can't say I was looking for him, either."
Van De Velde reads my columns--or at least someone sends them to him, especially when I ask why he wasn't at one of McCarney's press conferences--so I'm sure I'll be hearing from him now that he knows I'm looking for him. He called me last year at about this time, and we had a nice chat.
Then, again, it's Friday. Sometimes Friday is a good day for news to occur.
Obviously, nothing happened on the Van De Velde front Friday. But this e-mail showed up on my computer at 10:30 p.m. Sunday:
TO: ALL MEDIA
FROM: TOM KROESCHELL, IOWA STATE ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS
DATE: AUGUST 7, 2005
THE IOWA STATE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT WILL HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE MONDAY AT 10:30 AM IN THE HUNZIKER AUDITORIUM OF THE JACOBSON ATHLETIC BUILDING IN AMES.
QUESTIONS: CALL MEDIA ADVISORY
TOM KROESCHELL, IOWA STATE ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS (515) 460-5834 OR ERIN ROSACKER AND MIKE GREEN AT (515)294-3372
The Iowa State press conference, which certainly could be to announce that Van De Velde will be leaving as the Cyclones' athletic director, will be on the same day coach Kirk Ferentz will be showing off his University of Iowa football team a couple of hours east in Iowa City.
Hey, it's got to be something big when Iowa State hurries to schedule a press conference on the same day the coach and the star player--quarterback Drew Tate--of the nation's 10th-ranked football team are trying to take center stage in Iowa City!
TROUBLED BERRYMAN ALLOWED TO RETURN
Iowa State defensive end Jason Berryman, Iowa State's troubled defensive end, has been cleared to practice with the team--starting Friday. McCarney confirmed that Berryman had met the necessary academic and personal criteria he needed to achieve to earn a spot on the Iowa State roster.
"He'll start out as a fifth-stringer and see if he can work his way up," McCarney said of Berryman.
"This is not about Jason Berryman and Dan McCarney, or Bret Meyer or Stevie Hicks or Nick Leaders. This is about a football team. A lot of people don't realize that."
IOWA 10TH IN COACHES' PRESEASON POLL
Iowa, which was picked as high as second and third in some early preseason rankings, is a more-sensible No. 10 in the first USA Today coaches' poll. The Hawkeyes were No. 8 in the final poll last season after their sizzling victory over Louisiana State in the Capital One Bowl.
Iowa State is among the teams receiving votes in the coaches' preseason poll. The Cyclones received six votes.
Iowa State's Dan McCarney is listed as one of the coaches who vote in the weekly poll. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz doesn't vote. He said he has never been asked to vote in the poll, adding that he would turn down the opportunity if asked.
Rank Team (first-place votes) Record Points Final 2004 rank
1. Southern California (60) 13-0 1,547 1
2. Texas (2) 11-1 1,405 4
3. Tennessee 10-3 1,259 15
4. Michigan 9-3 1,242 12
5. Oklahoma 12-1 1,223 3
6. LSU 9-3 1,109 16
7. Virginia Tech 10-3 1,090 10
8. Miami (Fla.) 9-3 1,080 11
9. Ohio State 8-4 1,033 19
10. IOWA 10-2 1,014 8
11. Florida 7-5 910 25
12. Florida State 9-3 879 14
13. Georgia 10-2 838 6
14. Louisville 11-1 758 7
15. Auburn 13-0 723 2
16. Purdue 7-5 616 NR
17. Texas A&M 7-5 366 NR
18. Arizona State 9-3 304 20
19. Boise State 11-1 303 13
20. California 10-2 293 9
21. Texas Tech 8-4 247 17
22. Boston College 9-3 237 21
23. Virginia 8-4 210 23
24. Alabama 6-6 194 NR
25. Pittsburgh 8-4 193 NR
OTHERE RECEIVING VOTES
Fresno State (9-3) 188; Oregon (5-6) 145; Utah (12-0) 103; Georgia Tech (7-5) 88; Wisconsin (9-3) 79; North Carolina State (5-6) 69; Bowling Green (9-3) 63; Penn State (4-7) 44; Colorado (8-5) 40; Minnesota (7-5) 34; UCLA (6-6) 24; Texas-El Paso (8-4) 22; Nebraska (5-6) 21; Kansas State (4-7) 20; South Carolina (6-5) 16; Notre Dame (6-6) 13; West Virginia (8-4) 12; Wyoming (7-5) 12; Clemson (6-5) 9; New Mexico (7-5) 9; Arizona (3-8) 8; Northern Illinois (9-3) 8; Southern Mississippi (7-5) 7; Toledo (9-4) 7; Washington State (5-6) 7; IOWA STATE (7-5) 6; Michigan State (5-7) 6; Memphis (8-4) 5; Washington (1-10) 4; Miami (Ohio) (8-5) 3; Maryland (5-6) 2; UAB (7-5) 1; Duke (2-9) 1; Kansas (4-7) 1.
The USA Today Board of Coaches is made up of 62 head coaches at Division I-A institutions. All are members of the American Football Coaches Association. The board for the 2005 season: Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin; Chuck Amato, N.C. State, Gary Barnett, Colorado; Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech; Mike Bellotti, Oregon; Phil Bennett, SMU; Jack Bicknell, Louisiana Tech; Larry Blakeney, Troy; Bobby Bowden, Florida State; Tommy Bowden, Clemson; Jeff Bower, Southern Miss; Gregg Brandon, Bowling Green; Art Briles, Houston; Rich Brooks, Kentucky; Mack Brown, Texas; Watson Brown, UAB; John Bunting, North Carolina; Lloyd Carr, Michigan; Larry Coker, Miami (Fla.); Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State; Darrell Dickey, North Texas; Bill Doba, Washington State; Randy Edsall, Connecticut; Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M; Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee; Joe Glenn, Wyoming; Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; Walt Harris, Stanford; Ken Hatfield, Rice; Dan Hawkins, Boise State; Pat Hill, Fresno State; Terry Hoeppner, Indiana; Brady Hoke, Ball State; Skip Holtz, East Carolina; Brian Kelly, Central Michigan; Rocky Long, New Mexico; Sonny Lubick, Colorado State; Dan McCarney, Iowa State; Andy McCollum, Middle Tennessee; Shane Montgomery, Miami (Ohio); Joe Novak, Northern Illinois; Houston Nutt, Arkansas; Tom O'Brien, Boston College; Gary Patterson, TCU; Bobby Petrino, Louisville; Mark Richt, Georgia; Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia; Greg Schiano, Rutgers; Howard Schnellenberger, Florida Atlantic; John L. Smith, Michigan State; Frank Solich, Ohio; Steve Spurrier, South Carolina; Bob Stoops, Oklahoma; Jeff Tedford, California; Joe Tiller, Purdue; Dick Tomey, San Jose State; Jim Tressel, Ohio State; Tommy Tuberville, Auburn; Bobby Wallace, Temple; Randy Walker, Northwestern; Charlie Weis, Notre Dame; Tyrone Willingham, Washington.
The AFCA prohibits coaches from voting for schools on major NCAA probation.
Vol. 4, No. 363
Aug. 4, 2005