Monday, October 10, 2005

Desperate Iowa State Now Must Face Missouri and Brad Smith, 'One of the Real Dynamic Players in All of College Football'

It seems like only yesterday.

Actually, it was Nov. 27, 2004.

I guess that’s why it seems like yesterday.

Anyway, Missouri’s football team was in Ames, and the stakes were high for the Cyclones.

They had already assured themselves of at least a tie for the Big 12 North championship. A victory on that cold Saturday over a Missouri team that knew it wouldn’t be going to a bowl game--because it hadn’t beaten enough teams--would give Iowa State the title outright.

Oh, all right, go ahead and poke fun at the Big 12 North.

Iowa State….Missouri…..Nebraska…..Kansas State…..Kansas…..Colorado…..

Put an all-star team together from that bunch in 2004 and you probably wouldn’t have a team good enough to hang in there with Oklahoma or Texas out of the Big 12 South.

Missouri wound up beating Iowa State, 17-14, in overtime at Jack Trice Stadium, and Colorado tied the Cyclones for first place in the Big 12 North at – pardon the numbers – 4-4.

Pretty embarrassing.


Now here’s Missouri again on Iowa State’s schedule. The Cyclones play a 1 p.m. game Saturday at Columbia against an explosive Missouri team that’s 1-1 in the Big 12 and 3-2 overall.

"This is an unbelievable challenge for our defense," Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said today. "Missouri is hitting on all cylinders offensively. They're putting up an unbelievable amount of points, yards and first downs.'

Iowa State is desperate. The Cyclones are 0-2 in the Big 12 following their horrible 23-13 loss last week to ex-Big 12 punching bag Baylor, and 3-2 overall.

“Missouri is a major, major challenge for us,” McCarney said. “This is a very important game for us.”

Indeed, it’s a crossroads game for the Cyclones. They need to beat somebody—anybody—to dodge the four-letter words their fans are calling them after flooding the field with mistakes lately.


We’ve had six turnovers in the red zone in five games,” McCarney said. “That hasn’t been our style. It's unacceptable and inexcusable, and we have to get it corrected.”


It’s often unwise to try joking with a coach whose team has lost its last two games.

A Kansas City Star reporter was trying to be funny, but flirted with danger by asking McCarney a question today on the Big 12 coaches’ teleconference.

Thank goodness McCarney kept his patience.

Reporter Mike DeArmond said, “Is it true that Stevie Hicks has been there 10 years?”

Then DeArmond laughed.

McCarney didn't.

[Brief pause].

McCarney then collected himself.

"Stevie Hicks?....." he said.

“No, [the injured Hicks] is just a junior. “But he has been here a while and we’re hoping to get him back one of these days.”


Actually, McCarney could have turned the tables and asked DeArmond how long Missouri quarterback Brad Smith [pictured above in this column] has been playing.

It seems like 6-2, 210-pound senior Smith, who ran for 101 yards and one touchdown and passed for 150 yards in Missouri’s victory over Iowa State in 2004, has been around at least a dozen years.

“I don’t know if there’s a player in my years in the Big 12 who I’ve respected more than Smith,” said McCarney. “He’s really special — one of the real dynamic players in all of college football.”


Jason Harris, the Iowa State freshman running back from Clearwater, Fla., who played against Baylor, had his choices of universities narrowed to Iowa State and North Carolina before deciding to come to Ames.

“Chris Ash, my secondary coach, did a real good job of building a relationship with Jason and his family,” McCarney said. “Either way [Iowa State or North Carolina], he was going to be a long way from home.

“Jason and his family felt good about our program. He found that we could be a second family to him. He’ll get more playing time because he deserves it.”


One of the best sports blogs in the business is, which provides thorough coverage of the collegiate scene from coast to coast. It's filled with photos and excellent commentary.

In fact, it's the sports blog answer to what Poynter's Jim Romenesko does with his site that covers the Internet, newspaper, TV and radio businesses -- but even better. Romenesko uses hardly any photos and provides little commentary.

Among the Wizard's latest projects is taking a look at "Video of One of the Dirtiest of Plays." It's very good stuff.


Don't say I didn't tell you:

Iowa 38, Indiana 14
Missouri 31, Iowa State 24


Vol. 4, No. 391
Oct. 10, 2005