Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fresh Off One Of Their Biggest Victories Ever, There's No Reason the Cyclones Can't Run the Table, Go 8-3 And Play In a Bowl Game At a Nice Warm Place

Happy Halloween, everyone.

Hopefully, all those ghosts and goblins out there will protect your home-field advantage this week.

Well, other than the one at Northwestern.


Now, back to where we began this season with Iowa State’s football team.

In August, I said there wasn’t an opponent on the Cyclones’ schedule they couldn’t beat.

Then, on successive Saturdays, Nebraska, Baylor and Missouri screwed things up – Nebraska and Missouri in overtime games – and Iowa State suddenly found itself with a 3-3 record.

Dan McCarney and his players got things straightened out by burying Oklahoma State, 37-10, then wiped away another Iowa State ghost yesterday with an impressive 42-14 victory at Texas A&M.

One more victory makes the Cyclones bowl-eligible.

So I’ll say it again……

There’s no team on the schedule Iowa State can’t beat.

There’s one word for Kansas State, Colorado and Kansas—the remaining teams on the regular-season schedule.

That word is “beatable.”

At 5-3 overall and 2-3 in the Big 12 North, the Cyclones should finish 8-3 overall and 5-3 in the conference.

That will get them into a very nice bowl game.

San Antonio [where they play the Alamo Bowl] in the last week of December can be very nice.

So can Houston [where they play the Houston Bowl].

Shreveport [where they play the Independence Bowl] is a place I can do without.


People are trying to find the proper place in Cyclone football history to put the victory over Texas A&M.

At least in modern times.

Although it was the Cyclones’ first victory ever over the Aggies, it’s certainly not the biggest in my memory.

No. 1 remains the 19-7 upset pulled off by Iowa State over 7th-ranked Nebraska on Nov. 14, 1992 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

I was there. It really happened.

The Cornhuskers came to town with a 7-1 record and had clobbered No. 8 Colorado, 52-7, and No. 13, Kansas, 49-7, just before playing Iowa State.

Nebraska had been so impressive that Bob Devaney, the former Husker coach who then was the school’s athletic director, said Tom Osborne’s 1992 team was better than the university’s 1971 national championship squad.

But on that cold November afternoon, Nebraska was no match for unheralded quarterback Marv Seiler and an Iowa State team coached by Jim Walden.

As far as I’m concerned, yesterday’s victory wasn’t even Dan McCarney’s biggest as Iowa State’s coach.

McCarney’s premier game continues to be the 27-9 victory his 1998 team scored over Hayden Fry’s Iowa team in Iowa City.

Iowa had won 15 consecutive games in the series, and there were whispers going around that the rivalry was so one-sided that maybe Iowa State should step back and see if it wanted to continue.

But McCarney put the series in proper perspective and reeled off five straight victories over Iowa, and now has won six of the last eight.


Indeed, another game I’d rank ahead of the victory over Texas A&M would be the 36-31 decision McCarney’s Cyclones grabbed from Iowa in 2002 at Kinnick Stadium.

In that game, Iowa led, 24-7, at halftime, but a Seneca Wallace-led Iowa State offense scored 29 straight points in the second half.

I was in the press box for that one, just as I was the Cyclones' 27-9 victory at Iowa City in 1998.


They're saying that the loss to Iowa State in front of a crowd of 86,172 at College Station, TX, put another sizable nail in the coaching coffin of Texas A&M's Dennis Franchione.


Just when we start thinking Northwestern might be ready to do something big, it plays like……

Well, Northwestern.

The good thing is, suddenly the Wildcats look beatable as Iowa prepares to play them Saturday at Evanston, Ill.

The best way for the Hawkeyes to start avoiding the Motor City Bowl in Detroit is to beat Northwestern.


Hawkeye fans don't easily forget.

I was doing a book-signing yesterday at Borders Bookstore in West Des Moines when a woman walked up.

"I'm still thinking of that loss to Michigan a week ago," she said. "On the final drive of regulation time, Scott Chandler was wide-open in the end zone for what would have been the winning touchdown pass.

"But Drew Tate either didn't see him or didn't want to see him. All he could see was Clinton Solomon."

Alas, Iowa didn't score and the game went into overtime. Michigan wound up winning.

I don't know if I'm the only one who thinks so, but Tate isn't having the greatest of seasons.

He's far from being the offensive player of the year in the Big Ten.


Bill Callahan may not be out of the woods at Nebraska yet.

And look whose team is tied for second place in the Big 12 South.

Bob Stoops’ Oklahoma squad at 4-1 in the conference and 5-3 overall.


A guy who wishes 2005 would go away:

Purdue coach Joe Tiller, whose team is 0-5 in the Big Ten and 2-6 overall.


Don’t say I didn’t tell you:

Iowa 38, Northwestern 28
Iowa State 25, Kansas State 21


Vol. 4, No. 401
Oct. 30, 2005