Monday, October 02, 2006

Murph: ISU's Escape, Iowa Fans Not Enough.

Thoughts on the weekend that was...

ISU escapes: Wow. I didn't think it was possible the most talked about college football game of the weekend would end up being UNI at Iowa State. That's what happens when the Cyclones have to pull a Houdini to beat a 1AA team in front of a record crowd. Cyclones fans felt relief, not jubilation, and the next night on SoundOFF, they sounded like ISU had lost, not won.

First of all, props to UNI. As I've said many times, the Panthers have one of the best 1AA programs in America. But even a great 1AA team should NEVER beat a good division 1 team. Now we know: Iowa State isn't good. Not yet. 1AA teams, like UNI, have a much smaller budget, inferior facilities, far fewer scholarships, and smaller, slower players; that's not a knock on UNI, it's just reality. Cyclone fans had flashbacks to the 90s, and there's no doubt they thought the days of sweating the Panthers were over.

Nancy Clark's column: The Des Moines Register writer basically said if Iowa State had lost, Dan McCarney would soon need a new job. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but I respect Nancy for having an opinion and getting it out there. She might be right too. The record crowd proves Jamie Pollard and his staff can get people in the seats, but if Cyclone Nation loses faith in the football program, all the plans requiring big dollars die on the vine. Pollard can't have that. And I can promise you, a loss to UNI would have caused a full-scale Cyclone meltdown. It nearly did anyway, and ISU won.

Iowa fans: Take a bow. That was an impressive weekend of showing just how much Hawkeye football means to tens of thousands in our state. ESPN's College Football Gameday has never seen anything like the reception Hawk fans provided.

As I watched the game on ABC, I got goosebumps. The gold clad fans provided an astonishing atmosphere for a college football game. When the blimp took one of those overhead shots, it made Iowa City look like the center of the college football universe. And then they played...

The fans couldn't have done more. They provided Iowa with a great home field advantage, but that's only worth so much... maybe a touchdown. Sometimes it comes down to the team with better players, and Ohio State was dominant. If Iowa played perfectly, which it didn't, and Ohio State made a bunch of mistakes, which it didn't, the Hawks could win. Otherwise, it's a mismatch.

I think we learned both the Hawks and Clones aren't as good as we hoped. But the fans, now that's another story...


Anonymous said...

Murph, hit that nail on the head. ISU constantly plays to the level of its opponent. They play well on the road at texas and iowa, then darn near lose at home to lesser teams. That points to a mentality of ISU players and coaches getting pumped up for big games, but having a let down for the teams they should beat. They need the mentality to crush lesser opponents, but unfortunately they do not have it.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Murphy,

Just because Iowa lost to the #1 team in the nation doesn't mean they aren't good. If this is the only loss they have during the season, I'll take it. Of course, they have to get past a good Purdue team, Michigan, Northern get the picture. I think all teams who play Iowa are out to get them, that's why people play them tough.

Stout Family said...


Good thoughts! Go HAWKS, but they need to show up an get crisp!

C'mon Twins! Let's Repeat '87 and '91 this year! I still have my "homer hankey" and I am ready to go!


p>S> I hate having Sound-Off so late on Sunday Nights..I am having trouble staying up, but my hubby is still watchin'. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

You're the best!

Anonymous said...

Where did Soundoff extra go? We miss it. Bring it back.