Let’s talk about football
Let’s talk about football
I know it’s on your mind. We can start with the obvious if you’d like? Iowa is 9-0. Is it believable? Yes. Did anyone really,
really expect it? I doubt it.
Iowa has rolled through their season, sometimes blowing out the opponent — North Texas I’m looking at you — and other times edging out by the slimmest of margins — Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, I’m looking at you.
After the win at Wisconsin, the “what-if” ball started rolling. I was driving home one day, listening to the Big Ten commentators talking about the possibilities of Iowa winning-out. To be honest, I cackled. Loudly. The thought of an undefeated Iowa, matching up against Ohio State/Michigan State/Michigan in the Big Ten title game was hilarious. Despite the score, they barely edged out Iowa State, hit a miracle field goal to beat Pittsburgh and struggled to find offense against Wisconsin.
But, again I admit, I was wrong. Way wrong.
Now sitting at 9-0, no, Iowa does not have that great of strong win schedule. Their two “signature wins” would be at Wisconsin and at Northwestern. Both teams were/are ranked, but they weren’t in the top 15 in the AP poll. The case won’t get any easier as Iowa is facing two teams fighting for a bowl appearance and a 2-7 Purdue team.
It’s been a heck of a ride, and Iowa is absolutely, without a doubt a top 10 team. If Iowa can win the Big Ten title against the Buckeyes, Spartans or Wolverines — if they even get in — then their case is at its strongest point this season. But a one-loss Iowa team — regardless of who the loss is against — will not be vying for a national championship.
ISU FANS WISH CHANGE INTO ACTION
Now that I’ve managed to get the blood boiling of most Iowa fans out there, it’s time to turn on my alma mater.
Iowa State fans have done it again. They’ve managed to wish Joel Lanning into existence. I’ve watched Lanning play for nearly six years, as I watched him for a couple years when I was in high school and after I graduated, and then after he followed me to Iowa State for a couple of spring games and practices.
Lanning is not the saving grace of Cyclone football. Just like Sam Richardson, Grant Rohach, Jared Barnett and Steele Jantz weren’t. But damn it, Iowa State fans want him to be.
Although I went to Iowa State, watched many a game at Jack Trice Stadium and tailgated at alarmingly early hours, I refuse to become the irrational fan that thinks a new quarterback will put the Cyclones on the map.
It seems whenever things are going tough — i.e. every season since 2012 — the Cyclone fans love to turn on the quarterback. Maybe because he’s the leader of the team. Maybe because he’s not Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy or Robert Griffin III. But when the tough gets going, the quarterback gets going to the bench.
Because beside a couple of marquee wins, Paul Rhoads’ only hope is keeping the fan base behind him.
So he listens to the fans, in addition to much more coaching experience than you and I will ever have.
There’s a reason Mark Mangino parted ways Rhoads and Iowa State. Mangino believed Richardson was the go-to guy. Lanning had a couple really lucky plays against TCU and had an excellent performance against a sub par Texas team. So, when the real test came, against a stout Oklahoma team, Lanning performed just how I expected: mediocre. Lanning was 26-51, a touchdown, an interception and sacked four times. Granted those sacks weren’t all his doing, there were plenty of times where Richardson would have thrown the ball away, make something happen with his legs or used his experience to make a play down field.
It’s time ISU fans just take a breath, ride out the season — again — and once Richardson graduates, put the time and effort into Lanning to mold him to become the quarterback he can be and the one ISU fans hope he will be.
THE NO. 19 PANTHERS
The Panthers are off the hook this week with me. Why? Because no one is talking about them.
Which is surprising to me how close Charles City and our surrounding communities are to Cedar Falls.
The Panthers kicked off the season rising as the No. 6 team in the country. And no one said anything. After three straight losses, the Panthers fell to No. 25, but never out of the standings. After an upset win at No. 6 South Dakota State, the Panthers have jumped back up to No. 19, riding a three-game win streak. It’s a shame that we’ve spent the majority of the college football season either wondering how far Iowa can go or if Iowa State can get a signature upset win, and not paying much attention to the Panthers, who sit two games out of first place in the MVFC and could be in contention for the FCS postseason. There’s a lot that just happened and probably a lot you disagree with. So I’m encouraging you to submit your responses. Either mail them in to the Charles City Press or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions will go into the Press’ sports section throughout the following week.