I’m going to keep it short and sweet this week. Afterall, there aren’t many (or any) positives to take from Saturday’s performance in Boulder. It was a total team failure, from top to bottom, so there’s no reason to point fingers. Iowa State was beat in every phase of the game, and it was easily the most disappointing effort of the Rhoads era to date. Fortunately, disappointing efforts are the exception under Rhoads, and not the rule.
The Cyclones still have a lot to play for on Saturday. Bowl eligibility is still a possibility, and Iowa State has played well at home this year. For the seniors, they’re fighting to extend their college careers by one more game. They were inches from win number six a couple of weeks ago, and it would be a damn shame to miss out on postseason given the way things set up following the Kansas win. It was still a daunting task, as I posted following the victory over the Jayhawks, but that wouldn’t make a 5-7 final record any less disappointing.
What I failed to account for in that post was the emotion that could come into play for the game against Colorado. I declared that I would be cheering on the Jayhawks against the Buffs, as a Colorado loss would probably be the end of Hawkins’ career, which it was. Be careful what you wish for, I guess. Colorado came out inspired, and the Cyclones appeared to still be recovering from the emotional loss to Nebraska. Couple these emotional factors with a tired team getting prepared to play its eleventh game in as many weeks, and you get what we all witnessed on Saturday.
But the incentive to rally for an inspired effort on Saturday is as strong as ever, and I expect that Arnaud will be the one leading the charge this week in practice. Regardless of how you feel about the man as a quarterback, not one fan can deny his competitive fire and his love for the Cyclones. He was dealt a terrible hand against the Buffs, and has every reason to hang his head and feel sorry for himself. But he won’t because he’s a leader and a great Cyclone.
The odds are against the Cyclones this week, as they have been for most of the season. But I expect to see the coaching staff put the players in the best possible position to win a game, and I expect a tremendous effort against Mizzou. Regardless of what happens, it’s been a great season. I picked the Clones to win five games this year, not because they have 5-win talent, but because Rhoads and his staff showed us in 2009 that their teams will do more with less. That hasn’t changed in 2010, and I still feel better about the Cyclone football program now than I have at any point in the last five or six years.