MONDAY MUSINGS: It’s hard to be optimistic anymore

1) It was almost as if I knew what was coming…

My wife had to work on Saturday. Weekends without her in our home tend to stink, but I quietly look forward to spending one-on-one time with my seven-month old daughter Camryn too.

This Saturday morning, I was getting Cami ready to go run a few errands with daddy. I love talking to my little girl. I often ramble to her about life. She tends to blankly stare at me as I spout off random advice for her future while telling her about my day. 

On this day, for some reason I randomly began to explain to her what it is like to be an Iowa State fan. Halfway through my message, the idea came to my mind to Periscope our “conversation.” I figured it could be a “lesson” to all out there. 

Mom had set out a Halloween shirt for her. I threw that on the ground and we rocked the Cyclone cheerleader outfit on instead. 

“It’s never easy beautiful,” I told her. “ And no matter what happens, you always wear your cardinal and gold.” 

I went back and re-watched this video before going to bed on Saturday night. My voice sounded awfully defeated for a guy who had recently picked Iowa State to upset Texas Tech.

These days, even the most optimistic optimists are having a hard time believing in much of anything when it comes to Cyclone football. 

That leads me to the game itself…

2) I’m not even sure where to start….

Iowa State’s 66-31 loss to Texas Tech was disappointing on so many levels.

A handful of us in the media (including Kirk Herbstreit on ESPN’s College GameDay) foolishly picked Iowa State to win the game and trust me; a disgusting amount of crow has been eaten (which I have no problem admitting).

Iowa State gave up the third most yards (776) in program history. That same number was a school record for Texas Tech, which is incredibly impressive if you know anything about the proud offensive history of Red Raider football.

Bam Morris. Mike Leach. Kliff Kingsbury. Graham Harrell. Michael Crabtree. Mike Leach. There are others too. But on Oct. 10, 2015, it was Iowa State’s defense that gave up the most.

This game was over when Tech converted on that second quarter 3rd and 30.

3) It wasn’t all on the D. In fact, I was so annoyed with Iowa State’s offensive game plan that I emotionally tweeted this on Saturday night.


It’s nothing against Mark Mangino either. He’s an accomplished coach who I have a great amount of respect for. And yes, redshirt freshman Mike Warren did run for 245 yards while averaging 10.7 per carry. 

Mike Warren’s 10.7 yards per carry average tells me two things:

1) He’s really good.

2) He didn’t get the ball enough!

Twenty-three carries against that rush defense? 

Come on.

At the end of the day, Iowa State is never going to "stop" offenses like Texas Tech, TCU and Baylor.

Iowa State’s best defense is a good offense. 

4) Joel Lanning should be the starting quarterback when TCU comes to town as an 18-point favorite on Saturday night. 

I love and genuinely feel sorry for Sam Richardson. I think that everybody realizes that he is not the only reason that this program has struggled the last few years, but for the same reason I brought up letting Sturdy call plays, this offense needs a burst of energy. An actual running game (Warren) is a nice start but is obviously not enough to hang with the heavyweights of the Big 12.

I’m a big fan of this take by former Cyclone quarterback Bret Meyer. 


A little more analysis on Richardson…

I think that he came to Iowa State as a promising young quarterback, but he has regressed. That’s coaching, obviously, and it’s a kid being beaten down time and time again. I really do feel for the guy.

Lanning is the future. After a 2-3 start (with the five softest games on the schedule behind them), the future is now, folks.

We might as well see what the kids can do.

5) Redshirt freshman Mike Warren has run for 574 yards so far this season. Crazy enough, 546 of those have come in the last three games. Warren leads all freshmen in college football in rushing right now and is averaging 8.1 yards per carry on the season.

Good news: TCU’s rush defense is ranked 100th nationally. Kansas State ran for 228 against the Horned Frogs on Saturday. 

Wanna keep this game respectable? Take the air out of the ball because Iowa State ain’t stopping Heisman hopeful Trevone Boykin. 

6) Texas defeating Oklahoma on Saturday was an awesome story. “A talented football team who everyone had buried tops its nationally ranked rival in an impressive form.”

Great for Texas = awful for the Big 12. There’s still a lot of football left to be played but without a championship game, a one-loss Oklahoma team likely won’t be a College Football Playoff contender. With its road win at Tennessee (although that’s looking less and less impressive by the week), OU looked like it was going to have the most impressive non-con resume of all Big 12 contenders (compared to Baylor and TCU).

7) My weekly Big 12 power rankings (this gets very difficult to do after No. 4)…

1) TCU, 2) Baylor, 3) Oklahoma State, 4) Oklahoma, 5) Kansas State, 6) Texas, 7) West Virginia, 8) Texas Tech, 9) Iowa State, 10) Kansas.

8) After an ugly 0-5 start to the season, North Texas fired Iowa State legend Dan McCarney following Saturday night’s 66-7 loss to Portland State. I feel for Mac because he is a prideful man and I know this isn’t easy for him. However, read this…


Mac is 62 years old and has fought health issues consistently over the last few years. It looks like this could be the end of his career. But knowing Mac, he will keep on trucking.

Gotta love Coach Mac. There’s no doubt about it.

9) The Big 12’s basketball media day is a week from tomorrow in Kansas City. I thought I’d drop that nugget of good news for you guys today. And who’s excited for Hilton Madness on Friday?


10) I’m always looking for ways to bring new forms of content to you guys at Starting this week, I’m going to try something new.


Tweet at me (@ChrisMWilliams) with that hashtag or simply post a question in our forum. From time to time, I’ll do short video segments analyzing the questions that you guys ask. Today’s audience craves short videos so these will always been below two minutes in time. 

With the issues surrounding football and the optimism surrounding basketball, feel free to fire away. 

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