10. Hawkeye fans. This could easily be number one on the list, but I'm afraid that most Hawk fans would misunderstand and consider it a victory. Hawkeye fans make it very easy to root for the Cyclones. If you listened to the fans, Iowa hasn't legitimately lost a football game since before Jim Zabel was born.
9. The campus. Iowa State's campus is pristine and old school. As an ISU student moves from one class to another, it is a short journey past historic architecture standing along side 21st century faculties. In Iowa City, the campus is divided by busy streets. the University in Ames molded around lush open spaces of green grass, walking and bike paths, sculptures and fountains. I challenge anyone to spot a prettier setting for learning than Iowa State in the spring.
8. Bill Fennelly. Coach Fennelly has built women's basketball at Iowa State into one that garners national recognition. Along with the success on the court, Cyclone women's basketball are consistently near the top in attendance.
7. CN the magazine. I don't advocate spending too much time sucking up to the boss, but there are certain moments that it can be accomplished without being insincere.
6. Johnny Orr. Coach was an amazing coup for Iowa State. Johnny brought enthusiasm, national prestige and regular NCAA tournament bids to the Cyclones.
5. ISU Basketball Coaches. Since Johnny Orr retired, Iowa State has not missed a step in hiring the best available coaching talent including Tim Floyd, Larry Eustachy and presently Wayne Morgan. Coming off an NCAA tournament bid and with a top ten recruiting class coming in, the future is bright.
4. Hilton Magic. Clichés are often used in sports to describe abstracts, although not always in a factual manner. "Hilton Magic' is legitimate.
3. Dan McCarney. Coach McCarney resembles the Cyclone fan base closer than any other Iowa State coach. Perseverance. Strength. Integrity. Passion. These are adjectives that describe not only McCarney, but the core Iowa State fan base. Coach McCarney
2. Pete Taylor. While Hawkeye fans enjoyed Jim Zabel throughout his long broadcasting career, Iowa State was blessed with Pete Taylor. I respect Zabel's passion for his team, but Taylor was a better play by play man because he wasn't just a homer for the Cyclones. Taylor suffered along with radio listeners during brutal losses, as well as celebrating over the air waves during triumphs.
And the number one reason why I am a Cyclone fan instead of a Hawkeye fan...
1. The Cyclone Fight Song: The words and melody of the Cyclone Fight Song are recognizable and easy to sing along to.
10. No old ladies knitting at Hilton Coliseum. With the boredom and apathy shown at Hawk basketball games, Hilton Magic is a breath of fresh air and shows how true fans act at a basketball game!
9. Clueless fans, the jihadic wing as Deace would say. While being a huge fan for your team is great, please know your situation! Undefeated football season? Come on, a new d-line and most of your defensive backfield returns, not good for the Hawk defense.
8. Hickory Park. There is no better food in the state, no doubt about it!
7. Iowa State is an NBA farm system. With 6 current players on NBA rosters, several former players within the last decade and as many as four players on the roster ending March 2005 perhaps going to the NBA, ISU is a hotbed for basketball talent.
6. What is a hawkeye anyway? I see the dirty bird on the sidelines, but not much attention is focused on the eye. There are two parts to the name, hawk which is the bird and eye. The eye gets no love. Maybe the new logo should shrink the head and focus on the eyes only.
5. Wayne Morgan, what a job he has done. He came into a horrible situation at a school with a relatively small athletic budget. All he has done the past two seasons is make it to the semi-finals of the NIT, lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to the eventual national champions and bring in one of the best recruiting classes ever to Ames. Hopefully he chooses to stay at ISU for many years, there may be a national championship banner or two to hang in Hilton Coliseum!
4. Steve Alford and Iowa basketball. Man, I hope that guy never leaves Iowa City. He is very polarizing to the Hawkeye fanbase. Looking at the past several years has started out hot and then fades big time. Near the end of the season, there are enough wins to keep the Iowa basketball program from sinking totally, but not enough to keep his own fans off of his back.
3. "Speak softly and carry a large stick." I believe this is the motto for ISU football. After the 15 straight losses to Iowa, ISU ran up five straight. During that streak of five, all Iowa fan had to say was when you win 15 in a row, you can start talking. I believe ISU has taken the last two years very well. HOWEVER, there will be a new streak starting this year. ISU 31 Iowa 16, probably giving Iowa too much credit.
2. Ames vs. Iowa City. Iowa City does not have Lake Laverne, they have never had VEISHEA and Jack Trice Stadium has one of the best looking fields in the country. What does Iowa City have?
1. Too easy, Pierre Pierce. Do I need to say anymore?
10. The Clones' Home Town is Clean – Anyone who has ever set foot in Iowa City will agree that it usually looks like it was just hit with a garbage bomb. It's hard to walk anywhere without having to awkwardly avoid a homeless person. Granted, Ames' student populated areas could have a few less keg cups on the ground, but at least you don't have to worry about tripping over a garbage can into a late night bum fight.
9. Hilton Coliseum – I've been to many sporting events and arenas in my life and none compare to a sold-out game in Hilton. I'll take Cyclone Alley over the Hawk's Nest any day. Hilton Magic is back and better than ever.
8. Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock – Arguably one of the best and most exciting backcourts in the country, Stinson's tear-drop and Blalock's no-look passes are two big reasons that Hilton Magic is what it is. And we've still got ‘em for two more years folks.
7. Good Guys Don't Wear Black – Cardinal is like, so totally more in than black. I don't want to see that dark, drab, boring color running on the field at my football games, but rather the bright shining ray of hope and inspiration that is the cardinal and gold. I rest my case.
6. Our Mascot is More Believable – Who is Herkie, or whatever his name is, fooling anyway? It's clearly just a person wearing a goofy outfit and a plastic helmet. But Cy, well, my sources say he's just a really old, big bird without the gift of flight that chose to devote his life to cheering for the Cyclones. Coincidentally, Iowa State executives had a really hard time harnessing an actual tornado to roam the sidelines, just to clear up any name confusion.
5. Dan McCarney – If you've ever heard Mac speak, then you know why he's on this list. He's the only coach in America that could talk to the media after an eight-game losing streak and make fans feel like the Cyclones are still in contention for a conference title. Simply put, he's college football's version of Tony Robbins.
4. A Cyclone Would Win in a Fight With a Hawkeye – Has anyone seen Twister? I'm pretty sure a Hawkeye is smaller than a cow and we all saw that bovine getting tossed around by that tornado. No contest.
3. Fred Hoiberg – The guy's life should be made into a movie. Greatest. Cyclone. Story. Ever. We're all pulling for you Freddie.
2. Cael Sanderson – How many Hawk fans can say their school had the greatest athlete ever to compete in a college sport pass through their hallowed halls? Or better yet, how many Hawkeyes are up for the ultra-prestigious ESPY award? Zero? That's right.
1. You Get to Root for the Underdog – Against all odds, upset, improbable victory - use whatever cliché you like, but rooting for the pressure less, nothing-to-lose underdog is the classic sports story. Honestly, why would you want to cheer for those mean Iowa New York Yankees when you could go for those lovable Iowa State Boston Red Sox? I Believe!
10. Cy – Who's more loveable than the big bird? Cy's been beating up opposing schools mascots for more than 50 years. Herky Who?
9. Tailgating – Cold, wind and rain don't detour Cyclone fans from getting up at the crack of dawn to lend their support to the Cardinal and Gold; they epitomize the word dedication.
8. Iowa State makes the most of what it has – Iowa State has the smallest budget in the Big 12, yet the Cyclones are atop the conference when it comes to success. How many teams besides Iowa State can say both their men's and women's basketball teams made the NCAA Tournament and their football team won a bowl game. Only eight and Iowa State is one of them. The Hawkeyes did not make that list.
7. The Coaches – It's no coincidence that Iowa State is drawing many of the top recruits in the state, not to mention the nation. Ask any ISU recruit what separates the Cyclones from other schools and the most common answer is the coaching staffs.
6. Iowa State/Iowa football series – Since 1894, minus a 42 year stretch, nothing has held the state's attention more than the annual meeting between the Cyclones and the Hawkeyes. Only 73 more days to wait...
5. Cyclone Greats – Fred Hoiberg, Jeff Hornacek, Jeff Grayer, Angie Welle, Lindsay Wilson, Megan Taylor, Stacy Frese, Dan Gable, Ennis Haywood, Dexter Green, and Seneca Wallace are just a few of Iowa State's finest.
4. Cael Sanderson – He finished his ISU career with a perfect 159-0 record. He was the first undefeated, four-time wrestling champion in NCAA history, a 2004 Olympic Gold medalist, 2003 World Silver Medalist and if that's not enough Sports Illustrated named his career the No. 2 Most Outstanding Achievement in college sports. No one is a better ambassador of Iowa State than Sanderson.
3. Pete Taylor – Throughout the years, no name was more synonymous with ISU sports than that of Pete Taylor. As the Voice of the Cyclones, Taylor was the eyes and ears of the Cyclone Nation and brought Iowa State into the hearts of millions.
2. Hilton Magic – Since the Johnny Orr era there hasn't been a more intimidating place to play college basketball than Hilton Coliseum. Carver Hawkeye Arena can barely even draw a sold-out crowd, while Hilton Coliseum packs them in night after night, no matter the sport.
1. The Future – It's a great time to be an ISU fan with the current core of student-athletes including the likes of: Bret Meyer, Todd Blythe, Stevie Hicks, Curtis Stinson, Will Blalock, Rahshon Clark, Lyndsey Medders, Megan Ronhovde, Nate Gallick, Kurt Backes,Trent and Travis Paulson, Janet Anson, Laura-Kay Powell, Erin Dethloff, Dan Taylor, Jenny Mockler, Drew Daziel, Christi Athas, Joanna Haig, Kate Kirwan, Ashley Killeen, Alyssa Ransom,Hillary Nichols, Kim Rogers, Danielle Uscinski, Caitlin Loprinzi, Ada Anderson, Tony Douglas, and Katie Jessen representing the Cyclones.