Commentary from College Station

There is a sentence in the first paragraph of the first piece of paper that you are handed when you enter the press box at Kyle Field: For our first-time visitors, please do not be alarmed as the press box will move during the Aggie War Hymn.

Oh, it moves alright! It's not a vibration. It's a full sway of about one or two inches in each direction. Before the game when the Aggies are preparing to leave the field after warm-ups, they split the players into two groups and line up in the middle of the field. Half of them facing the east stands, and the other half facing the west stands. They place their helmets on the ground in front of them as straight as they are standing on the field. Then everyone breaks out in a rousing version of the hymn. When they get toward the end of the song, everyone on the field and in the stands wraps their arms around their neighbor on both sides and then began a vigorous to and fro swaying while singing their hymn. You would have thought that a 7.2 Richter scale earthquake was shaking the city. The fans repeat this hymn without the help of the players after the first and third quarters.

 

Now I don't know what you think about the Aggie mystique and their collection of yells, but there is one thing that you have to admit about Texas A&M: they have some of the most rabid fans around. No wonder people have ranked Kyle Field as one of the best stadiums in the nation to see a game. Another thing about the Aggie fans that I noticed yesterday was that they didn't gripe, moan and groan about the game afterwards. They really didn't have a reason because…they were viciously manhandled by the Iowa State Cyclones yesterday.

 

It is said that the Aggies never lose a game, but they just run out of time in an attempt to win a game. No disrespect intended, but Texas A&M lost that game Saturday. No amount of time would have helped the Aggies. Bret Meyer was able to dissect the Aggie secondary for 371 yards and four touchdowns, Todd Blythe caught eight of his passes for 214 yards and the four touchdowns, and Stevie Hicks came back from an injury to rush for 122 yards and two touchdowns. In fact, Blythe has been named the national offensive player of the week by the Walter Camp Foundation because of his efforts.

 

Both sides of the line performed their jobs very effectively. The offensive line kept the pressure off Meyer for most of the day. He was only sacked twice while attempting 32 passes, and the roll out pass was very effective in diffusing the pressure from up the middle. The defensive line allowed only two big plays, and only one of them counted because of a timely or untimely, depending on which side of the field you were standing, holding penalty. Nick Leaders was constantly beating his man and putting pressure on McNeal, who was definitely not in his comfort zone because of the pressure. Leaders only had four tackles, but three of them were for losses that totaled 20 yards. One of those three was a sack for an eight yard loss, and he also forced a fumble on the day.

 

Not too bad for a line going against the Aggies and their superior athletes.

Now that the Cyclones have hit the springboard and started their rise on this potential dive into the post-season, how will they react to this game next Saturday against Kansas State? Will they pull a Greg Louganis and smack their heads on the board as they go by, or will they straighten out in a timely matter, enter the water with no splash and earn high marks for their efforts? The Wildcats gave away a game yesterday against Colorado on a muffed punt with less than a minute left, and their post-season chances are starting to look iffy, at best. It looks like it's time to push the winning streak to three games and bring back more recollections of 2004. A first look at the weather forecast for next weekend shows a partly cloudy day with a high of 57 degrees. Cyclone fans, it's time to take a stand. Let the pheasant and deer live until Sunday because they're not going anywhere. They'll be there to look at you through the crosshairs later. It's time to step up and support this team. You are expected to be in your seats when the first rendition of the Aggie War Hymn is belted out before the game. If you want your program to mirror the big brothers of the conference, pull the tap from the keg, extinguish all open flames and let out a roar as the players begin walking down the ramp toward the field.

 

Ben Bruns made a legitimate point a few weeks ago that a big crowd can make a difference in a game. Cyclone fans, make a difference! Remember all of the thrashings that we received from Kansas State over the past decade? The pendulum started to swing the other direction last year with a 28-point fourth quarter, and it seems to be gaining momentum. Heck, if you have to, close your eyes and pretend that they are wearing black and gold and have a tiger hawk on their helmets. Do whatever it takes to turn the Jack into a boiling cauldron of emotion.

 

A five game winning streak at the end of the year will lead the Cyclones, in my opinion, to the Alamo city. An 8-3 record would probably tie Colorado for the best record in the Big 12 North, but a win over the Buffaloes and their lack of traveling fans would push the Cyclones up a notch in the eyes of the bowls. Texas A&M has a murderer's row of a schedule in November (@ Texas Tech, @Oklahoma, Texas), and it will be very difficult for them to achieve a winning record. Baylor must win two out of their last three games since two of their victories were against I-AA teams. Kansas State will have a hard time trying to win two of their last three games with games at Ames and Lincoln and hosting Missouri. Kansas has to win two of their games with Nebraska and Iowa State coming to town and a trip to Austin to face the Longhorns. An 8-3 record would probably put the Cyclones in the fourth spot with a very, very outside shot at the #3 spot, which would send Iowa State to the left coast in beautiful, sunny San Diego. A more realistic number four spot would put the Cyclones on the Riverwalk with a game against a Big Ten (OK, 11) opponent. Coach McCarney stated that his players are playing the second half of season for rewards at the end of the season. Cyclone fans, it's time to do the work in the second half of the season for rewards at the end of the season. San Antonio? San Diego? Anyone? Let's get busy!


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