Bring on Toledo

7-5 is probably disapointing for most Cyclone fans, as it should be. CN says optimism is the best way to approach this past season. Check it out here at Cyclone Nation.

As all of you know, our Cyclones finished this year's campaign with a final record of 7-5. 7-5 is ok, but it's no 10-2. Two years ago if I were to go through this season as a fan, I probably would have sounded like a 7th grade girl crying about all of the things that went wrong. The fumbles by a freshman, the bad calls at Missouri, or even a neo-conservative offensive game plan against Kansas. I would have been crying that this team "underachieved" and I probably would have said that Iowa State will never compete for a Big 12 Championship.


That was two years ago. I've learned a lot in those years and the biggest thing that I've learned is that no matter what happens in sports, there's always next year and it never huts to keep things positive.


Now I realize that we are all very passionate fans. Trust me; I care about Cyclone athletics about as much as Steve Alford cares about his hair gel.


The major thing that I've realized is how much work that was put into this season. A lot of times, we as fans and journalists say things out of pure emotion. I've done it, and most of us probably have. It's what makes being a fan being a fan. If nobody cared, it wouldn't be any fun.


When people look at this past season, many will think about what could have been. Well that works both ways. Sure, Iowa State realistically could have been undefeated playing Texas in the Big 12 Championship. But Iowa State also could have gone 5-6 and fail to reach the post season. After two tough overtime losses and an embarrassing loss to Baylor, this team fought back. This team proved us all wrong when they went on the road to beat Texas A&M for the first time in school history. This team won two big games against Iowa and Colorado that gave us fans enough joy to last us two seasons.


All that sounds great but us as fans always want more. If your team finishes #2, you want them to be #1. Who wouldn't? It's human nature.


The fact of the matter is that our beloved Clones did finish 7-5. They did lose a bowl game, they did blow a chance to play in a championship game for the second year in a row and it was a disappointing season. There's no point in being negative about it. We need to be proud of what our guys did do, and not focus on what they didn't do. The fact of the matter is that no matter how passionate our fans our and how bad we all hurt after losses, those players and coaches hurt even more.


I know for a fact how much time those players put into one season. It's unthinkable. It's pretty much like having two full-time jobs and not to mention classes and being in the public eye 24/7.


Now I don't know about the rest of the fans but after the loss to TCU, to me it didn't sting nearly as bad as the loss to Kansas.


My main point is to keep your passion Cyclone fans. Recover from this season at your own pace, but we all owe it to our players to be fully recovered to be thinking Big 12 Championship come next September. That's what the players want and that's what they deserve.


Here's a quick story about the Houston Bowl. Scott Stephenson called me a couple hours after the game and we got to talking. I told him that he played hard and TCU was a solid team. He said that he didn't want to talk about TCU anymore. He simply said this.


"Bring on Toledo."


That's the attitude that we all need to have. Bring on Toledo. There's no reason not to be optimistic about next season. We virtually have our entire offense coming back. Our defense is losing some starters but we get to look forward to seeing Tyrone McKenzie and who knows how scary Jason Berryman is going to be next season. We have a solid recruiting class and with the addition of a few missing pieces it could be one of the best in the Mac era.


Next year instead of looking at the schedule and thinking, "dang we have to play at Oklahoma and at Texas," think, "sweet we get a chance to upset both of those teams on the road." Not to mention those will be some sick road trips.


Call me unrealistic. Call me pathetic. But I know what I'm thinking right now. I'm not thinking about DeAndre Jackson not picking up the fumble and running at Nebraska. I'm not thinking about Jason Harris coughing up the football against Baylor. I'm not even thinking about the missed field goals during crunch time, I'm thinking about one thing and one thing only.


Bring on Toledo.

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