Straight Shots from Welch Ave.

The UNI Panthers are on the horizon for the Iowa State football team and as always, CN's publisher Chris Williams has an opinion on the upcoming game. Find out what he thinks about the game right here in this week's edition of "Straight Shots From Welch Ave."

Expect to Roll on Saturday


Iowa State fans should expect a big win against UNI on Saturday night. PERIOD. That's no shot at the Panthers or division 1AA for that matter. I have nothing but respect for that program and I hope they win every other game this season, but my point is this simple.


If Iowa State's program is where we think it's at, or more importantly where we want it to be, D1AA teams should not be coming into Jack Trice Stadium and competing.


On Monday, during Dan McCarney's weekly press conference, the coach was eager to point out all of the division one teams that have dropped home games to the little guys already this season. Of course Mac is going to point those stats out, that's his job. His job is to get his team ready for every opponent, no matter what class they are in. Here is the reality of the situation.


Colorado lost the first game in the Dan Hawkins ear to Montana State by a score of 10-19. Ouch.


Northwestern got trounced by New Hampshire by an embarrassing score of 34-17 at home.


Richmond beat Duke 13-0.


Southern Illinois beat a traditionally awful Indiana squad.


There are a few others but look at the teams that I pointed out. They both have a brand new coach and are in a major rebuilding mode, and the other two programs are an annually much less than mediocre.


Iowa State should not be and is not on the level of those teams. Dan McCarney has built a program here at Iowa State. It's not a one year wonder; it's a legit college football program with talent that can beat anybody on any given day.


It's flat out inexcusable for UNI to come in here on Saturday and give Iowa State a game. UNI is a solid football team, a solid D1AA football team. There is a huge difference, no matter how naive we want to be.


Now I'm not saying that UNI is a joke and that we should all start looking ahead to Nebraska. Coach Mac was quick to point out on Saturday that UNI has had plenty of success in Ames in the past.


"They've had a lot of celebrations in our end-zone down here. We know the importance of this game. We need to get a win and we need to look good doing it," McCarney said on Monday.


That's a solid point, but that is in the PAST. We all talk about how much the program has come since Mac got here, which it has. Where Mac has gotten this program to, is way above having problems with UNI.


In the end, this game is a golden opportunity for the Iowa State offense to gain some much needed swagger heading into the Nebraska game. UNI's defense is ranked 61st in 1AA. They haven't seen anything close to the likes of Todd Blythe, Bret Meyer and the mammoth offensive line that Iowa State has. This is a perfect time for this offense to explode.


Or, this is a perfect sandwich game that could give the Clones and their 111th ranked pass defense one heck of a game.


Looking Ahead


When you get right down to it, to realistic Cyclone fans, this season is right on track. Iowa was a winnable game; in fact the Cones were one quarter away from pulling off the upset. But let's be frank, nobody thought the Clones would go on the road to beat Texas. 2-2 is exactly where most people thought this team would be at this time.


UNI is on the horizon, and then, in arguably one of the biggest games in the history of this program, the rivals to the west will invade Jack Trice Stadium on an ABC night game. Are you excited yet?


I'll make a prediction right now. The Iowa State offense will put up a ton of points on Saturday night against UNI. They showed signs of greatness against Texas. If they can put it together, 50 points CAN be scored against the Panthers. Now notice that I said can, and not would.


If that happens, and the offense really gets some confidence, watch out Nebraska. If we see the same offense that we've seen in the previous four weeks, stomachs will be a little less settled on Oct. 7.


One thing is for sure and that is if the 111th ranked pass defense doesn't get better fast, Clone fans could be in store for some long games against Nebraska (26th ranked passing offense), Oklahoma (32nd ranked pass offense) and oh yeah, a guy named Mike Leach and Texas Tech as well (3rd ranked pass offense).


Good News on the Horizon


There is a lot of good news surround the next couple of weeks. The first bit is that traditionally, when Iowa State plays UNI, it's the first game of the season. The rust factor plays into things and luckily for the Clones this season; they've already seen two of the top 15 teams in the country. Rust will not be a factor and the atmosphere will be amazing.


The other tidbit of good news has to do with the secondary and the possible return of red-shirt freshman James Smith. Nobody other than the coaches and the players knows how good he actually is, but he was listed as a starter before he went down.


In closing, there is a lot of season left. There is a lot to play for and this team hasn't shown us one legit reason why this year can't, be one of the best season's in Iowa State history.



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