Putting Lipstick on a Pig

CN loves Iowa State fans so much, we give them their own columns. Check out what Russ from Winterset had to say about last week's loss to Texas Tech in this week's version of Putting Lipstick on a Pig, right here at CN.



OK, now that THAT'S out of the way, let's talk about ISU football.  Before the season started, I thought ISU football could put a serviceable product on the field.  Not a Steak DeBurgo dinner at The Broiler with free dessert, but at least a DaVinci's Cheese Steak Hoagie (extra cheese, extra meat with the cheese cooked into the meat, thank you very much).  I figured we'd start out slow, but get up to speed by the Iowa game, Texas at the latest.  I had us pegged for somewhere between 7-5 and 10-2 (IF everything came together & we got some lucky bounces).  Right now, we're 3-5 and need to win out to get to my bottom end 7-5 pick.  If that happens, you can color me tickled, but reality says that we've got to show some intestinal fortitude before I'm going to bet the farm on any of the remaining four games.  To continue the food analogy I started earlier, we're nowhere near that Cheese Steak Hoagie right now, and we're not even an old box of Hamburger Helper.  Hell, what they're serving right now at Jack Trice Stadium isn't even Panburger Partner.  It's Ramen Noodles.  Not the "good" ones that cost you upwards of $0.45 each, but the cheap ones you get at the Dollar General Store in big shrinkwrapped bundles of 10 for $1.00 (plus tax, of course).  If you're asking "where's the meat in that meal, CYlent?", then join the freakin' club.  I've been looking for the meat in this entrée for the last month or so. 


This week's game started out with appropriately gloomy weather.  My wife Janis was helping out with a food safety short course at the ISU meat lab last week, so we spent the night Friday at the Gateway.  I always enjoy staying there, and this time was no exception.  Our bus owner, Hogfarmer, had to do Navy Reserve drill this weekend, so my bro-in-law Hooter was the "busmaster" for this game.  Luckily, The Fire Marshall came down from Minnesota to drive the bus.  TFM actually drove a school bus route (as a substitute) during his college internship, so we let him take the wheel.  Goldilocks also appeared this week, along with most of "The Young Guns", and my wife and sister-in-law also braved the chilly rain to catch the Homecoming game.  We were a little late getting to the lots, but there were still spaces left at the grass lot SE of the stadium when we pulled up; unfortunately, the security guy working the gate told us that several buses/RV's were already stuck in the mud, and "ISU isn't responsible for pulling your a$$ out if you get stuck".  We thought about it for a few seconds, and decided to pull onto Elwood to see if we could find another lot to the North.  We ended up parking in the gravel-surfaced lot just East of the Jacobsen Building across Elwood at about 10:30, and I made calls to my short list of CN buddies to notify them of the bus' relocation.  Since Bobby Trippe's not waterproof (we'd rather invest our money in scotch than scotchgarding a stuffed boar's head), he spent this game INSIDE the bus.  Hooter & I McGyvered up a mount to hang him on the side of the bus' bathroom, where he could be seen by close passers-by.


We had a nice assortment of sausages for this game, along with my sister-in-law's layered taco dip and ham-wrapped pickle slices (with cream cheese).  Many assorted chips/crackers and adult fermented beverages were also consumed during the day's activities, including several bottles of Boone's Farm.  At least once every season, we find Boone's Farm on sale at the Hy-Vee East of the DOT Offices for about a dollar a bottle.  Needless to say, we bought an entire cart full of them while they were on sale, and bring several to every home game.  In true "Carl Spackler" form, we usually grab a bottle every half hour or so during our tailgates, unscrew the cap, throw it away, and start passing it around the grill with the requisite "Cannonball!  Cannonball Coming Through!" quotes.


Maybe it was cold & we were bored, or maybe the Boone's Farm was kicking in, but we started a project involving the scientific observation on the ignition of snack food on a charcoal grill.  I can tell you two things about this experiment:  When you match up a Bugle, a Frito, a Corn Chex, a Crunchy Cheeto and a Goldfish Cracker side by side on the grill rack, there's not much difference in the time it takes for each of them to catch fire; however, the fire produced by the Frito is disturbingly hot and smoky.  Think "burning pile of tractor tires" here.  Geez, we put this stuff in our bodies?  Ewwww.


My wife wanted to catch the National Anthem and kickoff, so we left the tailgate at about 2:00 and made our way to the seats.  Section G is becoming a second family to me, and the guy behind us is pretty cool.  He wasn't there for the Nebraska game, but he explained that his son decided to get married on that weekend.  We expressed surprise that an ISU alumnus could make this mistake, but we reassured him that he really didn't miss much by passing on that game.  He saw most of the game on TV, so he agreed wholeheartedly with our assessment. 


The game?  That's been covered to death already, but here are a few thoughts:


  1. Meyer's running scared right now.  Right or wrong, he's been hit more than Tina Turner (OK, upon further review, maybe that's wrong.  Imagine "a Piñata" instead if you're offended by that statement) during his career at ISU.  He's simply chucking it up before the truck flattens him.  Those two interceptions should have been five or six.  Several passes went through the fingertips of Texas Tech linebackers and safeties during the second half of this game.  Whatever's got him spooked, I hope our coaching staff finds a way to get him over this phase.
  2. Stevie Hicks is running the ball well, when he's in the game.  And when we give him the ball.  And when we BLOCK for him.  An average of 4.9 yards is NOT TOO SHABBY in my book.  Scales tries hard, God Bless Him, but he doesn't have the bulk to go toe to toe with the big boys, and he's not getting big enough holes to exploit his quickness right now.  Meyer's running isn't bad, but isn't he taking enough punishment with all the sacks already?  Enough with the QB running plays.  We've got running backs.  Use them.
  3. Milan Moses has testicles large enough to haul in a dump truck.  This kid's got Krohn's disease, and he's still out there playing Division 1 football.  I love seeing a Moses return kicks for ISU again.  It brings a warm glow to me, which unlike letting my bladder go because I'm too lazy to stand in line for the bathrooms, doesn't turn into a smelly, icy stain on my pants.
  4. Brandtner was our only consistent deep threat last weekend.  I don't know how far he moved the chains on his two punts that were fumbled by Texas Tech returners, but considering that he averaged 39.3; let's say it was 79 yards.  Add in his 15 yard penalty for "acting" errrrr "roughing the kicker", and he's darn near got a 100-yard game under his belt.  Can you say "Offensive Co-MVP"?  Sure, I knew you could.
  5. The other "Offensive Co-MVP" for this game?  Shaggy.  FIFTY TWO yards.  Fifty two.  That's 2.737 times longer than an extra point, and sets a new career high for the lad from Lincoln High School.  Good for him.  I don't want to see his performance overshadowed by the giant steaming turd that this game became for the Cyclone fan base.  Both his field goals and the two extra points we allowed him to kick were as straight as a Tiger Woods drive.  Why don't we give him more chances to kick?  Oh yeah, because our offense sucks, our young defense let's the opponents get a spring game-style fourteen point lead on us at the beginning of each game, and we're playing in "full blown panic mode" for the rest of the game. 
  6. Why would you go for two early in the third quarter?  If you make it, you're merely tied, but if you miss it, you risk losing your momentum.  Was it a good call?  Sure, it was a great call……if your name is Custer.  Take the sure points unless you're trying to force overtime or take the lead. 
  7. The announced attendance was over 44,000 people.  Oh, my bad… that was the announced "ticket sales".  Several people must have decided to stay in the lots and keep drinking instead of going to the game, and the exodus from the stadium after the second interception was almost "Hawkeye-esque" in its performance.  Hats off to the fan base for showing up on a miserable day.  I'd better give them kudos now, because they might not be there to thank in two weeks when Kansas comes to town.
  8. Put our offensive output in perspective.  We got 146 yards through the air and 75 yards on the ground.  By comparison, Texas Tech GAVE us 129 yards of penalties, and Brandtner's punts fumbled by Texas Tech's receivers accounted for approximately 79 yards of forward movement for Iowa State.  Considering that the passing yardage was accompanied by two interceptions that quickly became Red Raider touchdowns, our best plays of the game happened when the RED Raiders played like the OAKLAND Raiders, and when Brandtner trotted out onto the field.


Our group had plans earlier this year to make a roadie down to the KSU game next weekend.  I've been to Manhattan for an ISU football game in '96 (when Troy Davis went over 2000 for the SECOND TIME and still didn't win the  Heisman – Me?  Bitter?  Maybe.), but I'd love to go down and see an ISU win for a change.  Well, maybe not this year.  The last thing we need is for the bus to spring a coolant leak or throw a rod out in the middle of  Kansas.  If we win the game, I MIGHT be able to see the positive there, but I'm not willing to take that chance.  We'll be going up to Osage to see some old friends next weekend.  I'll still listen to the game, but I'm not going to make the roadie.  Chris isn't paying me enough to take that punishment (I think CN's entire "talent" budget goes to keep Blum happy, that "W" stealing Waukee-vian.  )


We're not going to burn our tickets, but we did decide that we'll have to "make our own fun" for the rest of the season.  We always refer to the last game of the year as "The Extravaganza".  It's a leftover from the bad old days when all our out-of-town buddies would show up for the last game of the season & get $3 tickets after all hope had been ground into paste during October & September.  Déjà vu, eh?  We've been joking for several years about making this one into a "Survivor tailgate", with a giant pot filled with cheap food like ramen noodles being spooned out into our bowls like gruel in a Dickens novel.  I offered to go out and shoot several squirrels and rabbits between now and then to provide some protein in the stew, but we'll see if the others have the cojones to add them to the mix. 


Discussions about bloodletting among the coaches are premature, but will be entertained after November 18.  Let's just say that the old "Win or Lose, We Still Booze" motto is going to be making a resurgence on campus this fall.


Go Cyclones, and I'll see you in the public lots, Clone Fans.  I'll be the one carrying the bottle of Boone's Farm Melon Ball and drunkenly shouting over & over again……….."Was it OVER when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?  Hell No!  And it's not over now!"  Hey, a guy's gotta have a hobby, right?

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