Two words: move on.
Two more words: right now.
Please allow this newcomer to the Cyclone Nation to offer all of you native sons and daughters this unsolicited advice. And if you truly want to support your football program, you'll heed it.
Don't call Dan McCarney's radio show this week and sympathize with him about questionable officiating and how proud you are of how the Cyclones played. He already knows that because just about every member of the Cyclone Nation was at Arrowhead Stadium Saturday night giving his football team a standing ovation when it was over.
Don't console each other on the Cyclone Nation Online Community message board – or anywhere else for that matter – this week. Trust me when I tell you the players and coaches read that stuff and don't need the constant reminders.
Stop thanking Florida State fans and legions from other Big 12 member schools for their class in giving props to the Cyclones. That's patronizing, and your football program deserves better than that. Iowa State doesn't need to measure itself by near misses anymore.
Finally, hang up on your Hawkeye fans when they call to offer their congratulations for a game well-played and intimate just how "frightened" they are about September 14th. That's phony-baloney. It shouldn't take a loss to level some reality on the Hawkeye Nation. If four straight losses haven't done that by now, nothing will.
That doesn't mean many Iowa fans aren't sincere in their well-wishes and don't sincerely recognize just what an Iowa State win would've met for our short-on-respect state. In fact, I have it from a good source the ringmaster of the Hawkeye Nation himself (not to mention any names, Jon Miller) happened to be in attendance Saturday night and rooting very hard for ISU.
All of this back-slapping and focusing on what might have been isn't doing the guys who will be making their home debut in a new Jack Trice Stadium this weekend any favors. They need to move on, and it will be tough enough thanks to we in the media without you fans, their base of support, piling on as well.
Trust me because I speak from experience. (Insert Michigan reference here)
In October of 1990, my beloved Michigan Wolverines were #1 in the nation and hosting in-state rival Michigan State. Down by one with just seconds left, Michigan elected to go for the win, instead of a tie, with a two-point conversion. An MSU defensive back tackled Desmond Howard in the end zone for an obvious pass interference, but the official kept his hanky in his pocket. No call, and Michigan loses a heart-breaker.
It was such poor judgement, that during the next week the Big Ten actually issued a letter of apology. The Wolverine Nation was beset by grief. The team never recovered and lost at home the next to week to Iowa.
So, you're asking, what does this trip down Deacer's memory lane have to do with the cardinal and gold?
Listen, your team already has the right mind-set. I stood on the field after the game and tried to scan the faces of each Cyclone as he left the field. No one was smiling. No one expressed contentment. No one was pleased with falling short.
Every one of those guys looked spent, disgusted, and disappointed. That is a good omen for the remainder of a season that still has 12 games left; including Big 12 play and the annual grudge match with Iowa.
The coaches were just as resolute. I overheard McCarney imploring his assistants to get the players off the field before any sort of glee set in. I stood outside the locker room after the game and overheard an "animated" McCarney discuss this very topic with the team, as well as with the media in the post-game press conference.
To be the man, you have to beat the man. And at some point this season the Cyclones will do just that. That learning curve accelerates when the response to what happened against the Seminoles is disdain as opposed to a sense of accomplishment.
You fans should be demanding wins -- not close calls -- of this magnitude from your team. If you do, I believe they will respond to that kind of positive pressure in kind.
These guys still have a lot to play for, and that's what you fans should be reminding them of. When the fellas in the all red jerseys come out of the locker room for the home-opener against lowly Kansas, the city of Ames should be shaking with thunderous applause.
There's still an entire season left to play. The coaches know it. The players know it. Now you fans need to show it. It starts Saturday.
P.S…If I'd told you beforehand that Florida State would win the turnover battle, the time of possession battle, and would gain 239 yards rushing would you have expected the final outcome to be close? That's what I thought.
(Steve Deace can be heard every Monday-Friday on from 4-7 p.m. every Monday-Friday on 1460 KXNO starting September 3rd)