Monday (Tuesday) Musings

Our lazy editor-in-chief would like to plead for the forgiveness of the Cyclone Nation for his column being a day late. He decided to take the advice of his union rep at the United Internet Journalists Local 666 and take Labor Day off.

One word best sums up Iowa State's 45-3 demolition of lowly Kansas on Saturday.

Workmanlike.

The Cyclones clobbered one of their Big 12 rivals by 42 points on Saturday. However, one could make the argument they still didn't play as well against the Jayhawks as they did against 5th-ranked Florida State in a losing effort.

Reason number 40,714 these aren't your father's (or even older brother's) Cyclones: Iowa State is going to possess first place in the Big 12 North until at least September 28th, but hardly anyone inside the Jacobson Building came away with the feeling that this was an award-winning effort.

Internally, the program has set the bar high for 2002. That means another bowl game. That means another victory over Iowa. That means being ranked in the top 25. That means challenging for the Big 12 North title.

The first two are certainly within the realm of possibility. It's the last two items in the above paragraph that probably has fans in Iowa City and Lincoln laughing at its presumptiveness.

But is too premature to start talking about a ranked Iowa State team taking on the elite of the Big 12 North like Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas State?

Let's start with the rankings. It's my objective opinion that Iowa State deserves to be ranked in this week's poll. LSU merits no top 25 consideration after Sunday's lackadaisical effort at Virginia Tech. South Carolina was hardly impressive in holding off New Mexico State at home. Penn State seems to be re-emerging somewhat, but does anyone really believe they have better material (to borrow Beano Cook's term) than does Iowa State? The debut of the Tyrone Willingham era at Notre Dame was certainly impressive, but the Maryland team they faced was without All-America tailback Bruce Perry and breaking in a new starting quarterback.

The Cyclones deserve to be mentioned in the same breath with each one of those teams. Besides, neither LSU, South Carolina, Penn State, or Notre Dame have anything close to the playmaker at quarterback Seneca Wallace is.

Now that we've settled that argument, let's move onto the so-called "elite" of the Big 12 North Division.

Nebraska is averaging 39.2 points per game so far this season. Iowa State is averaging 38. Nebraska has thrown for a combined 147 yards. Iowa State is averaging 282 yards passing per game. Nebraska is averaging 241 yards per game rushing. Iowa State averages 203.5. Nebraska's defense is allowing 13 points per game. Iowa State's allows 17. Nebraska has played Arizona State and Troy State. Iowa State has played Florida State and Kansas.

Those numbers look pretty comparable to me. Oh, don't forget that Eric Crouch is playing quarterback at Nebraska anymore.

Kansas State finally demonstrated some offensive balance (172 yards passing and 240 yards rushing) in its 48-3 crushing of Western Kentucky. Still, it's hard to gauge just how much the Wildcats have rebounded from last season's 6-6 disappointment against the Division I-AA Hilltoppers.

Colorado hardly looked like the defending conference champion against Colorado State. Still, slow starts are nothing new to the Buffaloes under Gary Barnett and past history indicates they'll finish strong.

Suddenly, Iowa State doesn't seem so out of place with the upper echelon, does it?

With a little bit of help, there's a reasonable chance both Iowa and Iowa State could be ranked in the top 25 two weeks from now when they meet at Kinnick Stadium. Please root for the Hawkeyes this weekend at Miami (Ohio). It would be great for our state to get that kind of recognition.

One thing I will be adding to this space each week is what my ballot would look like if I had a vote in the AP poll. Below is my top 25 for this week:

Team                                     Record             Last week

1) Texas                                 1-0                   1

2) Miami, Fla.                          1-0                   2

3) Washington State                1-0                   4

4) Georgia                              1-0                   5

5) Oklahoma                           1-0                   6

6) Tennessee                          1-0                   7

7) Michigan State                    1-0                   9

8) Southern California             1-0                   11

9) Florida State                       2-0                  3

10) Florida                             1-0                   12

11) Texas A&M                       1-0                   13

12) Oregon                             1-0                  14

13) Michigan                           1-0                  15

14) Ohio State             &n


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