Monday Musings

CN's editor-in-chief uses his weekly word to discuss the impact he believes the Cy-Hawk rivalry has on in-state recruiting. That's why the Hawkeye Nation is nervous about the potential for a fifth consecutive Iowa State victory in the series.

The charade ended just mere moments after Iowa State's 58-6 whipping of Division I-AA Tennessee Tech before 40,000-plus fans at Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday night.

Coach Dan McCarney admitted the staff had already broken down the Iowa-Akron game film. You mean they didn't spend five solid days of preparation on the mighty Golden Eagles? You mean they didn't force the entire squad to watch the Rutgers-Villanova tape from a week ago just to make them aware of what can happen to you when you overlook a foe?

I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

Sarcasm aside, this is exactly what the Tennessee Tech game was scheduled for (along with some nice cash to fund those impressive facilities upgrades for the athletic department). This game was intended to be a scrimmage, nothing more and nothing less, in preparation for the Cardinal-and Gold's evening assault upon Kinnick Stadium next weekend over in Iowa City.

But a funny thing has happened on the way to our state's annual gridiron civil war. You don't sense the urgency from the Iowa State side regarding this game that was so prevalent the past few seasons. Maybe four straight wins will do that for you?

Not that I'm saying the Cyclones are over-confident or even complacent where Iowa is concerned. It's more like a quiet confidence that recognizes this is a big game. However, it's not going to make-or-break their season any longer. They know they can play with the big boys now and they have loftier goals that not even a fifth straight expression of their in-state dominance will satisfy.

In short, the Cyclones believe they have arrived.

That same urgency now resides with our neighbors to the east. Kirk Ferentz looks to me to have an emerging Big Ten program capable of challenging for one of the Big Ten's elite bowl bids this season. However, Captain Kirk has never defeated his old friend Mac and the impact of having a class of high school football players in the state of Iowa graduate last spring without having ever witnessed the Hawkeyes defeating Iowa State on the football field is taking its recruiting toll in-state.

McCarney and the staff have already secured the commitments of eight native sons for the 2003 recruiting class. One of those players is Aaron Brant – considered the state's top prospect by noted recruiting guru Tom Lemming – who hails from Dubuque; which is right smack dab in the middle of the Hawkeye Nation. Cyclone Nation was the first to report that Mason City's John Tjaden joined the fold just this weekend. ISU also is the probable leader for standout Indianola wide receiver Todd Blythe as well.

Plus, Taylor Schrage – this year's prize catch from the outstanding program at Aplington-Parkersburg, which has long been considered a feeder school for the Hawkeyes – ranks the Cyclones as even right now with Iowa and Kansas State.

Signatures on letters-of-intent next February from Blythe and Schrage would mean Iowa State signed nine of the top 10 in-state recruits in this class according to CLONED, who penned our recruiting rankings in the upcoming first issue of Cyclone Nation Magazine.

All of this has your neighbors to the east worried. They're not so much worried about this all of a sudden becoming the Cyclone State as much as they are worried that Iowa State football is here to stay, which makes Ferentz's job of recapturing Hayden Fry's golden era more difficult. Why? Because there isn't enough high school talent in our state to replenish two upper-echelon programs consistently.

Sure, we can have more seasons like we had last year with both teams qualifying for non-major bowl bids. And that sure was a lot of fun, wasn't it? However, both the Hawkeye and Cyclone Nations, as do Ferentz and McCarney, have higher aspirations. And that's where the in-state recruiting battle comes into play.

One of these programs will take the next step and become a consistent first-division finisher in their respective leagues. The other will likely stay right where they are.

Which one will it be? Saturday night could go a long way towards deciding that.

Basketball Rumor Mill

One of the necessary evils in doing something like Cyclone Nation is the constant due diligence required in verifying and/or dispelling the rumors which are pervasive on Internet message boards like our very own. Generally, I have a rule of three when it comes to anything in life. In this case, we here at Cyclone Nation will not bug our well-placed sources within the athletic department with rumors until they show somewhere three times. Therefore, let me reiterate here what I posted on the main message board shortly before Saturday's game.

Since at least three people had either asked me via e-mail or on the message board about rumors surrounding possible NCAA violations where the recruiting of Jerome Harper is concerned, I decided to pester a high-ranking official within the athletic department for comment prior to the game Saturday night. He told me point-blank last night "as God is my witness I've heard nothing about there being anything to that."

Hopefully, that settles that. However, this same official wasn't exactly optimistic that Harper was going to make it into school.

Weekly Top 25

If I had a voice in the AP Top 25, here's how I would've voted this week:

1. Miami, Fla. (2-0)

Last week: 2

This week: at Temple

2. Texas (1-0)

Last week: 1

This week: at North Carolina

3. Washington State (2-0)

Last week: 3

This week: at Ohio State

4. Georgia (1-0)

Last week: 4

This week: at South Carolina

5. Oklahoma (2-0)

Last week: 5

This week: UTEP

6. Tennessee (2-0)

Last week: 6

This week: idle

7. Michigan (2-0)

Last week: 13

This week: at Notre Dame

8. Southern California (1-0)

Last week: 8

This week: at Colorado

9. Florida State (2-0)

Last week: 9

This week: at Maryland

10. Michigan State (2-0)

Last week: 7

This week: California

11. Ohio State (2-0)

Last week: 14

This week: Washington State

12. Texas A&M (2-0)

Last week: 11

This week: idle

13. Oregon (2-0)

Last week: 12

This week: Idaho

14. Nebraska (3-0)

Last week: 15

This week: at Penn State

15. Virginia Tech (2-0)

Last week: 17

This week: Marshall

16. Florida (1-1)

Last week: 10

This week: Ohio

17. Marshall (1-0)

Last week: 18

This week: at Virginia Tech

18. Notre Dame (2-0)

Last week: NR

This week: Michigan

19. Colorado State (2-1)

Last week: 16

This week: Louisville

20. Colorado (1-1)

Last week: 19

This week: Southern California

21. Washington (1-1)

Last week: 20

This week: idle

22. Boston College (2-0)

Last week: 22

This week: idle

23. Kansas State (2-0)

Last week: 21

This week: Eastern Illinois

24. Utah (2-0)

Last week: 24

This week: at Arizona

25. Iowa State (2-1)

Last week: 25

This week: at Iowa

Dropped out: #23 Auburn (1-1)

Honorable Mention: #26 Wisconsin (3-0); #27 N.C. State (3-0); #28 Penn State (1-0); #29 Auburn (1-1); #30 UCLA (1-0).

(Steve Deace can be heard in central Iowa every Monday-Friday from 4-7 p.m. on 1460-KXNO, the flagship for the Cyclone Radio Network)


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