Khus the Red
There is a lot to say about what went wrong, but it is getting tiresome saying the same thing. Iowa State beat Nebraska. Iowa !$%#@&*^ State. Gone are the days of a three-loss total signifying a throw-away year because we wouldn't be playing for the National Championship. Now we'll be fighting for that sixth win, just to get bowl-eligible. And we wondered why this one wasn’t on television.
Throw out the comparisons to the other members of the six-car pileup that is the Big XII North. Ignore the relativistic discussions of “But we beat Team X, who killed Team Y, who in turn gave Team Z a good run for three quarters.” This team has apparently hit its peak, and that peak is one of severely painful inconsistency and what has become a sickeningly predictable tendency for letdowns.
How do diagnose this season? Imagine telling your mechanic that earlier this fall your car ran well right out of the garage but inexplicably ran out of gas before reaching the destination, and it had a tendency to throw critical parts of itself into the ditch. Then it began to sputter on the highway and seemed terrified of other vehicles, especially when you were driving out of state. Then you discovered that it ran well in low gear, and while it wasn’t giving any Ferraris a run, at least it got you from point A to point B well enough until you could overhaul the motor next year. And then just when you were going on a nice, leisurely road trip that should have offered few speed bumps last Saturday, you go out to the garage to find the whole fricking thing in pieces, hemorrhaging vital fluids and puking gaskets right there on the concrete.
Any reasonable mechanic would place the impact wrench back in the toolbox, reach for the phone and dial the local exorcist. This Red one is about to suggest the same for a football team that can’t seem to stay between the ditches. We can talk about transition years and trade the same clichés. We can talk about coaching game plan, and the conversation becomes interesting. We can talk talent level, and it would be a lengthy conversation. Or, we can speak at length about discipline and intensity, and the expletives will fly.
Judging by the previous two games, it appeared the coaches had mothballed much of the aerial chapters of the WCO playbook in an attempt to grind out the games with Pork Chop and Man-Child. To revert to an ineffective passing attack at this point in the season is difficult to: 1) understand; 2) explain; 3) defend; 4) stomach. In a perfect transition-season world, this would have been the fine-tuning game before staging a challenge to the other red in the south. Not so, not now, not this November. Expecting a lot is to be expected in the Redlands, yet looking at how unexpectedly abysmal our opponents have been this year, a three-, two- or fewer-loss season was possible. This season has been a missed opportunity at the least. Now instead of being hopeful of a postseason ranking, we are instead quite thankful we’re not in the South.
I would like to make a comment along the lines of, “If ISU can smack Nebraska around, anything is possible in Norman.” I won’t. It pains this Red one to say it, but Oklahoma is going to grab Nebraska by the shoulder pads and shove us facemask-first into the ground. The Sooners have trouble defending the pass, but that’s okay, because we have trouble completing the pass. Pork Chop still will not be full speed by Saturday, and while Man-Child is a tremendous frosh, he can’t carry a W out of Norman shouldering the load by himself. Playing the spoiler to OU’s title run is possible but about as likely as the sun going supernova a few billion years early. In both cases it sure would look neat, but all life as we know it would cease.
A likely loss this weekend will even the numbers at 5-5, but worse, will provide CU with enough blood in the water to whip themselves into their normal Nebraska Game frenzy. They would love nothing more than to end NU’s bowl game streak. I would rather they not have the chance.
Oft expectation fails, and
most oft there
Where most it promises; and oft it hits
Where hope is coldest, and despair most fits. Speak, then.