I'm guessing you've never heard of Dennis Dodd because there is not really a reason to know his name. He's a smarmy college football columnist on CBS's "sportsline" website.
Someone pointed out to me today that he had some choice things to say about Iowa State in his Big East preview. But, Iowa State is in the formidable Big XII not the Big East(1), why would he write about the Cyclones in that article?
The connection is Dan McCarney. Coach 'Mac', our former head football coach who resigned (under pressure) last season after twelve of the most successful years ever for the Cyclones, is now the defensive line coach for the University of South Florida Bulls (of the Big East, most recently(2)).
Dodd's premise is that USF is a dark horse candidate to win the conference. I agree. Coach Mac is one of the reasons, I agree with that, too. USF is extremely fortunate to have Mac (and our starting MLB Tyrone McKenzie, who transferred without penalty), who is most likely there because he already owned a vacation home in Tampa (not that it's a bad gig, after all the Big East has a BCS job title with a MAC resume).
Anyway, here's what Dodd had to say in describing Mac:
-Dan McCarney. Leavitt is tickled about his new defensive line coach. McCarney led Iowa State for 12 seasons. More impressive: McCarney lasted 12 seasons at Iowa State. No school in I-A has gone as long without winning a conference title -- 96 years. That's back to the Cyclones' 1911 Missouri Valley co-championship.
Back to Mac. Somehow in those dozen years he was able to 1) win nine games in 2000; 2) almost beat Florida State in 2002; and 3) get the Cyclones within a missed field goal of the Big 12 North title in both 2004 and 2005. McCarney was fired after last season but here's the thing: That's as good as it gets at Iowa State, folks.
McCarney can sit on his deck every night with a cigar and a drink and thank God he got out of Ames with his career intact. How hard can it be working with the nation's No. 25 defense? Recruit to that league-leading weather? Become the next big thing in Florida? Jimmy, Danny and Co. are coming for you, Bobby. But first, the Big East.
I don't often let sportswriters goad me into sending in feedback (that is their job, BTW, write something to provoke enough emotion to get people to go out of their way to prove they actually read it - that has to show the editor at bonus time) but I'm feeling a bit cheeky(3) on a rainy Monday evening, so I sent this in:
I'm not sure why its necessary to run down Iowa State in attempt to praise Dan McCarney.
I believe that Dan would disagree with your insolent comments in the latter two paragraphs describing his tenure as the Cyclone HC, if not be insulted.
I'm sure that somewhere he's comforted that you believe that list of his accomplishments, framed as D-1A mediocre achievement, is a key reason that USF has a dark horse chance at a conference title this year.
By all accounts, Dan is a tremendous person and took ISU to great lengths in his time in Ames. I'm sure he'll do well at USF and get another chance to lead a program - I only hope that you don't feel the need to make comments like this to Bulls' fans if his record is only "as good as it gets" for South Florida.
You're probably wondering what this bloke said about ISU in his preview of the Big 12 (the conference that we play in, in case you were confused by the preceeding).
6. Iowa State: Lackluster recruiting class. Little buzz. A lot of folks thought Gene Chizik chose the wrong program to kick off his head-coaching career.
Thanks for the press, Denny. By the way, the "6" is the place that we'll finish in the division (out of 6). A lot of folks (including Gene Chizik) think he chose the right program, too.
I'm curious how Mr. Dodd would rank the Cyclones this year if McCarney was still at the helm? Within a missed field goal of "buzz"? Almost beat Kent State? Geesh.
We're within about ten days of kickoff to the 2007 season and I'm personally looking forward to see "how good it can get at Iowa State".
(1)You say to yourself (2)They tend to move around (3) Did I really type "cheeky"? (4)Links are included so that I can recall Dodd's predictions in the event that by some long shot the Cyclones enjoy some success in the next twelve seasons.