The Ames Tribune's Bobby La Gesse wrote a column this weekend entitled: "Losing culture around football team must go" which compared the Cyclones' football woes to those of baseball's Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox (pre-2007).
I just had the chance to read Bobby's column and his basic premise is that the Iowa State program (players, staff, and fans) have been hit in the gut so many times in their quest for success that they now expect failure in these situations rather than assume that things will work out for the better.
To quote Bobby:
Learning how to win is one of the most important concepts for a team to master. I don’t think it can be overstated. And as the Cyclones have shown its fans for the last two seasons, it can be tough to acquire.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
The Red Sox used to be the American League version of the Cubs. But in 2004, they won the World Series, overcame the expectation of failure, and a funny thing happened: the tension around the club was lifted, and Boston went on to win another World Series in 2007.
As much as I dislike Boston's sports (1), it's a great turnaround model for Iowa State to embrace (we have a start, already playing the controversial Sweet Caroline borrowed from the Red Sox).
Bobby's column was written prior to Iowa State's convincing victory over Baylor on Saturday (which, for the record, still featured 3 missed field goals). Wins over this program are important because the Cyclones don't want the one team that is perceived to be below them in conference prestige to leap frog them (as has happened recently with KU and Mizzou).
Equally important in this win is the fact that the fans were having a great time throughout the game. You could see it in the student section, where a weird almost snowball fight-like event spontaneously took place as the students knotted up freebie touchdown towels and threw them from section-to-section in something that seemed almost choreographed. Further, the entire stadium took part in "the wave" which went around and around Jack Trice at least five times. Personally, I had so much fun that I even enjoyed the marching band's half-time performance (marching bands are not my thing, for sure) which ended with the entire band doing Beyonce's Single Ladies dance.
So, I agree with Bobby's idea that the Cyclones need to bring a winning culture to their football program and, hopefully as they do that, we'll have more Saturday's in Jack Trice Stadium where the enjoyment of the fans is so visible.
(1) Basically because they've found a way to utilize Minnesota's pro teams as a farm system in almost every sport.