I have a hard time mocking Iowa State.
Yes, I could derisively scorn the devolving hairstyle of the Cyclones’ fashion-challenged quarterback, Jacob ‘Trailer” Park, whose misbegotten, curly, side-shaved mullet is straight out of a really bad Nicholas Cage direct-to-video movie. I could note how Park’s Duck-Dynasty-on-meth doo inadvertently makes Mike Gundy look as fashionable as David Bowie.
I could make mullet jokes, but that would be beneath me, so I won’t.
I could talk about the Cyclones’ corn-fed Midwestern cow-tipping mentality – people who are excited to finally get them fancy, new-fangled flip phones where you can talk to all the far away peoples without having to put a quarter in the slot. I could repeat a joke I heard from an Iowa Hawkeye fan: Why do Iowa State grads keep their diplomas on their dashboards? So they can park in handicap spaces.
But those would just be cheap, modified redneck jokes, and I really don’t need to lower myself in that fashion.
The truth is, I have never in all my travels met a drunken reprobate Cyclones fan. You know, the intoxicated-off-their-Aggie loudmouth Aggie-hole who spills beer on your shoe, screams inappropriate tactical advice to the players, curses relentlessly and unimaginatively even though there are children within earshot, and has no basic understanding of the rules of defensive pass interference. I’m sure Iowa State has it’s own version of this creature; I just haven’t met one yet.
Drunken reprobate Oklahoma fans? You can’t swing a dead Switzer without hitting one.
Drunken reprobate Aggies? It’s actually a graduation requirement.
Drunken reprobate Okie State Cowboys? Percentage-wise, not nearly as many as OU, but still a significant minority.
Drunken reprobate Texas Tech fans? Sweet baby Jesus in a manger.
Drunken reprobate Cornhuskers? Nebraska stakes part of it’s school identity as having the best fans in all of college football, so this is a rare, endangered creature, seldom seen outside of Memorial Stadium Lincoln.
However, the more the Horns dominated the Children of the Corn in football in the waning days of the former Big 12, the more likely you were to have seen this elusive animal. Personally, I have encountered two in my life and, in one instance, other Cornhusker fans effusively apologized under their breath for the obnoxious behavior of their wayward comrade.
Drunken reprobate Iowa State fans? I never met one.
Plus, Cyclones’ football jerseys have two stripes running over the top of the shoulder. So … you know … that’s cool.
Despite what you say about demographics, eyes on televisions, advertising dollars, and all the other objective, accounting-oriented, money-grubbing bullsh* that is slowly strangling the life, pageantry, and joy out of college football, I like being in a conference with Iowa State. I know when the next conference realignment comes in a few years, Texas will leave them behind like a doctor’s first wife, but I’ll miss them and wish them well wherever they land.
I have a hard time developing strong, unfettered college football-type hatred for people who are so gosh darn nice and who support their beloved Cyclones so fully and completely. Iowa State fans, from my experience, are all congenial, pleasant people who support a team which has not traditionally won, so they treasure and celebrate their victories, enjoy the game day experience regardless of the success of their team, and travel well to bowl games.
Speaking of treasuring each victory, my beloved Longhorns found a way to stumble into a win in Ames on Thursday night, a place that has not been kind over the years. The game was as pretty as your fiancés open, running canker sore, and just as tasty for the home viewing audience, but to quote an old tautology: a win is a win.
As has been noted by more knowledgeable writers than myself, our defense is taking major strides and could potentially be devastating if the light bulb comes on for just a few more players. Tip of the hat to Defensive Coordinator Todd Orlando for actually coaching these kids – they are demonstrably getting better every game, even to the untrained eye, and are still far from playing their best game this year.
Our offense, unfortunately, is a hot mess of untimely offensive line injuries and backfield personnel whose skill sets are strategically unfit for the offense we’re trying to run. I don’t doubt the effort and sincerity of the offensive coaches and players; what I doubt is their competence.
So we cautiously move forward, celebrating how far we are holding teams under their scoring average, wondering exactly how far our defense can carry us, holding our breath for signs of life from the offense. This will be the storyline for the rest of the season.
Even a drunken reprobate from Lubbock could see it.
A 1986 graduate of the University of Texas, Jeff Conner has held many jobs in his life: husband, brother, uncle, son, oil field roustabout, short-order cook, sandblaster, irrigation pipe mover, musician, retail assistant manager, attorney-at-law, public school teacher, preacher, cartoonist, and writer. While he does have a hot, young wife, Conner is neither as clever nor as good-looking as he believes himself to be. Jeff is currently teaching 7th grade Pre-A.P. math, 8th grade math, and Pre-A.P. algebra in Elgin, Texas, #OTOTOF. Conner’s regularly submitted commentary appears in InsideTexas.com and Inside Texas Magazine. The opinions presented do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inside Texas editorial staff.