Things didn't look right even during that opening game Thursday night. Sure, I enjoyed watching my Cyclones beat Northern Illinois at Jack Trice Stadium, but I wasn't quite ready to drink the kool-aid like all of the other ISU fans were. They just didn't look sharp to me. I could tell if they were having trouble against NIU then it certainly wasn't going to look pretty against Iowa this week. I was just hoping I would be proven wrong.
Too bad I wasn't.
See...there was something that I noticed during that NIU game that apparently many other ISU fans didn't. Either that or they were in denial. It was that Coach Rhoads was utilizing the same play selection that he did for most of last year. There didn't seem to be anything changed with the offense. They were relying heavily on quarterback Austin Arnaud to be the new Senecca Wallace but he just wasn't that talented. I knew it would get exposed against #9 Iowa and that's precisely what happened.
Let me backtrack for a second to mention that it took me a minute to even find the game. I initially thought that it would be nationally televised since it was being carried by ABC. All that meant was that the local affiliate still had to decide which ABC game to carry. I was in Bloomington where that ABC affiliate decided not to carry that game. It's a decision that still baffles me because the Hawkeyes are the #9 team in the nation. Bloomington's ABC station instead decided to go with the Michigan game.
I checked ESPN360 to see if they were televising it. They were, but it was subject to blackout areas. Bloomington was fortunately in the area that wasn't blacked out. So I ended up being able to watch a streaming broadcast on my lappy. I would find out later that I could also catch it on my phone thanks to the justintv app. Neither of them mattered too much though. It was evident by the half that there was no sense in wasting time watching the full game.
The Hawks were pretty much able to do whatever they wanted to against the ISU defense. They moved the ball down field at will. The only reason why the score was only 7-0 at the end of the first quarter is Iowa quickly discovered that their running game was unstoppable. That used up most of the clock to make the first quarter look closer than it was. Then they found out the same thing with their passing game and it was 28-0 by the half.
The Hawks could have pretty much put in their second unit from then on out. My Cyclones looked lost and clueless against them. It was as if they came in already intimidated by that #9 ranking they were getting ready to go up against. That and the the fact that they also realized they haven't beaten Iowa in the past three our four years. It may even be five. I have now officially lost count.
I was watching the Boise State game the other day and wondering how come Iowa didn't do something similar with their schedule. Why didn't they open up their season with a higher ranked opponent to earn respect quickly? Instead, they were forced to play an intrastate rivalry game against a team not worthy to be on the same field. Yes, I know it was against my Cyclones, but I'm to the point now where I'm more interested in seeing the state of Iowa succeed nationally. That's all we have left at this point until the Paul Rhoads era can produce some better ISU teams. I sure hope that is sooner than later.