We at Corn Nation are doing the "trading questions" thing with Alex at CrossCyed, an Iowa State blogger. We sent Alex the following questions, and he's provided the answers:
It's Dan McCarney's eighth year at Iowa State. How do you rate McCarney's reign as head coach? Are Iowa State fans getting restless that there hasn't been more success, or are they okay with where things are at?
To bring ISU from where it was at it to where it is now....he'll always be remembered and loved for that fact alone. He built this program into something resembling respectable. However, fans are starting to get frustrated that he has yet to take the next step, i.e., a (real) North division title. That's all people are really asking him out of him at this point. And if he doesn't attain that goal relatively soon, it's not impossible to think Iowa State will have a new coach in the next few years.
Iowa State replaced nine starters on defense - have they shown good progress throughout the season?
No. People will point to the fact that linebackers Alvin Bowen and Tyrone McKenzie are first and sixth in the nation, respectfully, in tackles, but that is because of all the passes being completed their way. Iowa State comes into this game down two defensive ends (Jason Berryman and Kurtis Taylor), a linebacker (Matt Robertson) and a starting safety (James Smith), so the Clones were already disadvantaged on defense. I would have said they'd shown some progress, playing Texas decently, but the game against Northern Iowa showed they still aren't ready. The Clones have made some changes, including shifting Jon Banks out of a starting safety spot, but it remains to be seen if it can do a damn bit of good.
Barney Cotton was at Nebraska under Frank Solich, what's your opinion of him as offensive coordinator at Iowa State?
People are liking him less the longer he sticks around. With what is seemingly the best quarterback in the Big 12 (or so I've been told) paired with the best all-around receiving corps in the Big 12, we shouldn't have as much trouble as we are moving the ball. Some of the play calling is just befuddling at times, and it seems that the offense isn't set up much of the time to allow for any real success. Would you believe Todd Blythe is third on the team in catches?
I've attended a lot of Nebraska-Iowa State games at Ames, none of them night games. What probability is there of the occurrence of a riot?
It should be the biggest crowd in Jack Trice history. I don't know about the chances for a riot, but if Iowa State wins, a storming of the field wouldn't certainly not be unexpected.
The Bret Meyer - Todd Blythe connection. What's up with that?
I don't know. I honestly think that Meyer may be hurt or something....there's a total lack of the deep ball to Blythe that we saw a lot of last year. The thing about Blythe is you can force the issue with him and he'll still catch the ball. Blythe isn't really our possession receiver, and we are going to Davis on most of our "deep" plays, so that leaves Blythe without a whole lot of catches. Maybe it's a concerted effort to keep him out of the NFL Draft.....
What's going to happen Saturday? How's it going to happen and what will the final score be?
No freakin' idea. This team is a mystery. I'd imagine Nebraska will break our hearts, 35-24, or something of the like. Tailgating before hand and getting toasted does no good when the team sobers you up in the first five minutes. I hope we just open it up in the air, because that's our shot to win. Bret Meyer is undefeated the last two years when passing for at least 65%, so watch out for that.
Anything else you want to add about Nebraska, the game, or college football in general?
I really, really want to beat Nebraska. I actually cheered for them when I saw them in the Alamo Bowl against Michigan State, but that was different. A lot of Cyclone fans are treating this game as being bigger than the Iowa game, which, it is.
Know any good bail bondsman in Ames?????
Can't say that I do, but for any Nebraskanites headed over for the game....check out this eatery if you get a chance: Hickory Park (very good chances of an hr+ wait). GOOD BBQ for relatively cheap. You'll see what I mean if you drive by. Also, if you're so moved, check out the campus of ISU before heading to the lots.....if the weather's nice, it's beautiful.
Thanks, Alex! I've been to Hickory Park a couple years ago. Very good. Perhaps Saturday I'll get a chance to partake again, and maybe see you in Ames!