Monday, December 31, 2012

Iowa State Fans Still Love Johnny Majors

What is with the Iowa State fans and their love with the Johnnies?

I have written about the Cyclone fan’s affection for former basketball coach Johnny Orr. Now, the love fest has turned to former football coach Johnny Majors.

The Iowa State football opposes Tulsa Monday afternoon at the Liberty Bowl. Majors took the Cyclones to the Liberty Bowl in 1972. So it’s a reunion of sorts and Majors is in Memphis to cheer on the present Cyclone squad.

Majors was a young coach when at the Iowa State helm. He later won a national championship with Pittsburgh and coach at his alma mater Tennessee. Still, Iowa State claims Majors as one of its own. And with good reason. Majors took the Cyclones to two bowl games in a day when bowl game numbers were small and the records were respectable. Plus, Iowa State had no bowl tradition.

Majors proved Iowa State could win football games. It took a long time but Dan McCarney and present coach Paul Rhoads finally restored the winning ways.

My high school memories of Majors and his Iowa State program are a bit fuzzy. But I do remember it was big deal when Majors took the Cyclones bowling. Other programs noticed Majors too and it wasn’t long before his era in Ames, Iowa was over.

Many memories are fun. That’s why Iowa State celebrates a Johnny’s place in Cyclone football history.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2013

I want to wish everyone a blessed Christmas and for my international readers a great Boxing Day tomorrow. I appreciate you reading All About College Sports.



Friday, December 21, 2012

Alabama's Nick Saban Rumor is Laughable

How do these rumors get started anyway?

Alabama Coach Nick Saban has been linked to the NFL again this week. I only read the headline. That story isn’t reeling me in, thank you.

Saban is a college coach, plain-and-simple. He has fielded championship-like teams at Michigan State, LSU and obviously Alabama. He has won national championships. He earns over $5 million dollars per year.

His NFL coaching experience with the Miami Dolphins spelled failure. Would more money convince Saban to return to the NFL? Is another $1-2 million the lure?

Saban is king at Alabama. The Tide even produced a Saban statue that sits outside the stadium. The Saban Alabama love is remarkable considering Bear Bryant once roamed the Alabama sideline.

NFL coaches aren’t loved. It’s a business and you better win.. Sure, college coaches sometimes are fired quickly, but there doesn’t appear the coldness in the college game compared to the NFL.

Some believe Saban has wondering eyes from his past and it would not surprise them if he bolts Alabama. But to me, Saban has found his final coaching resting place. And it’s hard to improve on the best place.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Too Many Bowl Games and ESPN Calls the Shots

It seems forever when the college football ball season spelled real enjoyment. The death of bowl season came with the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) and big-money television.

I still remember the good times. You could watch a few bowl games leading up to New Year’s Day and then have a glutton of games on the holiday. You watched so many games on New Year’s Day that eyes were sore before the Orange Bowl night game came about. But you didn’t want to miss New Year’s Day coverage because it was basically the end of the college football season.

Now, there are too many games, two many weak teams and two many nights. Almost every game has its particular time slot with no competing television games except the Sun Bowl. For some reason, the Sun Bowl remains a refection of the good bowl season.

These BCS games are nice but far from fan-friendly. Do you really want to watch college football for a week after New Year’s Day? ESPN basically loses me after Jan. 1. I might watch the National Champion Game if the teams interest me, but too many games and two many nights result in too much of a good thing.

My suggestion: be selective what you watch and protect your eyes.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Big Four Classic in Iowa

The four Iowa Division I men’s basketball teams will be together Saturday for the first annual Big Four Basketball Classis.

In the past Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa (UNI) and Drake scheduled home-and-away games with each other. This tournament will replace games on the respective campuses.

The schools agreed to a four-year arrangement with all games at the Wells Fargo arena in the Iowa capital city of Des Moines.

Apparently, Iowa and Iowa State pushed for the tournament because these schools wanted greater freedom in non-conference scheduling. Some say it was big brother (Iowa and Iowa State) telling little brother (UNI and Drake) the new conditions of the basketball arrangement. UNI and Drake apparently bemoaned the loss of revenue and exposure of playing games on their campuses. UNI and Drake will still receive revenue for the tournament but will loss the domino effect for its campuses and communities.

In this year’s matchup, Iowa will oppose UNI in the first game and Iowa State-Drake follow in the second one. One sorry aspect is the television package. There is no statewide coverage on any local station. The Iowa-UNI game will air on the Big Ten network and the Iowa State-Drake will air on a another cable company will limited Iowa coverage.

This whole tournament seems to be about the money. That’s a common and dangerous trend in college sports today. But maybe the new format will become the new normal similar to happiness with $3.50 gasoline.

What do you think about this new tournament?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why Fired College Coaches Still Seek Employment

Coaching major college football is a high risk, high reward business.

Head coaches are provided celebrity status. They perform CEO duties at the football company and receive many perks including large salaries and high-priced country club memberships.

But that is only the beginning. With such a large investment, the head coach’s win-loss ledger becomes the main measuring stick of continued employment and applause. And the measuring stick seems to become less and less in terms of chances.

Gene Chizik lasted four years at Auburn. His team won the national championship in 2010 with mostly the previous coaches’ players. Some say Chizik couldn’t master the head coaching role. It will be interesting to watch if Chizik lands another head coaching job in the near future.

Chizik doesn’t need another job. He’s made plenty of money in coaching plus he received an additional large sum in the Auburn buyout process. In TV game-show terms, Chizik received lovely parting gifts.

The average Joe might wonder why Chizik (or a host of other college coaches) want to resume the coaching job hunt after landing in the unemployment line.

Former Colorado football coach Bill McCartney told me once that “coaching is intoxicating.” That is why Chizik and other college coaches want back into the game after being dumped. They cannot help themselves; it’s in their blood.

For Chizik and others, these guys cannot find pleasure in the high risk, high reward business unless they are actually playing.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Letter to Iowa State Football Coach Paul Rhoads

Congratulations Coach on helping your Iowa State football team received a Liberty Bowl bid. You already beat Tulsa once this year, so make it a twofer.

I truly appreciate what you have done for the Cyclone football program. I love your passion and fire. You seem to truly care for your football players and that scores high marks with me. And you are a fellow Iowan. You understand Iowa and certainly the Iowa State culture.

I attended my first game this season since you took the Cyclone job. Jack Trice Stadium was a rocking place. Even in defeat, the atmosphere was electric. I have been to football games in the past where the mood was “We can’t wait for basketball season.”

You have the opportunity to become one of the special coaches in Iowa State history. You know that special history isn’t long. So embrace it, Coach. Go for it. Be a long-term Cyclone. Truly do something special.

Other places will want to hire you as their coach, but please think long-and-hard

if specific opportunities are presented. Remember, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence, and the grass is pretty green at Jack Trice Stadium these days.

Give my regards to Coach Bill Bleil. We have a history together back at Northwestern College.

Best to you and the Cyclone football program.

Friday, December 7, 2012

College Basketball In Iowa

Iowa is a small state. I think the population is around three million. But small or not, Iowans enjoy basketball. Tonight, many Iowans’ eyes and some others (on the Big Ten Network) will watch Iowa host Iowa State in the big rivalry game.

The Iowa State-Iowa games are friendly rivalries. Sure, there is some trash talk going back-and-forth, but nobody sets fires to the other team’s cars.

The 2012 men’s basketball portion should offer a competitive game. Both have two losses each. All the losses have come against quality opponents. Nearly all of the two team’s victories have come again non-quality opponents so it’s difficult to measure the real strengths and weaknesses of each team.

This game should be a type of measuring stick particularly for the road team—Iowa State. The Cyclones are looking for their third straight win against Iowa and maybe a resume builder for the NCAA tournament.

Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffrey has awoken Hawkeye fans from their basketball slumber. McCaffrey has brought an up tempo style back to Iowa City and some solid recruits. He’s building a program and the Iowa faithful would enjoy earning a NCAA bid this year after going to the NIT last season.

With Fred Hoiberg at the Iowa State helm and McCaffrey at Iowa, this rivalry should be in good shape for a number of years.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Watching the College Coaching Carousal

The college football coaching comings-and-goings is hot this week.

The Butch Jones soap opera is the most interesting at the moment. Will he leave Cincinnati to accept the Colorado job? Might Wisconsin become a late-day addition to the Jones’ wish list?

Of course, Bret Bielma move to Arkansas from Wisconsin was the most surprising development so far this offseason. Is Arkansas a better job than Wisconsin? Bielema is reportedly receiving about $750,000 more in salary per year, so that sweeten the deal. But Bielma will now go up against Alabama and LSU, whereas at Wisconsin he was frequently in the top portion of the Big Ten. But maybe it’s a status symbol. Bielma now coaches in the best college football league (SEC) in America.

Auburn hired former assistant Gus Malzahn. The Tigers just recently fired Gene Chizik another former Auburn assistant. Malzahn worked for Chizik. You would think Auburn would rid itself of the Chizik era and start over. Maybe Malzahn was Auburn’s only real choice.

Darrell Hazell leaves Kent State to coach Purdue. I have never heard of guy, but that doesn’t matter. I’ve never heard of any of Purdue’s football coaching hires in the last several years. My question: do the Purdue fans care about their coaching hires

So the coaching carousal continues and we are all waiting for more dominos to fall.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Rick Majerus was a Colorful Guy

Former college basketball coach Rick Majerus died over the weekend from heart complications. He was 64.

Majerus coached St. Louis University in his last stop. The heart condition forced him to walk away from the 2012-13 season. He also coached Utah, Ball State and Marquette, but his health always seemed to be a major factor.

But Majerus was a college basketball gift. He displayed humor, crustiness and frankness. Sportswriters and broadcasters loved the guy because he was very quotable. The guy knew basketball and he knew how to coach it.

Majerus didn’t seem to find peace in one particular coaching job. I don’t know if the press or Majerus himself would start rumors about his potential candidacy at another school. His name kept popping up for openings.

I will always remember Majerus for his competitive nature. I saw it first hand one night in Ames, Iowa when Majerus brought his Marquette team to play Iowa State in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The coach became agitated with a call or calls that went against Marquette. The official gave Majerus one technical, then two technicals and then three technicals in a span of about 30 seconds. Majerus was kicked out of the game, but refused to leave. Police then escorted him off the floor, but not before he wanted to charge the referee who gave him the three technicals. Majerus was restrained and Marquette went on to win the game without its coach.