You Can Pass In the Songbooks on This One!

Slow and steady wins the race. Photo courtesy of Associated Press and Huffington Post

The great Ron Gonder said it best with the title line.  Bob Brooks would extend the tip of the fedora (hat) to them.  Jim Zabel will scream “I love it!” to no end, and Frosty Mitchell would find superlatives to describe last night’s 2010 Orange Bowl as the Iowa Hawkeyes made it 2-0 for the state in bowl games by disposing Georgia Tech. 24-14.

Football fans in this state has proven that they know their teams better than the nationally recognized college football analysts, unless they were not biased towards the Big 10.  Some have resorted to criticize coach Kirk Ferentz for being a nobody coach who has no business guiding his team into big-name bowl games, like the Orange.

Take heed, some of them have eaten their crow.  The rest of them will not and find excuses to ignore what they saw Tuesday night.  That’s okay.  That’s a “you” problem for them.  Not ours.

Even when we started to doubt, which was common for us over the past 11 years, Kirk was steady and cool under pressure.

All year long, we told those who were non-believers that Iowa is who they are:  a grind-it-out, disciplined, no-frills team that follows the New England Patriots mantra of “do your job” and good things will come your way.  Well, we were right.  Now, we can sit back and enjoy and look back at the roller coaster ride of the 2009 Iowa football season.  This team didn’t give up, even when UNI had two chances to win, Good Ricky turned into Bad Ricky, losing Ricky against Northwestern, and the heroic effort versus Ohio State.

The Ohio State game stands out not on how they lost and missed a chance to win it.  It stood out because they played as a “team”.  A “team” with “character”.  “Don’t ever count us out, and don’t give up on us.”

The same can be said for Iowa State this season.  A new coach and the same issues plagued this band of Cyclones.  No one expected how much Paul Rhoades “wanted” to be the head Cyclone.  He showed us how much he wanted to be “the man” in Ames.  They took their lumps, of course, but look at the the wins!  At Lincoln?  Thanks to 8 Big Red turnovers?  How could that be? ?

It was that game where the Gene Chizik era officially ended, with this one lasting image:

If you didn’t feel good about this guy and this team, well, I can’t help you there.  Finishing 7-6, to many teams, is a good way to salvage a season.  For ISU, this was more than they expected.  Rhoades instilled confidence in a team that has talent, but no direction.  He gave encouragement, when they didn’t receive it.  Rhoades knew this team can win and improve.  All it took was a few words in the bowels of Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska for this ISU team to “go all in” with the new guy.

Maybe there is belief in building a program and maintaining it in the right way.  Maybe it’s better to be “under the radar” and playing “your” game, than to be the pressure-cooker powerhouses at places at Florida, Texas, and Alabama.

I like where Iowa and ISU are at.  Never let it be said that Iowans don’t believe in strong work ethic, character, and playing smart football.