Matt Campbell doesn’t put a lot of stock into preseason expectations. He says his program would have crumbled three years ago if players listened to expectations
Randy Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
You’re over-thinking this guest picker thing.
Think Dan McCarney. Think Seneca Wallace. Don’t think anyone else when you’re guessing who gets out of the limo just off the ESPN College GameDay set Saturday morning in Ames.
On the final selection, I have zero inside knowledge. I know, however, that anyone other than Mac or Seneca wouldn’t do justice to the most highly anticipated Cy-Hawk football game since they’ve been playing.
I’ve seen your suggestions. I’ve offered up some, too, since I started writing about the GameDay to Ames possibility in May. Now that it’s real, either McCarney or Wallace are the obvious choices.
McCarney knows this game inside and out — literally. He played at Iowa in the early 1970s. He’s a former Iowa assistant coach. He was Iowa State’s very popular head coach between 1995 and 2006.
The only thing the now-retired McCarney didn’t do is play in the game, because his career was during the time the series was interrupted, but if anyone is Cy vs. Hawk …
Remember Sept. 13, 1998?
“Feel that aftershock about 2:15 p.m. Saturday?” I wrote back then. “It came from the eastern part of the state where, suddenly, what once leaned that way tipped to the west . … For the first time since 1982 — it’s a Cyclone state.”
McCarney’s Cyclones beat 28-point favorite Iowa — in Kinnick Stadium — 27-9 in front of 70,397 mostly Hawkeye fans. Our state-of-Iowa college football world stopped momentarily.
“I don’t know that in 100 years, I could have envisioned that score, over here, against a tremendous traditional program like theirs,” said McCarney, whose team entered the game with a horrific 0-30-1 recent road record, yet held Hayden Fry’s Hawks to just 42 rushing yards.
Darren Davis rushed for 244 yards on 37 carries. He had 169 of those yards during a first half where Iowa State led 20-3.
“Every time I touched the ball, I saw 5 yards of open space,” he said. “My eyes lit up.”
Remember Sept. 14, 2002 — Cyclones 36, Iowa 31 — again in Iowa City?
McCarney coached this one, too, but Wallace was the star.
Cy-Hawk stories from the archives:
The Cyclones quarterback had 190 of his 361 passing yards after halftime while rallying Iowa State from a 24-7 deficit. He led an effort that included 29 Iowa State points in a row, and he did it in spectacular fashion.
The biggest play of the game was in the fourth quarter, third down at the Cyclones’ 5-yard line. He scrambled to his left and into the end zone before the righthander noticed Jack Whitver broke what started out being a long route. The result was a 29-yard gain and first down at the ISU 34.
Again, Seneca, a right-handed quarterback, ran left. He made this miraculous throw against his body.
“Most guys would get run off the practice field for attempting something like that,” said Ed Podolak, a former Hawkeye star who is now an Iowa radio commentator.
That kept a drive alive that ended with a 36-yard field goal and 33-24 Cyclones lead.
They know better than anyone about what will unfold Saturday afternoon in Ames. One of them should be the surprise celebrity.
ESPN sometimes announces the guest picker before the game. Often, they don’t, but whoever it is should have solid background on what this series is about.
“It’s usually somebody who has some unique tie to the host university, and to the athletic program specifically,” said Ray Cole, past ABC board member and liaison to ESPN whose office is in West Des Moines. “That’s generally, but not always. They look for somebody that will add to the excitement and aura that’s uniquely special.”
Both McCarney and Wallace are good choices. They’re the only logical choices. Heck, maybe invite them both.
Randy Peterson is the Iowa State columnist for the Register. Reach him at email@example.com, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at Des Moines Register.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.
Source: Des Moines Register