When I woke up this morning and checked my phone, I saw that I had a notification from ESPN saying, “Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads fired after seven seasons”. After reading it, I didn’t know whether it was in fact true or not, so I instantly jumped onto my computer to get confirmation. Sure enough, coach Rhoads had been fired.
As much as I wanted to jump for joy and run around my apartment screaming “FINALLY”, I controlled myself and instead logged on to fantasy football to make some adjustments. The reality though is that this decision was almost inevitable after the debacle that happened against Kansas State on Saturday.
In case you missed what happened in the last two minutes of Iowa State vs. Kansas State game, I’ll break it down as simply as possible: it was the worst coaching performance I have EVER seen. The Cyclones were up a touchdown and had just stopped the Wildcats on a fourth down play to get the ball back with less than two minutes to play. Instead of taking a knee like ANY other coach would have done, the Cyclones decide to run the ball with Mike Warren and you know what happens? You guessed it. In typical Cyclone fashion, he fumbles, giving the Wildcats the ball back. On the ensuing drive, Kansas State ties it up 35-35.
As mad as I was, I thought to myself: The Cyclones will just get the ball back and take a knee or two to send this game into overtime. Boy was I wrong. Instead of doing the aforementioned, Rhoads tried to get into field goal position, but in the process, Joel Lanning fumbled the ball and set up the Wildcats to kick a field goal to win the game.
After the game was over and the Cyclones lost 38-35, I wasn’t even mad because I realized this could only happen to Iowa State. All they had to do was take a couple of knees and they would have won this game, and it most likely would have saved coach Rhoads’ job.
Now, as much as I like Coach Rhoads as a person, he simply wasn’t getting the job done as the head football coach of the Iowa State Cyclones and a change needed to be made. Rhoads record in seven seasons as the head coach of Iowa State was a futile 32-54 and he hadn’t had a winning season since his first, in which he went 7-6. Yes, you read that correctly.
But, the worst part is that Iowa State will still owe Rhoads nearly $4.6 million dollars because his contract was set to run through 2021. Please don’t even get me started on the man who gave him that atrocious contract because it might make me throw the innocent chair in my apartment. Personally, this decision is long overdue and if it was up to me, Rhoads would have been fired after last year’s horrible 2-10 performance, which included an 0-9 Big 12 record.
With Rhoads now gone, although he will coach in the last game against West Virginia, the Cyclones will need to find a new coach. It’s not going to be an easy task. I just can’t imagine a good coach with a proven track record wanting to come and coach at such a bad program. On top of that, there are a ton of other “better” coaching opportunities in the NCAA available (USC, South Carolina, Miami, etc.).
All is not lost though; the Cyclones do have Joel Lanning, Mike Warren and Allen Lazard, who have been the few bright spots during this season. I have no idea who the next coach is going to be, but if AD Jamie Pollard can’t find one to do a better job than Rhoads, he will be the next one to go.
The bottom line: Jamie Pollard needs to find a coach who is able to recruit against the likes of Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. It’s no easy feat, but Bill Snyder has done it at K-State and Mark Mangino kind of did it at Kansas. Until that happens, the Cyclones will continue to be a bottom feeder in the Big 12.
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