Iowa State wrapped up their football season with a disappointing loss against Missouri on November 20 and ended the season at 5-7.  At the beginning of the season, I figured that five wins would be a best case scenario, given the difficulty of the schedule (non-conference games against Iowa and Utah and road tilts against Texas and Oklahoma).  As it stands, we ended up with five wins, and I’m disappointed that we didn’t catch a couple of breaks that could have gotten us a couple more wins.  Mark my word, we’re going back to a bowl game next year.

Former Iowa State coach Dan McCarney, currently the defensive line coach for Urban Meyer at Florida, will be the new head coach at North Texas.  McCarney had a 56-85 record with the Cyclones, but the overall wins and losses don’t do justice to the work Mac did to build the program.  Iowa State was fresh off an 0-10-1 season when McCarney took the reigns from Jim Walden.  In Walden’s seven seasons and head coach, the Cyclones mustered a winning record just once (6-5 in 1989).  After just ten total wins in the first four seasons under McCarney, Iowa State burst onto the national scene in 2000 with a nine win season – and the first bowl appearance since 1978.  In a six year span between 2000 and 2005, the Cyclones played in five bowl games.  After a 4-8 season in 2006, McCarney was fired.  That night, I sent a short email thanking him for everything he had done for the program.  McCarney, in the process of cleaning out his office and figuring out what his next career move was, took a moment to reply.

My wife’s favorite NFL team, the St. Louis Rams, find themselves in contention for a playoff berth.  At 5-6, they are tied for first place in a mediocre NFC West.  Rookie quarterback Sam Bradford is leading the way with a successful debut season – 17 touchdown passes against 9 interceptions.  No 7-9 team has ever made the playoffs – but it  could happen this year.  In any case, the season has been a big step forward for a team that had just one win last year.  At the beginning of the season, I wondered if the Rams wouldn’t have been better off to trade star running back Steven Jackson in an effort to plug multiple holes … but it seems that the Rams have found a way to get to the next level without sacrificing their best player.

The Yankees and shortstop Derek Jeter are reportedly far apart in negotiations.  It’s an odd case.  On paper, the Yankees would seem to hold all the cards.  Jeter is coming off a very poor season, and at at 36, is at an age when a decline in abilities is expected.  Barry Bonds aside, players generally do not improve their statistics in the waning years of their careers.  Additionally, Jeter is a type A free agent, meaning that teams would have to sacrifice a first round pick to sign him.  At this point, I think many teams see the folly in signing an aging type A player.  The Braves signed Tom Glavine as a type A player after the 2007 season.  It ended up being a bad signing, with Glavine giving limited value to the Braves, while at the same time, the Braves handed the division rival Mets Ike Davis on a silver platter (the Mets drafted Davis with a pick they were awarded as compensation for the Glavine signing).  On the flip side, Jeter is a Yankee icon, and there is fear on backlash from the fans if they front office fails to ensure that he finishes his career in pinstripes.  What am I hoping for?  I hope the Yankees massively overpay Jeter.  More money for Jeter means less money for players who could actually contribute to the team in the future.

On Monday night, my Colorado Rockies extended the contract of Troy Tulowitzki, adding six years and $119 million to his existing deal.  He had been signed through 2013, with a club option for the 2014 season.  Tulo is now signed through the 2020 season.  While I’m glad to know that the Yankees or Red Sox won’t be snapping up Tulo as a free agent any time soon, lengthy contracts can be worrisome in baseball, where the money is guaranteed.  The deal should serve to put a ceiling on Jeter’s contract.  It would be difficult to argue that a Jeter approaching 40 is worth more than Tulo in his prime.

In a recent edition of Sports Illustrated, I saw some ads for the publication’s annual swimsuit edition, which is now a multimedia experience – not just the magazine, but a calendar, video, and more.  It made me wonder how much of SI’s revenue comes from swimsuit model and how much comes from the coverage of sports?  My favorite sports publication, Sports Weekly, doesn’t have a swimsuit edition, or anything even close to it.  That’s probably a good thing – I really have no interest in seeing Paul White in a Speedo.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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