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The Mid-season Big 12 Coordinator Key Party

Sometimes couples just need to shake things up.

Iowa State's opponent this week did very ballsy, potentially disastrous thing earlier this season. The Texas Longhorns fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after just two games. Actually, the Longhorns didn't so much fire Diaz as leave him to fend for himself in the high desert of Provo, Utah after his defense surrendered a total of 550 yards of rushing to the BYU Cougars. 550 yards rushing on 76 carries. That's an average of 7.6 yards a carry, most of which came on the same variation of BYU's zone read. If you can't figure out a way to at least slow down the one play that is gouging your defense over and over again for four quarters, you don't deserve to be a coordinator at a major football school.

Still, the firing was still pretty brave, 'cause it takes balls to determine just how much things aren't working out, realize it isn't going to get better and pull the plug on the weak link to save the team's season. It can work out beautifully, as the Baltimore Ravens found out last season when they fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron mid-season and won a Super Bowl.

It can also backfire spectacularly, because the replacement for the fired coach isn't always an improvement. Most coordinators that are sitting around waiting for the phone to ring at this point in the season usually aren't world-class football minds. If they were, they'd probably have a job.

Diaz's firing reassignment at Texas is relevant for Iowa State because the Cyclones have their own weak link at an integral position. That link comes in the form of one Mr. Courtney Messingham, whose trademark blend of terrible in-game adjustments and running game abandonment has made him the scapegoat for Iowa State's offensive struggles over the past two seasons.

Now, Coach Mess hasn't had a Manny Diaz-at-BYU-style flameout yet, although the first half of the Iowa game this year was close. 48 yards in a half? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE. Last week against Tulsa was an improvement, but that was mainly because expectations were so incredibly low going into the game and Tulsa's defense is a diaper-filled dumpster fire this year. Cyclone fans haven't been this frustrated with a coach since Wayne Bolt was teaching his down-home, folksy brand of arm-tackling as Iowa State's defensive coordinator back in the Gene Chizik era.

So here's a little proposal, just to spice things up a bit. No coaching staff is perfect; every team in the Big 12 has that one coach on staff that the fans just hate. And that's okay. Sometimes marriages don't work out.

But why should every team just suffer with their sub-par coaches? Why not make this season a little more interesting with some 1970's-style swinging? How about we get every Big 12 team together and have them put their shittiest coordinator's car keys in a bowl. Each head coach blindly pick a set of keys out of the bowl. BOOM. Brand new coordinator for every team.

Okay, so this isn't a flawless plan. Sure, a lot of teams'll end up with a couple tight end coaches or maybe find themselves with a spare guy hanging around, trying to teach the defensive backs bump and run coverage. But that's just part of the fun, baby! Don't get cold feet now, Texas; you started this.

Baylor, your offense works so hard, putting 70 points on the board each week. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Phil Bennett just sits there like a lump and allows the defense to slip all the way to the bottom of almost every statistical category. Baylor's offense, you're a 10. You deserve better than that chump of a defense. Put Phil Bennett's keys in the bowl.

Kansas State, you have a Cotton Bowl and a Fiesta Bowl to your name in the last few years. You're way too good to be left down there at the bottom of the Big 12 standings. Have you ever thought that maybe those OC's you're stuck with are a little too old for you? Dana Dimel and Del Miller are just holding you back; you need someone young and vibrant to help you reach your full potential. Keys in the bowl.

West Virginia, you've had a rough time lately. One week, held scoreless in a 35-point blowout against Maryland. The next, upsetting 11th-ranked Oklahoma State. A big part of that schizophrenia? Poor offensive line play. No, no, it's not you, West Virginia. You've had rock-solid lines for years. It's that new coordinator, Ron Crook. His coaching has allowed WVU quarterbacks to get sacked eight times already this year. His keys DEFINITELY go in the bowl

Kansas, why don't you just put every one of your coach's keys in that bowl.

This is a revolutionary idea, one that could be very exciting, very dangerous... maybe even a little arousing. Think of the possibilities all these new coordinators could offer to their new teams, the new things they could teach each other... After all, it's gotta be better than what each team has now. The grass is always greener on someone else's field.

And something's gotta change for Iowa State's offense soon. Texas made the coordinator-key party swap, and no team has rushed for 550 yards against them since the switch. So hey, things are looking up. Besides, ISU needs a little excitement in their game; excitement that a new coach can provide. 'Cause few more weeks of living with the Courtney Mess-fense Experiment and Cyclone fans are going to call the divorce lawyer.