Washburn: The coin flip that crumbled the Big 12


Columnist Caden Washburn predicts Iowa State’s fortunes. 

Caden Washburn

Less than a month before the 2021 NFL draft, Iowa State’s All-American tight end Charlie Kolar had an important decision to declare for the NFL or return for a final football season at Iowa State. For the average person, such a decision could take months or even a whole year to conclude. Kolar, however, had a ringer.

“My parents taught me this technique — when you can’t make a decision, flip a coin and you say you’re going to make a decision based on the coin flip,” Kolar stated, per the Des Moines Register.

Thanks to this cyclone-loving circular piece of metal, Iowa State is now returning 20 of the 22 starters responsible for winning the first Bowl Championship Series (Playstation Fiesta Bowl) in school history.

Never before has a Cyclone team received as much preseason acclaim — ranking seventh in Associated Press football ranking — or garnered such high expectations, second-highest odds of winning the first Big 12 Championship in school history, per 247 sports.

The excitement for the season is palpable in every Iowa State football fan.

Over the summer, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas announced they would not renew their rights with the Big 12 after the 2025 college football season. This news has shaken the football community and is once again an example of big football trying to keep Iowa State University in the bottom echelon of college football tiers.

As many remember, a short 110 years ago, Iowa State asserted its football dominance by winning back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference Championships. Mirroring today’s actions, other universities such as the Universities of Nebraska and Missouri immediately took action 47 years later to entrap the unstoppable might of the powerful Cyclones by creating the Big 8 conference, which would eventually become the deteriorating Big 12 Conference.

Once a laughing stock of the CFB, Iowa State has now crumbled an entire conference through its ability to nurture and return top-tier talents like Charlie Kolar. Now the question is, was all of this worth it, or even was it supposed to be?

In his Des Moines Register interview, Charlie Kolar also stated, “I think it landed for Iowa State.”

Was it all a fluke? Did the Big 12 die all because of the fallibility of the human mind? In this writer’s opinion, who cares? It’s Iowa State’s time to shine, and let’s dance on the graves of our fallen foes.