Big news on Iowa State's campus. It involves the return of The Man — The Mangino to be exact. Mark Mangino, who took basketball-crazy Kansas to heights unthought of in football, was named the Cyclones' offensive coordinator in the offseason. Better yet, he's going to have a veteran line to work with. Iowa State's combined 75 starts across the front are second only to Oklahoma's 94 in the Big 12. Mangino won't solve all of the Cyclones' troubles, but look for marked improvement from Iowa State.
Iowa State's Paul Rhoads is never shy about letting the cameras in the locker room after a victory. This speech came after the Cyclones' 52-44 triple overtime win against West Virginia on Saturday.
Yes, we're all for Rhoads' enthusiasm, but his team did lose seven games in a row and finished 3-9. You don't see video of speeches after the losses. Just sayin'.
Cyclone fans love Rhoads, but the reality is he should be on the hotseat. Things really haven't been right in Ames since Tom Herman left as offensive coordinator for the same gig at Ohio State in December 2011.
Rhoads knows it. He fired offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham and running backs coach Kenith Pope on Sunday. Rhoads' plan is to get the team back to a bowl in 2014, but he's going to need the players to do it. Look for an infusion of junior college players in the coming weeks.
Did Iowa State linebacker Jeremiah George strip the ball from Texas' Johnathan Gray at the Cyclone 1-yard line with 1:08 left in Thursday night's game? Iowa State's Paul Rhoads expresses his displeasure over the call in the postgame news conference.
Iowa State fans are enthusiastic about the direction of the program under Paul Rhoads. A record 40,600 season tickets have been sold and athletic department officials say that overall, the season ticket base has increased more than 20% since Rhoads became coach in 2009.
This fall presents several large challenges. The team has only four Big 12 home games and three of them (Texas, Oklahoma State and Texas Christian) come against top-tier opponents. None of the league road games (Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma and West Virginia) will be easy, making a return trip to postseason play appear unlikely.
However, Rhoads and the Cyclones thrive as underdogs. Just ask Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma State or TCU. Iowa State beat those teams (three of them on the road) in the Rhoads' era.