Why is college football great?
Yeah. Allergies are bugging me too.
I'm not poking any fun at Paul Rhoads because the guy took over from the horrible job Gene Chizik did (Chizik is grateful to Lane Kiffin for taking the Least Qualified Top 20 Program Hire attention away from him), instilled pride and trust in a group that was leery of another new coach, scrapped to a 7-6 season with a squad that wasn't exactly bleeding talent, earned a bowl win, and restored respectability to a program that had become a college football punch line.
I like this guy. Understated, absolutely without pretense, unimpressed with himself.
I was also struck watching Rhoads' media day video and reading his transcript how clear a communicator he is. He talks in concise bullet points. No babbling or meandering.
Our expectations are continuous improvement. I know that sounds simple. A year ago, our objective was to improve. This program has a long way to go. You remember a year ago, we were coming off a ten-game losing streak. We didn't win a Big 12 football game. We had the longest road losing streak in the country.
Brutal hand to be dealt.
We'll be improved. I've stated that already. But the schedule, as I've stated, is very challenging. Does that mean we can win more or less? I don't know. But I've got a roster that's going to prepare to win every game and play to win every game. That I can promise you.
There's the rub. Iowa State will have an improved team from last year, but the schedule is as unforgiving as you can find: @ Iowa, Texas Tech, Utah, @ Oklahoma, @ Texas, Nebraska, Missouri. That's seven games against Top 25 level teams, four of them Top 10 quality. On the road against Iowa, Texas, OU.
Iowa State has a decent base of skill players like Austen Arnaud, Darius Darks, and Alexander Robinson, and an experienced OL. They lack playmakers on D and the ones they do have (like David Sims) are having legal issues.
All signs point to the Big 12 basement, but I wouldn't pencil them in last in the North just yet.