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Posts Tagged ‘Shontrelle Johnson’

No. 81: Iowa State

How does Iowa State win games? As a whole, the program has brought in only 10 four-star recruits since the 2003 recruiting cycle, according to Rivals.com. In comparison, Texas, a team Iowa State beat on the road in 2010, signed 15 four-star recruits on this winter’s national signing day alone. The program has not finished better than second-to-last in the Big 12 team recruiting rankings since 2004. There’s little that would lead one to believe that Iowa State, with little in its corner, could hang with the programs to which life comes easy. But there’s coaching. Grit, perhaps? An underdog mentality tinged with a devil-may-care attitude, one that leads I.S.U. to engage its heavily-favored conference foes with guerrilla warfare, sneaking through the back door to win five, six, seven games. When the dust clears, the rest of the Big 12 asks the following question: How did Iowa State win six games? Sometimes, a team will ask: How did Iowa State beat us? If there was a way to bottle moxie, you’d see a picture of Paul Rhoads and the Cyclones on the label.

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    No. 88: Iowa State

    The stars aligned in 2009 but faded in 2010, and the magic seemed to leave the building down the stretch. It won’t work every season, but one thing is clear: Paul Rhoads will have Iowa State playing Dan McCarney-style football on a yearly basis, by which I mean his Cyclones will not quit, will not be intimidated and will not lose games on paper despite the lopsided odds placed against them. Rhoads is that kind of coach, a 180-degree emotional turn from his predecessor, he-who-shall-not-be-named, and he makes Iowa State fun, likeable and easy to root for. One only hopes that the McCarney similarities remain on the field — if Iowa State mistakes successive losing seasons as a sign Rhoads can’t get it done, I fully expect the fan base to rise up in full-throated protest.

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      The Countdown

      A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.