Iowa State loves its coach, Paul Rhoads. But after losing to Northern Iowa, Rhoads is headed for a long season.
The teams picked near the bottom of the Big 12 along with Iowa State – Texas Tech and West Virginia – have shown some impressive signs. Tech beat TCU and West Virginia played tough at OU.
The Cyclones' hopes of six wins and a bowl game seem dubious. Iowa State plays at Tulsa on Sept. 26, then ISU opens Big 12 play with Teas, at Tech, at Baylor, OSU, at Kansas State, TCU, at OU, well, you get the idea.
There will be no bowl for Iowa State. So in some ways, the Cyclones can make their season Saturday when they host Iowa.
Iowa State has won six of the last 10 and two straight against the Hawkeyes. Beat Iowa again, and the Cyclones have something to be excited about in 2013. Lose, and a long season is going to get even longer.