Rhoads seeking a couple hundred yards per game on the ground

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People wondered how Iowa State’s offense would be different this fall with a new offensive coordinator.

Paul Rhoads was asked for his opinion frequently during camp. He normally stated his preference for a run-first offense.

Through three games, the Cyclones have run for 175 yards per game, and Rhoads wants more.

“History shows that if we’re above 200 yards rushing, we are pretty tough to beat,” Rhoads, who is 10-3 when his club gains at least 200 on the ground, said. “That’s where I’d like to climb.”

The reason for his preference to have a good ground game is simple.

“Any time you’re running it for 200 yards, you are hanging onto the ball, wearing folks down and giving the defense an opportunity,” he said. “In this league, you’ve got to do that.”

Rhoads’ teams have averaged 168.1 yards rushing over three-plus years. The prior six seasons, ISU gained 122.9 yards on the ground. That 40-plus yard increase indicates something else.

Rhoads has likely favored a run-first offense all along.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Iowa State’s Spanish sensation Scott Fernandez continues to add to his sparkling resume.

With the Ryder Cup starting Friday, the golf world is focused on USA vs. Europe.

Interestingly, European golf is also a topic of conversation around the ISU athletics department.

Sophomore Spaniard Scott Fernandez continues to turn heads after a rookie campaign in which he set a school freshman scoring record.

For the second event in a row, the 20-year-old Fernandez finished second in a collegiate event. His 72-70-72 rounds at the VCU Invitational this week left him two strokes shy of winning the event for the second year in succession.

In just more than one year, he has posted eight Top 10s as a collegian. The school record is 14.

That number will be on hold for a couple of weeks as Fernandez takes his splendid game to Turkey to compete in the 2012 World Amateur, an event featuring three players representing 72 different nations. (Note: the American team includes the 2012 U.S. Amateur champ and the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked amateurs in the world)

While Ryder Cup week will include lots of talk about Spaniards Sergio Garcia, team captain Jose Maria Olazabal and icon Seve Ballesteros, Fernandez will be focusing on his own game halfway across the globe.

And, he has a game that is certainly worth focusing on going forward.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Iowa State’s Spanish sensation Scott Fernandez continues adding to his spectacular resume.

Fernandez_scott3

With the Ryder Cup starting Friday, the golf world is focused on USA vs. Europe.

Interestingly, European golf is also a topic of conversation around the ISU athletics department.

Sophomore Spaniard Scott Fernandez continues to turn heads after a rookie campaign in which he set a school freshman scoring record.

For the second event in a row, the 20-year-old Fernandez finished second in a collegiate event. His 72-70-72 rounds at the VCU Invitational this week left him two strokes shy of winning the event for the second year in succession.

In just more than one year, he has posted eight Top 10s as a collegian. The school record is 14.

That number will be on hold for a couple of weeks as Fernandez takes his splendid game to Turkey to compete in the 2012 World Amateur, an event featuring three players representing 72 different nations. (Note: the American team includes the 2012 U.S. Amateur champ and the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked amateurs in the world)

While Ryder Cup week will include lots of talk about Spaniards Sergio Garcia, team captain Jose Maria Olazabal and icon Seve Ballesteros, Fernandez will be focusing on his own game halfway across the globe.

And, he has a game that is certainly worth focusing on going forward.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Eliminate voter bias by touting the facts

Horne_aaron_iowa2012_3

Ranking leagues is like picking Most Valuable Player awards. Choices are made according to what a voter values and that is never consistent.

Roughly a month into the college football season a few things have become evident and one of them is that the Big 12 is arguably the strongest league in the nation from top-to-bottom.

There is no best method for measuring such, just like picking a MVP. But, it is factual that nine of the Big 12 schools are currently receiving votes in the national polls. An even better measure than polls, perhaps, is on-field performance.

Through four weeks, the Big 12 is 6-1 in games against schools from BCS conferences. The only loss was suffered by Oklahoma State at Arizona.

Along with the Big 12’s glitzy 6-1 record against BCS opponents this fall, the Pac-12 is 6-3, the Big East is 5-6, the Big Ten is 5-9, the SEC is 3-6 and the ACC is 3-9.

[Full disclosure: those marks don’t include conference games where both a win and a loss is guaranteed]

Ponder those figures as conference season begins in earnest this week and feel free to tout the Big 12.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Eliminate voter bias by just touting the facts

Captains_iowa2012_1

Ranking leagues is like picking Most Valuable Player awards. Choices are made according to what a voter values and that is never consistent.

Roughly a month into the college football season a few things have become evident and one of them is that the Big 12 is arguably the strongest league in the nation from top-to-bottom.

There is no best method for measuring such, just like picking a MVP. But, it is factual that nine of the Big 12 schools are currently receiving votes in the national polls. An even better measure than polls, perhaps, is on-field performance.

Through four weeks, the Big 12 is 6-1 in games against schools from BCS conferences. The only loss was suffered by Oklahoma State at Arizona.

Along with the Big 12’s glitzy 6-1 record against BCS opponents this fall, the Pac-12 is 6-3, the Big East is 5-6, the Big Ten is 5-9, the SEC is 3-6 and the ACC is 3-9.

[Full disclosure: those marks don’t include conference games where both a win and a loss is guaranteed]

Ponder those figures as conference season begins in earnest this week and feel free to tout the Big 12.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Pollard to head D1A Athletics Directors group

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As Iowa State’s athletics teams continue to distinguish themselves this fall, its Athletics Director will also receive a special designation this week in Dallas.

Jamie Pollard will be handed the gavel to lead the 1A Athletics Directors’ Association at its annual meeting on Tuesday. He has served as 1st Vice-President and the Big 12 representative to the organization for the last year.

The organization was founded in 1985 as a national professional association serving ADs. In real terms, it is a resource for the top leaders in college athletics.

Three of Pollard’s current colleagues in the Big 12 – Commissioner Bob Bowlsby  who was honored as Stanford AD, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds, and Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione – preceded him as president.

Other noteworthy past-presidents include Kevin White (Duke), Gene Smith (Ohio State), Dan Guererro (UCLA), Eric Hyman (Texas A&M), Dave Hart (Tennessee) and Mike Alden (Missouri). It’s a distinguished group.

While the Cyclones continue to strengthen their brand on the field, Jamie Pollard is doing it administratively as well.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

It’s time to drop the asterisks now

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The fourth-largest crowd in Jack Trice Stadium history watched the Cyclones whip Western Illinois Saturday night. It was an amazing turnout.

For years, naysayers marked Iowa State’s largest crowds with an asterisk. That was so they could “explain” the total by pointing out who the opponent was.

At one point in time, many of ISU’s biggest home football gatherings did come against nearby rivals Nebraska or Iowa. Times have changed.

Iowa State’s two non-league home games this season attracted crowds of 55,783 (WIU) and 54,931 (Tulsa). To put those figures in perspective, there was a stretch of five consecutive games in Jack Trice Stadium vs. non-BCS foes from 1998-2000 which had an average crowd of 34,074.

Since the Big 12 formed in 1996, Iowa State has hosted 39 non-league games:

·        From ’96-’05, seven of 21 non-conference games drew fewer than 40,000 fans

·        From ’06-present, eight of 18 non-conference games drew more than 50,000 fans

The Cyclones averaged 42,761 fans in its home, non-conference contests from 1996-2005 and have averaged 50,111 the last seven years. That’s a 17.2% increase.

It’s no longer necessary to note Cyclone support with an asterisks attached to the crowd total. The support is real and the numbers are there to back it up.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

It’s time to drop the asterisks now

Jacktricestadium_nightaerialte

The fourth-largest crowd in Jack Trice Stadium history watched the Cyclones whip Western Illinois Saturday night. It was an amazing turnout.

For years, naysayers marked Iowa State’s largest crowds with an asterisk. That was so they could “explain” the total by pointing out who the opponent was.

At one point in time, many of ISU’s biggest home football gatherings did come against nearby rivals Nebraska or Iowa. Times have changed.

Iowa State’s two non-league home games this season attracted crowds of 55,783 (WIU) and 54,931 (Tulsa). To put those figures in perspective, there was a stretch of five consecutive games in Jack Trice Stadium vs. non-BCS foes from 1998-2000 which had an average crowd of 34,074.

Since the Big 12 formed in 1996, Iowa State has hosted 39 non-league games:

·        From ’96-’05, seven of 21 non-conference games drew fewer than 40,000 fans

·        From ’06-present, eight of 18 non-conference games drew more than 50,000 fans

The Cyclones averaged 42,761 fans in its home, non-conference contests from 1996-2005 and have averaged 50,111 the last seven years. That’s a 17.2% increase.

It’s no longer necessary to note Cyclone support with an asterisks attached to the crowd total. The support is real and the numbers are there to back it up.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Being a good “sudden change” team has helped Cyclones overcome turnovers

Broomfield_deon_tulsa2012_1

One of the better predictors of victory and defeat is turnover margin. You win the turnover battle and you normally get a triumph, too. The reverse generally holds true, too.

Then, there is Paul Rhoads’ program. In the last two seasons, especially, the Cyclones have found ways to win games despite suffering more turnovers.

In Iowa State’s nine wins in 2011-12 combined, it has suffered more miscues five times. The Cyclones won 12 games in 2009-10 combined and they had an even or positive turnover margin 11 times.

“We win more games losing the turnover battle than anyone in America,” Rhoads said after his team’s -3 margin vs. Western Illinois last week. “I don’t like that and we’ll try not to continue that.”

The fourth-year coach said part of the reason his team has been able to win games despite having more turnovers is its ability to handle adversity quickly.

“We’ve become a very good sudden change responding team in our three games (this fall),” he said.

No one wants to keep tempting fate. Turnovers lead to losses. The teams ranked below the Cyclones nationally in turnover margin have a 15-30 record.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Beating the #1 volleyball team in the nation wasn’t on the “list”, but it was still a thrill for the Cyclones.

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Volleyball coach Christy Johnson-Lynch has a “to do” list for her Cyclone program.

She got to cross off another item Saturday afternoon when her team defeated Nebraska inside Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones had never previously beaten the Huskers in Ames.

Defeating the nation’s #1-ranked program wasn’t on the list, but Iowa State accomplished that, too. In doing so, the volleyball team became the fourth Cyclone sport to defeat a No. 1-rated program.

Iowa State’s wrestlers have beaten top-ranked schools multiple times with the most recent being in 1986, a 19-16 decision over Iowa.

Don Medsker’s set shot at the buzzer in 1957 allowed the Cyclone men’s basketball team to top Wilt Chamberlain’s Kansas team 39-37 and Anne O’Neill’s buzzer beater in 2004 gave ISU a 64-63 triumph over No. 1 Texas Tech in women’s hoops.

Now, Tenisha Matlock’s game-clinching kill vs. the Huskers joins other memorable moments in Cyclone lore.

Perhaps, Johnson-Lynch needs to re-visit her list. I’ll bet winning a Big 12 championship is one of the entries and conference play starts Saturday against Baylor.

P.S. You can re-live the excitement of Saturday’s volleyball celebration courtesy of Cyclones.tv by clicking http://tinyurl.com/9ujqmz9.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow