Combined metric for academic / athletic success confirms Cyclones are 25th-best in the nation.

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Iowa State is Top 25 nationally as an athletics department. There will be more on that in a bit.

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 As advanced statistical measures continue to invade the athletics industry, it’s easy to lose yourself in numbers. What’s their DVOA? How’s his VORP? What effect does WSE have on the team?

 You get the idea.

 As an athletics department, Iowa State likes to benchmark itself, too. But, sometimes you just want to dumb it down to the essentials.

 For a college athletics department, the essentials are graduating student-athletes and winning.

 So, we’ll pass on advance analysis and review simply graduation rates (ISU’s mark for last year was 71%) and finish in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup all-sports standings (41st ).

 Combining those two metrics into one measure and ranking all of the 120-plus schools that play Division 1A football confirms that Iowa State had the 25th-best total program in the nation in 2012-13.

 That’s pretty heady stuff. The Cyclones were second-best (five spots behind TCU) in the Big 12.

 Some of the schools ahead of ISU on this metric were Stanford, Notre Dame, Penn State, Duke, UCLA, Michigan, Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia. Very select company, indeed.

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 It’s tough to explain how a school’s defense value over average (DVOA) or value over replacement player (VORP) or weighted shooting efficiency (WSE) actually impacted what you watched last year.

 But, I can tell you that Cyclone student-athletes had one heck of a year in the classroom and on the field or court.