Eight is Enough

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Iowa State’s game at Oklahoma State Monday was its eighth consecutive contest against a school that has spent time in the Associated Press Top 25 poll this season.

 Think about that statement. Has a school ever played 8 consecutive games against teams that have/had a national ranking? I can’t answer that question with 100% certainty.

 But, it’s hard to imagine a non-conference schedule that would include 8 consecutive games against ranked schools. To match a stretch like that would take a league with more than half of its members reaching ranked status (such as the Big 12 this season).

 Only three schools in the Big 12 this winter have not been rated in the Top 25 at some point, and the Cyclones haven’t yet played two of them.

 The Cyclones’ 4-4 record in their 8 successive games against presently/formerly ranked schools – Baylor, at Oklahoma, Kansas, at Texas, Kansas State, at Kansas, Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State – was a case of both survival and status building.

 Kansas had a stretch of 6 games in league play this year vs. schools that are/were rated by AP. That’s the second-longest string nationally behind the Cyclones. Oklahoma played 5 in a row and Texas faced 4. Among the major conferences, only Northwestern (5), Nebraska (4) and Minnesota (4) have encountered more than 3 rated teams in succession.

 There are plenty of potholes still ahead on the Cyclones’ road, but there isn’t much question their competition during that 27-day period was as tough as anybody’s… maybe ever.