Iowa State’s 2014 football schedule is …
b) Sort of unusual
c) Pleasing to Coach Paul Rhoads
d) All of the above
The answer is d).
The challenging part is that two-thirds of the opponents are either ranked or receiving votes in the preseason coaches’ and news media’s polls.
The sort of unusual part is that the Cyclones will play a conference game in the second week. That hasn’t happened at ISU since it played Kansas the week after the Eddie Robinson Classic season opener in 2002.
This year’s slate is also unusual in that there are three bye weeks. That has never happened in the modern era. Rhoads’ first two teams had no byes, the ’11 and ’13 squads had two each and the ’12 club had one.
The “pleasing to Coach Paul Rhoads” sentiment is largely based upon the placement of the bye weeks. Off weeks can be disturbing to continuity or perfectly placed to aid performance and preparation.
Rhoads feels this schedule lines up nicely with the approach he has for team conditioning throughout the year. It is based upon balancing rest with heavier workloads in order to “peak” his players at the right time.
The 2014 Cyclones will play three games then get a break. They’ll come back for four games and then have an off week. The team will play two more contests and then have a bye. Iowa State will end the year with three straight games.
“I like our schedule,” Rhoads told an enthusiastic group of supporters at “Meet the Coaches” Night in Des Moines last night.
He also said to the group, “I like this team.” He emphasized that feeling by repeating it as he described every facet of the team.
There has been a lot of excitement generated this fall camp and I’m guessing the Cyclones will, indeed, be peaking on the evening of Aug. 30 at Jack Trice Stadium. The schedule is set up for that.