Rhoads’ teams exceeding the predictions

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Oklahoma won the final Big 12 championship game Saturday night for a league, which had operated with two football divisions since its inception.

In the 15-year history of the Big 12 using that alignment, league media members have made preseason divisional predictions each fall. During that timeframe, the Cyclones were chosen to finish last by the news media in the north division more than half (eight) of the time.

Iowa State was picked for sixth in the North Division in both of Paul Rhoads’ seasons as coach. The Cyclones, however, blew past those expectations both years.

The 2010 team tied for third (with Kansas State) in the north division, meaning it placed three slots higher than predicted. The only time Iowa State “overachieved” more was Dan McCarney’s 2004 team, when a prediction of sixth turned out to be a tie for first (with Colorado at 4-4).

Rhoads’ 2009 team was chosen for last and finished fourth, a two-game improvement. That plus-2 mark has been equaled only one other time (2000) at ISU since the league formed.

Here is a year-by-year look at the Cyclones’ projected North Division finish vs. its actual finish:

Year       Coach                Prediction      Actual       Difference
1996       McCarney          5th                          6th                  (-1)
1997       McCarney          6th                          6th              same
1998       McCarney          6th                          T-5th          +1
1999       McCarney          6th                          T-5th          +1
2000       McCarney          5th                          3rd              +2
2001       McCarney          4th                          3rd              +1
2002       McCarney          4th                          3rd              +1
2003       McCarney          5th                          6th              (-1)
2004       McCarney          6th                          T-1st           +5
2005       McCarney          2nd                         T-2nd          same
2006       McCarney          2nd                         6th              -4
2007       Chizik                 6th                          T-5th          +1
2008       Chizik                 6th                          6th              same
2009       Rhoads               6th                          4th              +2
2010       Rhoads               6th                          T-3rd          +3

Maybe, the experts haven’t historically expected much from the Cyclones. Rhoads seems intent on changing long-held perceptions quickly by outperforming expectations.

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

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