Despite challenging slate, Cyclones have been more competitive than most of their peers.

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Iowa State’s 2012 football season comes down to its final two games. One Cyclone victory insures bowl eligibility and a second win would likely improve their post-season destination.

The Cyclones are one of four schools nationally, who have played BCS ranked schools the past two weeks (Alabama, Mississippi State and Cal are the others). Despite losing to Oklahoma and Texas in its most-recent outings, Coach Paul Rhoads latched onto a positive thought Saturday night.

“We’ve got five quality losses if that makes sense,” he said. “And, I think it does (make sense) to our kids.”

One hundred percent of ISU’s defeats in 2012 have come vs. teams currently ranked in the Top 25 of the coach’s poll.

Only 14 schools in the major conferences can say all of their losses have been to schools currently ranked. Nine of those teams have lost just once or twice.

The other five – Mississippi State (three defeats, by an average of 25.3 ppg), Michigan (three, by 16), Texas Tech (three, by 20.3), Arizona (four, by 28.5) and Iowa State (five, by 15.8) – have suffered three or more losses to teams currently rated.

As Cyclone followers, you’ll note that Iowa State has played the ranked competition closer than the others listed above.

Rhoads hinted that his team knows how close it has been to gaining big victories all season. That should boost their confidence.

Now, it’s a matter of delivering a victory or two to close out the year.

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

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