A week ago, Paul Rhoads and TCU’s Gary Patterson faced off as head coaches in Jack Trice Stadium.
Most folks didn’t realize it was a match-up of the only two coaches in college football with three road wins as underdogs over Top 25 opponents in the last three-plus seasons.
Jimbo Fisher (Florida State), Gary Pinkel (Missouri), Bobby Stoops (Oklahoma), Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M), Bo Pelini (Nebraska), Mack Brown (Texas), Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech), Bill Snyder (Kansas State), Mike Riley (Oregon State), Larry Fedora (North Carolina) and Lane Kiffin have two such triumphs over that time period, but no one has as many as Rhoads and Patterson.
Rhoads’ three victories, as an unranked team, over nationally rated foes came at No. 15 TCU (2012), at No. 19 Texas Tech (2011) and at No. 22 Texas (2010).
What’s the secret for that success?
“I think it’s an every game focus (for our team),” Rhoads said Monday. “I don’t think we’re higher for those games and lower for other games. It might play as a factor that those teams aren’t as high for us on those particular Saturdays when we come on the road as they are for other folks.”
Rhoads enters this week with a simple goal for his team.
“Improvement and energy,” Rhoads said. “That’s at the top of my list.”
The task for the Cyclones at 17th-ranked Oklahoma is a tall one.
“(We’re playing) a Top 25 team in Oklahoma, on the road, in a series that is as lopsided as any that exists in the Iowa State record books,” Rhoads said. “And, I’m looking for a team that is looking forward going to Norman, taking the field and playing with every ounce of energy that they have.”