It's Iowa State week on Frogs O' War, which means as usual we've had an excellent preview of the clones, as well as gotten to know a bit of their history. However, to really get to know a team, their fanbase and what makes them tick there's nothing like getting it straight from the tap. Fortunately, KnowDan from SBNation's hilarious and informative Iowa State Blog- Wide Right and Natty Light was kind enough to answer some questions about all things Iowa State. Make the jump if you will as we discuss Paul Rhoads, the Big 12, Iowa State quarterbacks and more!
1.) HawkeydFrog: The last time these two teams met in 2005 Iowa State was coached by current North Texas coach Dan McCarney. What's the feeling around the Iowa State program about Paul Rhoads? Is he the man for the job long term, or if he gets too successful is he going to move on?
KnowDan: Most fans feel like Rhoads is about the best coach that Iowa State could have. He may not be the best coach in the country but it's hard to argue that he's one of the best fits for a program. His enthusiasm and passion for Iowa State gave the program a jolt of energy when he was hired in 2009 and preceded to win a bowl game in his first season after Gene Chizik left the program in shambles. Rhoads also just signed a long-term deal that will keep him employed until 2020, so while fans don't expect him to be at Iowa State forever, they do expect him to stay with the program until it sees sustainable success. That said, I think if he experiences success similar to Kirk Ferentz in Iowa City he will be here for the long haul.
2.) HawkeyedFrog: Iowa State jumped on Iowa early with quarterback Steele Jantz becoming a September hero, only to have a new quarterbacking hero in Jared Barnett when the Oklahoma State upset occurred. Who do you think starts this season, and who does the fanbase love more?
KnowDan: This is easily the hottest topic for our fan base right now and no one has a clear answer on who should start because both quarterbacks do things well and things not so well. Jantz has a higher physical upside with his arm but only has one year of eligibility remaining and can be just as likely to make a huge play as he is to make a drive crushing mistake. Barnett shows exceptional command and leadership of the offense for his age but has a weak arm and is prone to some of the same decision making issues Jantz suffers from. Both quarterbacks get equal amount of love and hate, but Steele has the ability to enter folklore status due simply to his name. This battle will go throughout training camp but I feel Barnett is going to walk out on to the field on September 1st as Iowa State's starter.
3.) HawkeyedFrog: Iowa State is the first Big 12 home game for TCU and the fans are likely to be absolutely fired up. How has Iowa State held up on the road under Rhoads?
KnowDan: Iowa State will never be considered road warriors but their ability to play on the road has improved under Rhoads. Before Rhoads took over the Cyclones had a Big XII road game in three years. Then the Nebraska upset happened in 2009 and was followed by a win over Texas in 2010. Since then the Cyclones have dropped hard fought battles on the road including close losses to Oklahoma and Kansas State at the end of 2011. Despite all of that the Cyclones still average one Big XII road win each season under Rhoads but are guaranteed to provide a fight for anyone they play.
4.) HawkeyedFrog: As a TCU fan I think we were in a position to be uniquely sympathetic to Iowa State when it looked like the Big 12 was going to collapse over the past few years, as we too have dealt with being left behind by our ancestral conference mates. How do you feel about the Big 12 now that A&M, Mizzou, Nebraska and Colorado are elsewhere, while TCU and West Virginia are in? Do you think the Big 12 should expand to twelve teams?
KnowDan: A&M's unceremonious departure does not really impact Iowa State but I do feel sad to not be playing Colorado, Nebraska, and Mizzou each year. I greatly enjoyed my trip to Boulder in 2010 (actual game not withstanding) and I thought the Iowa State and Nebraska series had become compelling in the last decade. In the end everyone has to move on and welcome TCU and West Virginia to the league and begin new traditions. TCU is a perfect fit simply based on their location and dedication to their program. Plus Ft. Worth is a neat town and I am looking forward to the trip some of the WRNL writers will take this year. West Virginia is obviously the wild card but their fan base is so fun you know that at least the party leading up to the game will be entertaining.
As for the expansion of the Big XII, I am in favor of staying at 10 until teams can be found that make sense for the Big XII. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble but Clemson and FSU are not those teams. Neither are Louisville and Cincinnati. The Big XII is in a unique position with its round robin schedule, new TV deal, and bank busting deal for the Champions Bowl. There should be no rush to go back to 12 and it should only happen when the two new members can make the entire Big XII richer.
5.) HawkeyedFrog: I had no idea who Jack Trice was until earlier this week, and I think I'm a better fan for knowing about his story now. Are there any other Iowa State tidbits that TCU fans should know?
KnowDan: We have the largest run student festival with the annual VEISHEA festival. We also did a few crazy things like invent the computer and were instrumental in the Manhattan Project . There is no doubt that our years of futility in football is just karma getting us back for helping end World War II.
6.) HawkeyedFrog: And finally, what are your season predictions for the Cyclones and game score prediction for the TCU game?
KnowDan: My original prediction for our season was 7-5 with a loss coming to the Horned Frogs in Ft. Worth but as the summer wears on I feel that win number possibly coming down to either 5 or 6 wins. The Cyclones lost a lot of leadership after 2011 and the exact same thing happened after our bowl win in 2009. The following season turned into a 5-7 campaign where there just were not enough seniors to set examples for the rest of the players. However, Paul Rhoads has shown you can never count his teams out and the program may have turned a big corner after last season. So for now I am sticking to 7-5 but would not be surprised to see a few bad breaks keeping the Cyclones from a bowl season.
As for the game in Ft. Worth, I have to take the Horned Frogs by two scores, 34-20. Despite the defensive losses this offseason this is still going to be a Gary Patterson coached defense and with Iowa State being the first Big XII home game in TCU's history you just know the place will be hostile.
Our thanks to KnowDan for the answers, for all thing Iowa State (and for miscellaneous College Football humor) check out Wide Right and Natty Lite.