Bowl Projections: Will the Iowa State Cyclones Make a Bowl This Season?
Iowa State never has been a football powerhouse, but since hiring Paul Rhoads as head coach in 2009, the Cyclones have posted a respectable 17-17 record.
Among those 17 victories were a bowl victory over Minnesota and upset wins over Nebraska in Lincoln and a Texas Longhorns team ranked No. 22 at the time.
Currently possessing a record of 5-4, the Cyclones are only one game away from bowl eligibility.
The real question is whether or not Iowa State can get that elusive sixth victory it needs in order to make a bowl.
Questioning whether or not the Cyclones can win even one of their last three games may seem like underestimating them. However, a quick look at Iowa State's schedule gives good reason for the doubt.
The Cyclones' three remaining games are at home against No. 2 Oklahoma State and then on the road at No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 14 Kansas State. If any team in the country claims to have a tougher three-game stretch than Iowa State, they are blatantly lying.
However, don't discount Iowa State's bowl prospects just yet.
Coach Paul Rhoads has yet to shy away from playing more powerful opponents while at Iowa State, and his players have bought into his never-say-die philosophy. After the upset win over Nebraska in 2009, Rhoads gave a postgame locker room speech to his team that ranks pretty high on any greatest locker room speeches of all time list, and helped the nation to understand why the team was able to over-perform and pull off the monumental upset.
Since that program-defining victory, little has changed for Rhoads' Iowa State teams.
They are still perennial underdogs, but continue to pull of upset after upset. This season alone the Cyclones have defeated arch-rival Iowa, last season's Big East Fiesta Bowl representative UConn and a Texas Tech squad that was ranked No. 19 at the time—and who had just ruined powerhouse Oklahoma's undefeated season.
Although the odds appear to be stacked against the Cyclones in their last three games as they try to achieve bowl eligibility, it hardly would be a surprise if they managed to pull off the upset in at least one of those games.
After all, finding a way to win regardless of the odds has been the main theme of Iowa State football under Coach Paul Rhoads.