The last two Iowa State quarterbacks not only put up big numbers, they turned a program around. In 2000, quarterback Sage Rosenfels led the Cyclones to a 9-3 record and an Insight.com Bowl victory after rebounding from a 4-6 season the previous year. The next two years, ISU compiled a 14-10 regular season record and earned two more bowl births with Seneca Wallace calling the signals.
Now that Rosenfels and Wallace are in the NFL, Cyclone head coach Dan McCarney is handing the reins over to Flynn - a redshirt freshman who has never taken a single snap in a college football game.
"I just want to lead the offense more than anything," Flynn told The Associated Press. "I'm not trying to be Sage or Seneca, just leave my own mark. It's a game. Just go out and have fun, roll the dice and just get after it basically."
But Flynn did not earn the job without a fight. He won the job over junior-college transfer Wayne Terry after the two auditioned during preseason practices.
McCarney told the AP that both played well and showed improvement since the spring. Flynn was just more consistent.
"We feel good about it," McCarney told the AP. "He's earned it. He deserves it. He's the number one quarterback. The only thing we don't know is how he and the other guys who haven't played react on game night. That makes it exciting.
"But we have faith and trust in him. He's a real outstanding young man."
McCarney doesn't want to rotate quarterbacks, so the starting job is Flynn's to lose.
He will face competition, though. Cris Love, who is suspended for one game, will compete for the job with Terry after Iowa State opens its season with a game against Northern Iowa.
All three quarterbacks lack experience, but the Cyclones return their top two running backs and top four receivers, which should help to keep the pressure off.
"We're going to need to run the football this year in order to be successful," wide receiver Lane Danielson said on media day.
McCarney feels good about his team and is excited to take on the Big 12. But perhaps no one is more excited than Flynn about ISU's chances for a fourth straight bowl appearance.
"It's a great opportunity for me," he said to the AP about earning the starting job. "I've got four years left. Hopefully I can play well this season and let the seniors do the job this year, get some confidence, get some experience and just go from there."
The old vs. new debate rages in music, basketball and other areas of pop culture. But the debate will present itself in college football tonight when Brigham Young hosts Georgia Tech for both teams' season opener.
The Yellow Jackets have 11 freshmen who either start or are the primary backup. The Cougars, on the other hand, have 38 players who are married.
Continuing the contrast, Georgia Tech is starting a true freshman - Reggie Ball - at quarterback for the first time in school history. BYU, meanwhile, starts Matt Berry at quarterback, who, at 23, is older than nearly the entire Yellow Jackets roster.
Berry is only a sophomore, though. After redshirting in 1999, he went on a two-year mission to Panama before returning to BYU in 2002.
Berry, along with 80 percent of the Cougars, is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns BYU. The religion places emphasis on family, which accounts for the large number of marriages on the team.
Eight BYU players are already fathers and four more have wives who are expecting.
Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill didn't stay cool when he heard Oregon had a plan to beat the heat for its Sunday meeting at Mississippi State.
Nike provided the Ducks with the prototype of a vest that is worn under the shoulder pads and blows dehumidified air on the players when hooked up to a sideline compressor. The Bulldogs also have a contract with Nike, but weren't initially told of the new equipment, which is slightly heavier than a T-shirt.
"When you have two teams under contract to the same vendor, you question why they're allowing one to use it and not another," Sherrill told the AP. "[Nike] didn't offer it until Friday afternoon, and not until I asked the question."
The vests are being shipped to Mississippi State, but will not arrive soon enough to be used against Oregon, Sherrill said to the AP.
Nike is based in Oregon and Nike CEO and co-founder Phil Knight graduated from OU and contributes to the school's athletic program.
Temperatures routinely reached the 90s in August in Starkville, Miss., but ESPN may have voided the vest issue by bumping kickoff time from the afternoon to 8 p.m. central.
This and that
Ohio State running back Maruice Clarett will not be in uniform because of a multigame suspension when the defending national champions open their season against No. 17 Washington on Saturday night. Clarrett is still practicing with the No. 1 Buckeyes. ... Former TCU and Minnesota head coach Jim Wacker died Tuesday of cancer at age 66. ... Not playing hurt Penn State and Colorado State. But then again, it seemed to help Iowa. Though none of those teams have played yet, the Nittany Lions and Rams dropped from No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, and the Hawkeyes took their place. Yeah, that makes sense.
NATIONAL NOTEBOOK: Flynn Fills In
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