In his three years of being a head coach, Paul Rhodes has guided Iowa State to two bowl games.
That may not sound extremely impressive, but for a school that had only been to eight bowl games and won only two of them since its first season in 1892, it's a welcomed accomplishment.
Rhodes has been known to beat teams with superior talent since arriving in Ames, Iowa just three years ago. In 2010, his squad upset the No. 22 Texas Longhorns in Austin. This trend of upsetting ranked teams continued in 2011 when the Cyclones beat the No. 22 Texas Tech Red Raiders and then shocked the world two weeks later by beating No. 2 Oklahoma State in Ames.
Despite these upsets, the Cyclones still have trouble winning in streaks and have not been ranked in the top 25 themselves since 2002.
Last year's record of 6-7 after a Pinstripe bowl loss to Rutgers showed signs of improvement, but still leaves much to be desired.
The good news for the Cyclones is that they don't lose much talent on offense or defense.
Senior Tackle Kelechi Osemele was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens as the 60th overall selection and will be tough to replace. Osemele was a second team all-Big 12 selection in 2009 and had started 30 consecutive games entering his senior year.
Senior wide receiver Darius Reynolds led the Cyclones with 695 yards receiving on 65 receptions and seven touchdowns.
The Cyclones return several key players for the 2012 season on offense and defense which could pay off down the stretch.
Sophomore running back James White rushed for a team leading 743 yards and eight touchdowns. White looks to improve on his numbers and help the Cyclones running game next year.
Standout junior linebacker Jake Knott had an impressive 69 solo tackles and two interceptions for the Cyclones last year and is a leader for their defense. Knott earned first team all-Big 12 honors in 2011 and was a 2011 honorable mention All-American. Knott should be one of the best linebackers in the Big 12 next year and will help the Cyclones defense out tremendously.
Freshman dual-threat quarterback Jared Barnett will look to build off of his rookie campaign where he threw for 1201 yards with six touchdowns and rushed for 437 yards and one touchdown in eight games in 2011.
Highlights from the Cyclones 2012 recruiting class includes three star offensive tackle Duaron Williams (Orlando, FL), three star safety Charles Rogers (Iowa City, IA) and three star quarterback Grant Rohach (Moorpark, CA).
Despite losing a few key players for the 2012 football season, the Cyclones seem to have enough talent coming back to be able to improve on their 2011 campaign and possibly make some noise in the Big 12.
2012 season record predictions:
Given wins: Western Illinois
Probable losses: Texas Christian, Oklahoma, West Virginia
Best case scenario: 8-4
Worst case scenario: 3-9
My prediction: 6-6