Coach: Paul Rhoads (29-46, entering seventh season at school, 29-46)
2014 record: 2-10, 0-9 in the Big 12, 10th overall
Look back: Iowa State has had six winning seasons this century, but none since 2009 — Paul Rhoads’ first season with the Cyclones. The three-win season in 2013 was the lowest win total since 2008. Fans thought it couldn’t get any worse, but a rash of injuries hit the team and the Cyclones managed only two wins in 2014.
Offensive starters returning: 8
Offensive starters lost: 3
Defensive starters returning: 6
Defensive starters lost: 5
Key losses: TE E.J. Bibbs, OL Jacob Gannon, OL Tom Farniok, RB Aaron Wimberly, LB Jared Brackens, DL Brandon Jensen, LB Jevohn Miller, DE Cory Morrissey, S T.J. Mutcherson
Top returnees: QB Sam B. Richardson, WR Allen Lazard, WR Quenton Bundrage, OL Daniel Burton, OF Jamison Lalk, S Kamari Cotton-Moya, LB Luke Knott, CB Sam E. Richardson, PK Cole Netten
Strengths: Sam B. Richardson, who is poised to start his senior season and fifth year overall at Iowa State, put together a career-best season for the Cyclones in 2014. During 11 starts, Richardson completed 56 percent of his passes for 2,669 yards with 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His 3,090 total yards of offense was third-best in school history. Richardson’s backup, Grant Rohach, has five career starts at Iowa State under his belt and provides much-needed depth at the position.
Injuries forced reserves to play on the offensive line last season, giving the unit depth heading into 2015.
Weaknesses: The departures of Iowa State’s two primary running backs — Aaron Wimberly (642 yards, 7 TDs) and DeVondrick Nealy (273 yards, 1 TD) — means the program is looking to make up close to 60 percent of its rushing production. The defensive line was the hardest hit this offseason with the departures of starters Brandon Jensen (10 tackles, 1.0 sack) and All-Big 12 defensive end Cory Morrissey (51 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss). Outlook: Fans can chalk up last season’s woes to injuries, but if things don’t improve dramatically in the win column, it’s tough to see any way Rhoads keeps his job.
Sept. 5 Northern Iowa
Sept. 12 Iowa
Sept. 19 at Toledo
Oct. 3 Kansas
Oct. 10 at Texas Tech
Oct. 17 TCU
Oct. 24 at Baylor
Oct. 31 Texas
Nov. 7 at Oklahoma
Nov. 14 Oklahoma State
Nov. 21 at Kansas State
Nov. 28 at West Virginia
College Football / College Basketball Handicapper. 2011 won 74%, 2012 won 72% 2015 SPECIAL. CALL, 877.WIN.ATS9 EMAIL,V@VincentRizzoSports.com