Beware of the Chain of Complacency, Iowa State. You could be next.
Oklahoma started this epidemic, getting embarrassed on its home field before a failed comeback meant a 41-38 loss and a national title run derailed.
Texas Tech rode it all the way to a 41-7 loss to Iowa State, previously winless in conference play.
"We don’t know how to handle success, obviously. But it’s a good lesson to learn," Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said.
This week? Your turn, Iowa State. Welcome to the world of double-digit favorites. Iowa State is 10-0-1 as a double-digit favorite in conference games since 1985, according to the Des Moines Register.
This week, the Cyclones are two-touchdown favorites against a Kansas team that's come within 30 points of a conference opponent just once this season.
There's no reason to believe Iowa State should lose this game. Like we've seen the past two weeks, though, that's precisely when teams do lose.
"When you’re 4-4 and 1-4 in the conference, you know better than to overlook anybody," coach Paul Rhoads said. "We’re excited about how we played Saturday in Lubbock and we want to build on that and we want to play better in these last four games we have remaining."
Iowa State even hosts the Jayhawks, defending its home field like Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Kansas has lost 19 of its past 20 Big 12 games, and of course, its only win came in a game in which it trailed 45-17 with just over 11 minutes to play. It's not over until it's over.
Iowa State's own weaknesses were clear in its four-game losing streak before the win over Texas Tech. The Cyclones lost each game by at least 16 points before breaking through on the road against the Red Raiders.
"We hadn’t played a complete football game yet," Rhoads said of his team's excellence in all three phases of the game. "We knew it was coming. To have it happen on the road against an outstanding Texas Tech football team, we were pleased to see."
A win would put Iowa State one game away from a second bowl berth in three years under Rhoads with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State remaining on the schedule.
Win, and those hopes are alive.
Lose? That self-satisfaction from a dominant performance against a good Texas Tech team becomes self-loathing.