Big 12: Richard Stanzi

Iowa State struggling against Iowa

September, 12, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Austen Arnaud told me on several occasions earlier this week that he gets more excited about playing Iowa than any other team.

It looks like Arnaud's excitement might have gotten the best of him as he was intercepted three times in the first half. Those mistakes have helped Iowa jump to a 21-3 lead early in the third quarter.

The game could have been much worse as Iowa State safety David Sims killed two Iowa first-half drives with interceptions of his own for the Cyclones.

But with momentum and halftime adjustments seemingly kicking in for the Cyclones, they shot themselves in the foot on their first drive of the second half. Alexander Robinson fumbled at the ISU 48.

Eight plays later, Iowa quarterback Richard Stanzi hooked up with Allen Reisner for a 7-yard touchdown. It was his third touchdown pass of the game.

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads will face a huge challenge trying to get his team back into this game.

It might help them if they could protect the ball and stay away from turnovers to start.

The numbers say UT could win the BCS title and OU won't

July, 7, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

The number crunchers at have come up with the common statistical traits that the BCS national championship winners have shared.

1. Be a member of a "Big Six" conference or Notre Dame:

Teams still fitting the profile: 67.

2. Have at least eight wins in the previous season. Of the 11 BCS title winners nine teams (and the past six consecutive) have had at least eight wins the season prior to winning the championship. All have had at least seven.

Teams still fitting the profile: 37

3. Have a winning regular-season record in November-December games in the previous season. Winning games late in the season usually ensures a strong finish. Only LSU in 2002 -- with a 2-2 record in November and December -- claimed a BCS national championship without a winning record in those two months in the year before.

Teams still fitting the profile: 25.

Among those still standing are: Alabama (4-0), Boston College (4-1), California (3-2), Cincinnati (5-0), Florida (5-0), Georgia Tech (3-1), Iowa (3-1), Michigan State (3-1), Mississippi (4-0), Missouri (3-1), Nebraska (3-1), Northwestern (3-1), Ohio State (3-0), Oklahoma (4-0), Oregon (3-1), Oregon State (4-1), Penn State (3-1), Pittsburgh (4-1), Rutgers (4-0), Texas (3-1), Texas Tech (3-1), USC (5-0), Wake Forest (3-2), West Virginia (3-2) and Virginia Tech (3-1).

4. Have a junior or senior quarterback with some playing experience. All 11 teams that have won BCS national titles have had a junior or senior playing. All but Tee Martin of Tennessee had starting experience entering the season.

Teams still fitting the profile: 17.

Among those still alive are: California (Kevin Riley), Cincinnati (Tony Pike), Florida (Tim Tebow), Georgia Tech (Josh Nesbitt), Iowa (Richard Stanzi), Mississippi (Jevan Snead), Northwestern (Mike Kafka), Oklahoma (Sam Bradford), Oregon (Jeremiah Masoli), Oregon State (Lyle Moevao), Penn State (Daryll Clark), Pittsburgh (Bill Stull), Texas (Colt McCoy), USC (Mitch Mustain), Wake Forest (Riley Skinner), West Virginia (Jarrett Brown) and Virginia Tech (Tyrod Taylor).

5. Have six returning defensive starters from a unit that ranked in the top 20 in scoring defense in the previous season. Eight of the past nine teams to have won the BCS title have had a defense in the nation's top 20 in scoring defense the previous season (Florida was 46th in 2007) and all but one team (1998 Tennessee) returned at least six starters from their previous season's defense.

Teams still fitting the profile: 6.

Those teams that are eligible include Florida (fourth in scoring defense, 11 returning starters), Iowa (fifth in scoring defense, eight returning starters), Mississippi (20th in scoring defense, eight starters), Texas (18th in scoring defense, seven starters), West Virginia (11th in scoring defense, eight starters) and Virginia Tech (ninth in scoring defense, seven starters).

The formula has been accurate over the years. Of the seven teams that fit the profile coming into last season -- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Rutgers, USC, and Wake Forest -- all won at least eight games and Florida won the national championship. The team the Gators beat for the national title, Oklahoma, was not included among those on the list.

So keep these trends in mind this season. It might be the reason why we end up seeing Texas and Florida playing for the national championship, if not Iowa, Mississippi, West Virginia or Virginia Tech at the Rose Bowl.

Arnaud learned early about rivalry with Hawkeyes

September, 8, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

To say that Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud has been raised on the importance of the Cyclones' rivalry with Iowa would be an understatement.

Arnaud's father, John, was a three-year starter for the Cyclones from 1978-81, earning the nickname of "Landshark" because of his ferocious hitting in the secondary. And he infused his son with the same kind of fierce determination for beating ISU's cross-state rivals from an early age.

"There were always Iowa fans around when I was a kid," Arnaud said. "But I was the one to talk up the Cyclones. I used to have my gear on everything from head to toe when I was a little kid."

The rivalry is just as important after Arnaud chose to follow in the footsteps of his father as a Cyclone player. He's sharing snaps with Phillip Bates as the Cyclones prepare for their game against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City on Saturday.

Despite starting both games, Arnaud has been kept on a tight leash by ISU coach Gene Chizik. The rotation has helped the Cyclones jump to a 2-0 record, scoring at least 40 points in each of their first two games for the first time since 1976.

"He's been a little up and down as we thought he would be," Chizik said. "But he's done some nice things. And there have been some things that he and we wish he could take back. But those are growing plains we're prepared to deal with."

Arnaud's statistics have been impressive, completing 20 of 26 passes for 264 yards and two TD passes as he ranks third in the Big 12 in passing efficiency. Arnaud also has added two rushing touchdowns.

But Bates, who is considered the more elusive runner, has had his moments as well, rushing for a team-leading 138 yards and passing for 109 more.

"Austen hasn't thrown the interceptions he threw last year and he's controlled and managed the offense well," Chizik said. "He's done a nice job and to this point we're proud of him and Phillip. But we've got to continue to improve."

Interestingly, Iowa is also handling a similar two-quarterback platoon as junior Jake Christensen and sophomore Ricky Stanzi are sharing snaps for the Hawkeyes.

While the shared snaps aren't ideal for Arnaud, they aren't unfamiliar. He was involved in a similar platoon late last season with Bret Meyer that helped spark the Cyclones to two victories in their final three games in 2007.

"It's definitely tough sharing the role and I don't have really advice for them," Arnaud said. "It's a week-long process focusing and getting ready. And I approach it the same way when Phillip is in the game. You always have to be ready to go back in and do what you can."

ISU has dominated the recent series, claiming seven of the last 10 games in the Cy-Hawk Rivalry. The importance of the game is elevated because of the lack of major-league sports in Iowa.

"This game is huge ... it's important to a lot of people," Chizik said. "There are so many passionate people for both Iowa and Iowa State. We don't have the NFL or the NBA or things like that in this state and this becomes the substitute for professional sports. This state will be in a frenzy and that's what makes it important. It's bragging rights for 365 days."

The game couldn't be coming at a better time, providing a few moments of levity after the calamitous floods that have struck Eastern Iowa throughout the summer.

"This state needs this game after all it went through," Chizik said. "At least for the next week we'll be able take our minds all of the troubles and woes. It's important that we're playing this game and it will be fun."