It’s a little strange to see an article of why Iowa State’s head coach Paul Rhoads should be fired just a week after the Cyclones hung with the No. 3 team in the nation for three quarters. However, that game proved much more than just exposing TCU’s vulnerability. Paul Rhoads could absolutely be the source of preventing this team from being a solid football team. It’s time to find a new head coach in Ames.
In his first four seasons, Rhoads posted a 24-27 record with three bowl appearances. Since then, the Cyclones have gone 7-23 (3-18 in Big 12). In addition, Rhoads has not captured a win against a rank opponent in over three years. The competition is the same, the scouting game has not drastically changed, yet Iowa State continues to get worse year after year.
Rhoads was known (to a lesser extent of Bill Snyder) in the Big 12 for making solid teams out of substandard recruiting classes in his early years. In recent years, though, Rhoads has had better recruiting classes than ever but continues to digress as a team. 2013 and 2014 were Rhoads’ No. 2 and No. 3 top recruiting classes (according to Rivals.com) but his two worst seasons in his six years as coach.
Second to wasted talent, Rhoads has melted under pressure a lot lately. He has come so close to winning big/close games but failed to pull them out. This year alone, Iowa State has already had three examples of this. Just last week, they led TCU 21-14 after the first quarter but failed to score past that quarter. In the second and third weeks of the season, they lost two must-win games. One came to Iowa 31-17 after entering the fourth quarter tied 17-17. The next loss came to Toledo in double overtime after a late missed chip-shot field goal.
In previous years, Iowa State blew a late lead to No. 20 Kansas State, stuck with No. 21 Oklahoma State for most of the game, gave No. 20 Texas Tech a scare, lost by one point to an 8-4 Mack Brown Texas team, dropped its last two bowl appearances, and much more.
Next to losing close games, Rhoads has some very bad losses on his record. After finishing last in the Big 12 last year, Iowa State officially joined Kansas as part of the conference’s laughing stock. In their 23 losses over the last 30 games, the Cyclones have averaged a 20.2 point deficit, including games dropped to Northern Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota State, and Toledo.
In the past three seasons, Iowa State has ranked awfully in main statistical categories. The table below shows how the Cyclones ranked nationally (according to cfbstats.com) in each category under Rhoads.
|Year||Total Offense||Total Defense||First Downs||3rd Down %||Scoring Offense||Scoring Defense||Sacks Allowed|
In Rhoads’ defense, this is not an easy job to have. Stuck in a midwest state lacking in young talent, Iowa State is not super appealing to young athletes (except maybe the recent success of the basketball team). And quite frankly, it is hardly appealing for any coach to step in to replace Rhoads if that time comes this year.
However, there are far better coaches out there that can actually make this team bowl-eligible once again. There’s talent in the receiving corp, secondary, and young athletes, but no one to transform them into quality players.
There was a point and time when Paul Rhoads seemed like the answer in Ames. But that time has come and passed. These players deserve better. Iowa State deserves better. The state of Iowa deserves better. The Big 12 deserves better. The fans and players are trying to do their part, but no one is there to lead them. It is time to cut ties and move on.