Team preview: Iowa State

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(All information as of June 20, 2008)

The first year of head coach Gene Chizik's career at Iowa State went about as well as could be expected. He took over a program that hadn't been much better than mediocre in recent times, and his most talented holdovers on offense and defense had to learn new schemes. The sidelines were filled with new faces, from the entire coaching staff to 10 junior college transfers brought on board to fight for starting jobs.

In the end, 2007 was a classic case of taking a step back before you can go forward -- but by the end of the season, progress was clearly evident.

True, the Cyclones won only three games, but two of those victories came in November -- one against bowl-bound Colorado, a week after the Cyclones had snapped a six-game losing streak by knocking off Kansas State.

And positive signs were showing up even before the wins arrived in Ames. Two weeks before the Kansas State victory, the Cyclones led No. 4 Oklahoma 7-0 midway through the third quarter, and came within a tipped interception at the goal line of tying the game in the fourth quarter of an eventual 17-7 home loss to the Sooners.