When Iowa State Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads met with his team to inform them of what they already know -- that Mark Mangino is out as offensive coordinator -- he may have also shared some bulletin board material with his players, courtesy of Texas Longhorns junior defensive tackle Paul Boyette:
Texas DT Paul Boyette: "Iowa State's not a very good team. One week can play well, and the next week they can be flat."— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) October 26, 2015
One could substitute Texas in that sentence and it wouldn't be be any less accurate.
Actually, it might be more accurate -- Iowa State is currently ranked above Texas in S&P+ and the gap was even bigger last week before the Horns beat the Wildcats and the Cyclones lost to the Bears. Now Paul Rhoads' team sits at No. 72 nationally and head coach Charlie Strong's team slots at No. 76 nationally.
Even with the close rankings, the win probability for the game is currently 29 percent for Texas on Saturday night in Ames, with a projected margin of 9.4 points. Now, the Horns have already achieved a much more improbable win after beating the Sooners facing a 6 percent win probability, so winning this game shouldn't be a problem, right?
Well, recent history doesn't exactly suggest that Texas can walk into Jack Trice Stadium and come out with an easy win -- since 2010, the Horns have lost once to the Cyclones and needed late escapes in each of the last two seasons. It's not exactly Lubbock, but odd things have a tendency to happen in Ames at night. And Saturday night is also Halloween.
Between the stats and the superstitions, maybe it would have been better for Boyette to just pay the Cyclones some suspect and note that two good wins don't mean that the Longhorns can afford to take any opponents lightly.