My alma mater notched their biggest win of the season on Saturday, as Iowa State held off Texas for a 28-21 win in Austin, Texas.  Longhorns quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw three interceptions, and Cyclone defenders had their hands on several other passes.  A guy who really caught my attention was ISU punter Kirby Van Der Kamp, who blasted a 74 yard punt and had several other good efforts.

After a surprisingly good 7-6 season in Paul Rhoads’ first season as coach last year, there were plenty of reasons for pessimism going into this year.  The 2010 season featured some great opponents that were missing from the 2009 schedule – conference games against Oklahoma and Texas and the non-conference tilt against Utah.  The game against in-state rival Iowa would be in Iowa City instead of Ames.

Eight games into the season, the squad stands at 4-4.  In addition to losses to big guns Iowa, Oklahoma, and Utah, the Cyclones lost a heartbreaker against a good Kansas State team.  On the plus side, Iowa State also knocked off  Texas Tech 52-38.

At the beginning of the season, I was hard pressed to find a scenario that would lead to a bowl for Iowa State.  I’m a pretty optimistic person, but generally temper things with a bit of realism, and my scenarios kept topping out at 5-7.  However, with four games left in the season, a bowl game is a real possibility.  We have games left against Kansas and Colorado, who have combined for zero conference wins this year.  The two toughest games – Nebraska and Missouri – are both home games.  Running the table is probably out of the question, but the Cyclones should definitely get to six games if they continue to “hit that line and hit it hard”.

Who sits atop the Big 12 South standings at the moment?  Yeah, you guessed it.  Baylor.

Another happy result from Saturday was Navy’s 35-17 win over the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.  I have no real reason to cheer for Navy, but I do like to see Notre Dame take a beating.  The 4-4 Irish will face tough tests in at least two of their remaining games, against Utah and USC.  The Notre Dame – USC game always puts me in the awkward position of wanting both teams to lose.

In the “where the #$*^ did that come from” department, the Oakland Raiders put the smack down on longtime rivals the Denver Broncos, 59-14.  For at least a day, fans had to stop bashing Al Davis and stand in awe of that which the Raiders wrought.

Flipping the page to baseball … The Texas Rangers knocked off the “best” team that money could buy, sending the Yankees packing.  The Rangers raced out to a 3 games to 1 lead before finishing off the Yankees in six games.  On the opposite side of the bracket, the Giants put an end to the Phillies reign of terror, halting their run of NL pennants at three.  The NLCS was the only series I have picked incorrectly in my pool, but it ended up clinching a victory for me.  I have Texas picked to win it all, and my other guy had the Phillies.

An interesting note … the Rangers scored at least six runs in all four of their wins against the Yankees.  The Giants scored no more than six runs in any of the NLCS games.  What to expect in the World Series?  Some really good starting pitching.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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