In relative terms, Iowa State's 7-5 record last season with an appearance in the Houston Bowl would qualify as a success for a Cyclones' football program that's not exactly steeped in tradition.
However, a closer looks reveals a classic case of what could've been. Iowa State suffered three overtime losses -- yes, three -- all on the road and all in games where the Cyclones had second-half leads.
The fact that those overtime setbacks came against eventual bowl-winning teams in Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas didn't exactly soften the mental blow for Iowa State coach Dan McCarney.
But as he's prone to do, McCarney still tries to emphasize the positives from 2005.
"The point that we've made and we talk a lot about is obviously we're putting ourselves in a position to win a lot of games," said McCarney, now 52-77 in 11 seasons at ISU, making him the dean of Big 12 Conference coaches. "But (we've learned) those things are so important -- making the play, having the confidence, making the adjustment and being good enough and strong enough to outlast that other team and being able to win the game when it goes into overtime."