August 31, 2006

Conference Capsule: Cyclones ready for test

Junior quarterback Bret Meyer and Iowa State kicks off the 2006 season for the Big 12 Conference when they face dangerous Toledo at Jack Trice Stadium Thursday at 7 p.m. The Rockets will be the first of nine bowl teams for Cyclones, who were picked by the Big 12 media to finish second in the North division but will shoulder the nation's second-toughest schedule this season.

Toledo, a relatively unheralded team nationally, is a heck of a way to start the fall. Iowa State and North Carolina are the only two teams that will play at least nine bowl teams in 2006.

"We've got everybody but the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburg Steelers on this deal," said Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney, who enters his 12th season. "There are only two of us who are playing nine bowl teams, but you know how much sympathy we're going to get around college football or our opponents? None. We know that and so we're embracing the schedule. We're loaded with outstanding challenges. You get a chance to coach and play against the best and you get a chance to do it starting Thursday night. It better bring out the best in all of us at Iowa State."

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