Iowa State was always one of the little guys in the old Big 12 Conference.
The Cyclones did make some noise nationally in basketball under coach Larry Eustacy. Iowa made an Elite Eight appearance during the 1999-2000 season and returned to the NCAA Tournament the follow year but couldn't advance.
The football team had some decent seasons under coach Dan McCarney. The Cyclones went to five minor bowl games and captured a first-place tie for the north division title. Paul Rhoads, in his first season last year, led the Cyclones to another minor bowl win.
So it's not to say that the Cyclones haven't had their moments in the Big 12, but nothing to have other conference members stand up and take notice. People across the nation don't talk much about Iowa State athletics either.
Iowa State needs to become more competitive in the new Big 12. Iowa State fans are generally patient and content fans. Throw them a bone occasionally and they are happy.
I hope Iowa State takes the additional money (supposedly) it receives and improves the product. The Cyclones need to make consistent trips to the NCAA Tournament and play in a bowl game virtually every year. It's not enough anymore to reflect the trying attitude. The Cyclones need to beat Kansas consistently in basketball again and upset Texas and/or Oklahoma occasionally in football. They need the nation to talk about this school on a regular basis.
This might become a tall order, but Iowa State needs to show its worth to the new Big 12 Conference.