Iowa State was ranked No. 17 in the AP poll entering their road game against Oklahoma State on Nov. 25, 1972, four months before the final United States combat troops left Vietnam. They were pummeled by the Cowboys, 45-14, and fell out of the top 25.
While the Cyclones have been ranked since the end of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, it sure feels like they haven't been ranked since 'Nam.
Iowa State has been ranked in eight separate seasons since 1973 (10 seasons all-time), only three of which have come since 1982. They were ranked one week in 2000, eight weeks in 2002 and three weeks in 2005. The 2002 team tied the program record for most weeks ranked in one season (1972 and 1978) when they peaked at 12th (Nov. 13, 1972) and 15th (Oct. 2, 1978), respectively. That team also recorded the highest ranking ever, reaching No. 9 following a 14-point home win over No. 11 Texas Tech on Oct. 12, 2002.
A week after beating the Red Raiders in 2002, Iowa State was throttled by No. 2 Oklahoma, 49-3, in Norman. That was followed by a loss at No. 7 Texas, win vs. unranked Missouri and 41-point shellacking at No. 12 Kansas State.
They didn't enter the top 25 again until 2005, when they were ranked for three consecutive weeks, starting with a No. 24 ranking on Sept. 11 — following a 20-point home win over No. 8 Iowa — and ending at No. 23 on Sept. 25, six days before losing to unranked Nebraska.
Iowa State hasn't been ranked since, a streak of 199 weeks. That streak should end with a win at Texas Tech on Saturday Though the Red Raiders fell out of the Week 7 poll (No. 24) following a road loss to West Virginia, there's enough meat on the bone to push the Cyclones, who received 16 votes (third-most of non-ranked teams) in the Week 8 poll, into the top 25.
If not, the streak will reach 200 weeks, by far the longest among current Big 12 teams.