Iowa State begins the second half of the longest season in school history with a 5-1 overall mark and 2-0 record in the Big 12. Cyclone coach Dan McCarney says the good start makes this week’s game against Texas Tech even more important. He says the more games they win, the more they have to play for, and every loss eliminates the team from something.The good start has the Cyclones ranked 11th and a win could see them break into the top ten. McCarney says the ranking doesn’t mean much right now, as it and 75 cents will get you a can of pop. He says it does serve to give good publicity to the program and show how far they’ve come.Even with the great start, McCarney says there’s plenty of things left for the team to do.Texas Tech is 4-2 and 1-0 in the conference.Iowa enters their game against Michigan State this week ranked 17th and 2-0 in the Big Ten. Throw out that second-half letdown against Iowa State and the Hawkeyes would be 6-0. Coach Kirk Ferentz won’t say the good start is a surprise. He says he didn’t really know how well they’d do. Iowa’s one win away from qualifying for a bowl game with six games left in the season. Ferentz says that sets the team up to go beyond last year’s bowl winning season, a goal they had.All the remaining games are conference contests, and Ferentz says the team’s fortunes can change in a hurry if they don’t play well.Michigan State is 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the conference.