Don Henley’s lyrics from “The Boys of Summer” used to resonate as an anthem of sorts for the sport that dominated the American landscape and became America’s past-time, but now that is all in the past and once September hits, the sporting world changes drastically. Football! Football! Football! It’s here ladies and gentlemen!
The past year has been extremely interesting for me because I graduated from Iowa, and as anyone could probably gather after talking to to me for any amount of time, I am kind of a die-hard Hawkeye fan. That being said, I now actually spend quite a bit of time looking at and talking about the Black and Gold’s bitter rival, The Iowa State Cyclones because of my new endeavors. I’ve even gone so far as to do research and talk civilly with Head Coach Paul Rhoads, and media members from CycloneFanatic.com and the schools Play-by-Play announcer John Walters. I have a new appreciation for the rivalry, as well as each team/program, and I have decided to break down the Cyclones with the Hawkeyes. Equally.
Boooooooo Tyler, Booooooo!! Get over yourselves.
Let’s start with Iowa State so that way you haters have to read all the way through to get to the Hawkeyes. (Yes, I’m very well aware that you could just click over to the Hawkeyes preview, but I hope that you hold yourself to a higher standard.) Here we go.
Retrospective: The 2011 Season: 6-7 overall, 3-6 in Big 12
9/3/11: FCS #7 Defeated Northern Iowa 20-13 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames
9/10/11: Defeated State-Rival Iowa 44-41 3OT at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames
9/16/11: Defeated Connecticut Huskies 24-20 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
10/1/11: Lost to #17 Texas 14-37 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames
10/8/11: Lost to #25 Baylor 26-49 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco
10/15/11: Lost to Missouri 17-52 at Faurot Field in Columbia
10/22/11: Lost to #18 Texas A & M 17-33 at 17-33 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames
10/29/11: Defeated #20 Texas Tech 41-7 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock
11/5/11: Defeated Kansas 13-10 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames
11/18/11: Defeated #2 Oklahoma State 37-31 2 OT at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames
11/26/11: Lost to #11 Oklahoma 6-26 at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman
12/3/11 : Lost to #15 Kansas State 23-30 at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium in Manhattan
12/30/11: Lost to Rutgers 13-27 at Yankee Stadium in the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City
The Team Itself:
Iowa State finished the season last year with a green face and a weak, woozy stomach from the roller coaster that was 2011. The Cyclones had some incredible games where they played a full 4 quarters and they had the opposite, where they played all of a minute or 2 or might as well have stayed home. Head Coach Paul Rhoads is entering his 4th season in Ames and there is a lot of promise for the Cyclone coach, as he just signed a huge 10 year contract worth $20 Million. The storyline in 2011 was leadership wavering from week to week, and they will look to put together a full season with some consistency.
Head Coach Paul Rhoads just signed a big contract to extend him for 10 years along with Director of
Athletics Jamie Pollard getting a new big deal as well. Coach Rhoads is going into his 4th season as the head hancho at Iowa State and he has had some success, but he has also been a victim to the tough competition level and tough scheduling. Overall he is 18-20 with a 9-16 conference record. He has been able to get his squad into postseason play 2 times, with a victory in the Insight Bowl in 2009 and a loss in the Pinstripe Bowl in 2011 to Rutgers. Behind Coach Rhoads there is a good staff of guys including Courtney Messingham who has been with the team now for 4 seasons, and was named the Offensive Coordinator after last season. On the defensive side of the ball Wally Burnham has been a staple in college football and will continue to look to make Iowa State’s defensive prowess grow.
When the offense was good in 2011, it was good, and when the offense was bad in 2011 it was sickening. After starting the season 3-0 with big victories coming against The Hawkeyes in Ames and Northern Iowa Steel Jantz seemed to be the QB for Offensive Coordinator Courtney Messingham. The wheels came flying off for the offense after they lost 4 games in the Big 12 that has notoriously been offensively driven. After the 4 game losing streak QB Jared Barnett emerged as the starter and led the Cyclones to big victories over ranked opponent Texas Tech and again over #2 Oklahoma State, keeping the Cowboys out of the BCS title game. Iowa State returns both QB’s and Paul Rhoads named Steele Jantz the starter before the season. They return starting RB’s James White and Jeff Woody who should make for a formidable pairing in the backfield behind Jantz, and should get quite a few touches. The offensive line and keeping the QB safe was a problem last season, and Coach Rhoads hopes that his offensive line can keep Jantz safe and get rid of some of the tunrovers. Having WR’s get open was a problem, but senior Josh Lenz and youngsters Quenton Bundrage (RS FR), Tad Ecby (RS FR), and Jarvis West (RS SO), aligned with Chris Young, Justin Coleman, Albert Gary and Jerome Tiller will try to make an impact at the WR position. Look for lots of guys to get touches early in the year while Jantz develops relationships with his receivers.
The Iowa State Defense is flanked by one of the best linebacking cores in the country, regardless of who you talk to; A.J. Klein and Jake Knott are monsters with experience and the tools to make Iowa State’s defensive backfield formidable. They have a long way to go as the Cyclone pass defense was dead last in the Big 12 in 2011 and 111th in the country. A big part of the defense will be how the holes that graduated senior defensive linemen Patrick Neal and Jake Lattimer leave gaping, in the trenches. The nose guard position will be dean of the defensive linemen, with Jake McDonough, who has started 13 games for the Cyclones. The passing defense will need to get much better and losing 2nd team all Big 12 d-back Leonard Johnson to graduation. There is a lot to watch on this defense and a lot of question marks that will hopefully be answered for Coach Rhoad’s staff sooner than later because they have one of the toughest schedules in the country.
9/1/12: Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane hail from conference USA and go into this match-up in week one as the favorite with a -1 point spread. The squad finished 8-5 in 2011 with losses to exceptional teams all ranked in the top 10 in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Boise, Houston, and then BYU in Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. There will be a sense of urgency for both teams in this one with Tulsa’s schedule dropping off immensely following week 1. Iowa State should have a chip on their shoulder, going into this game being the underdog at Jack Trice. The Cyclones should be able to rally around the leaders on defense and slow down Tulsa’s high powered offensive attack and get a victory in week 1. The history is with Iowa State if they can hold Tulsa under 24 points, so if they can do that, they should be able to take down the Hurricane.
Iowa State 34 Tulsa 24
9/8/12: Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, IA
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9/15/12: Western Illinois Leathernecks at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA
Western Illinois finished 2011 with a 6 game losing streak and shouldn’t be a problem for Cy in Ames, but Iowa State needs to be careful to not have a huge hangover after the Iowa game because anything can happen with a team like Iowa State as they have been the past few year. Inconsistent.
Iowa State 37 Western Illinois 10
9/29/12: Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA
Iowa State embarrassed Tech in Lubbock in 2011, knocking Tech down the totem pole and deflating a team who had just upset Oklahoma. Tech will look to bounce back against the Cyclones with a veteran offense, returning Seth Doege under center and Eric Stephens and Deandre Washington in the backfield. The Red Raiders will put a prototypical Big 12 squad on the field, with a lackluster defense and a high powered offense. Iowa State will need to get its ducks in a row and then some to make up for the revenge factor and the quality offense. The game being at Jack Trice keeps it close, but Iowa State falls in the end.
Texas Tech 42 Iowa State 35
10/6/12: Texas Christian (TCU) Horned Frogs at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas
TCU comes into the season ranked #20 after winning the Mountain West in 2011 and making the shift to the Big 12 this year. Gary Patterson has developed a feeder system in Fort Worth of guys stepping in and making an impact immediately and there is hardly a better example than QB Casey Pachall. Pachall stepped in last year after Andy Dalton moved on to greener pastures and Sunday football. Pachall sparkled in the MWC, earning first team all conference honors, throwing for 2700+ yards and 24 scores as a sophomore. He is built like a pro style QB and he has a solid supporting cast. The Horned Frogs have a backfield who works well together, who recored over 2,000 total yards in 2011 and they all return. The TCU defense has been a mainstay on the elite defenses list during Gary Patterson’s tenure at the school and that does not change. Iowa State will have to lock down the offense on both fronts to stop the run as well as the pass in order to slow down TCU. The Cyclones will need to get the offense moving in the first four games if they want to be fine-tuned enough to beat TCU on the road. I simply don’t see that happening. TCU will not have been tested yet after playing worthless teams the first four weeks, but they shouldn’t have a problem with ISU.
TCU 38 Iowa State 14
10/13/12: Kansas State Wildcats at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA
The Wildcats boast one of the most dynamic back-fields in the NCAA coming into 2011. QB Collin Klein has Heisman hopeful type speed and skill, much like Robert Griffin III did in 2011, and the tailback behind him is no slouch in junior John Hubert, who without question should scamper for 1,000+ yards. The biggest issue for Kansas State to translate the stars statistics with victories is the offensive AND defensive lines. 2011 saw Hanson, Freese, and Aufner all leave from the offensive line that did so well to protect Klein, and they will need to have somebody step up big. Iowa State will need to be firing on all cylinders to get past the Wildcats in this one, and I believe they have a decent shot. The K-State offense has too much hinging on the offensive line, which has holes, and Iowa State will hopefully have a fighting chance the score some points on a depleted defense.
Iowa State 48 Kansas State 45
10/20/12: Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium in StillWater, Oklahoma
Nobody in their right mind would pick Iowa State to win this game. I will go ahead and say that as a disclaimer right now. The Cowboys have their questions marks, yes, but the revenge factor holds no truer in any other game in College Football then it does in this one. Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon are gone, but many fail to realize that the Cowboys in StillWater have a great running combination in All-Conference FB Kye Stanley and TB Joseph Randall. The offensive line lost a lot and JR QB Clint Chelf is about as unproven as a guy gets, but this offense will reload as it has done in the past. Remember a guy by the name of Dez Bryant. Who stepped in for him? Justin Blackmon. Kendall Hunter? Joseph Randall. Zac Robinson? Brandon Weeden. The offense will be fine. Special teams matters and Quinn Sharp is the best kicker/punter in the country. Move over Tyrann Mathieu and your drug addiction, because they have an incredible CB in StillWater as well in Broderick Brown, who should be a first round pick come Spring. The Cyclones have no shot in this game.
Oklahoma State 48 Iowa State 24
10/27/12: Baylor Bears at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA
The 2011 Baylor Bears made everyone forget how pitiful the schools football history is with a quality season, led by Heisman Trophy victory Robert Griffin III. Griffin was great and RB Terrance Ganaway broke Baylor school records (Yes, I bet you didn’t know that), but it will be extremely tough for the Baylor Bears to make any real impact on the Big 12. After playing at West Virginia, chasing Geno Smith around the field for an hour, getting down and dirty with TCU at home, and traveling to Austin to play what hopes to be a revitalized Longhorn team, Baylor will be tired and beat up. Iowa State on the other hand should be ready and rearing to go after getting away from Oklahoma State still alive with a nice 4-3 record. The offense should be able to fire on all cylinders and the linebackers should be allowed to pick apart newly anointed QB Nick Florence and his inexperienced skilled counterparts. There will be points, but Iowa State should be able to out gun-sling Baylor
Iowa State 49 Baylor 42
11/3/12: Oklahoma Sooners at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA
Oklahoma QB Landry Jones is a legitimate Heisman contender in 2012 with a strong resume, coming into the year with 4,000+ yards last season and 28 scores through the air, not to mention he is Oklahoma’s all-time passing leader and will just be adding to that total in 2012. Jones will need to eliminate the turnovers, but he is a year older and a year wiser. Four out of five starters come back on the offensive line, flanked by All-American Center Gabe Ikard. The Sooners are going to be powerful on the offensive side of the ball. They will look like a typical Big 12 team, with a high powered offense and defense with tons of talent, but underperforming. Iowa State will hopefully be able to keep it close against Oklahoma, but losing the defensive line guys that Iowa State did in the offseason, will prove to be detrimental, with Landry Jones being allowed to pick apart the Cyclone defense.
Oklahoma 45 Iowa State 7
11/10/12: Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas
Texas still needs to find a QB, but once they settle on one this team should be able to compete for a Big 12 Title. The Longhorns were extremely young in 2011 and return practically everyone, which is something to be said about Texas because they always have incredible talent. David Ash and Case McCoy will compete for the starting job, with one of them eventually get the nod. The age old adage goes, “if you have 2 QB’s you have none.” That could definitely be the downfall for Texas this year, but Mack Brown should be able to figure it out before this Saturday. The Defense is stout, with a good mix of upper-classmen with plenty of experience. Iowa State should be coming into this game with no expectation out of the sheer fact that Texas is a much better team on both sides of the ball and the Cyclones have only won once in Austin in the history of its program.
Texas 45 Iowa State 17
11/17/12: Kansas Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas
The new head coach in Lawrence is the one and only Charlie Weis. Will the guy finally succeed at Kansas? He might, but it won’t be this year. Former Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist transferred and he will probably get the nod to start at the beginning of the season. Kansas started out 2-0 last year, but lost 10 games straight. This one should be a nice break for the Cyclones to get an easy win.
Iowa State 35 Kansas 7
11/23/12: West Virginia Mountaineers at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA
If you have been following along thus far and keeping track, Iowa State would go into this game with 5 wins, on the cusp of being
bowl eligible with 6 wins. West Virginia is interesting in and of itself because it won a lackluster Big East last season, but has a very good roster. QB Geno Smith is a Heisman candidate. If you have been keeping track of that as well, Collin Klein, Landry Jones, Geno Smith, Seth Doege, and Casey Pachall are all exceptional QB’s who could have outstanding years. Geno Smith is the QB that has the supporting cast to make his season extremely memorable, ending up in New York hoisting a trophy. His receiving core is made up of 2011 Big East All Conference receiver Stedman Bailey and 2011 All-American Tavon Austin. The defense is questionable after losing the two impact linemen in Irvin and Miller, as well as Linebackers Goode and Casey Vance. If West Virginia can figure out who the play makers on on defense they have a great shot at winning the Big 12. Iowa State’s linebackers and secondary will have its hands ful with that cast of catchers. The secondary was pitiful in 2011 and I find it hard to believe they will be good enough to beat Geno Smith’s supporting cast. That being said, they should have no problem going into Ames and getting a victory.
West Virginia 48 Iowa State 35
Record: 5-7 Overall 3-6 Big 12
After starting 2-1 (yes I’m referencing the Iowa game as the loss, even though I don’t disclose how or score here), the Cyclones have a tough go of it. They have one of the toughest schedules going in to the season and although signs point to Iowa State fielding a quality team this year, it is extremely difficult to see them winning more than 4-5 games and becoming bowl eligible. Head Coach Paul Rhoads is doing some great things in Ames right now and things are starting to look brighter for the future, and that will continue to become apparent slowly over the next few seasons, but the conference and schedule is much too difficult for the Cyclones to expect a great deal of wins this season.