It’s that time of year again when we’re all sitting around excited for summer, but also trying to peek ahead to get closer to the college football season. There are only 113 days until the first full Saturday of college football, but who’s counting, right? Definitely not me.
So let’s get to our best-case and worst-case scenario for each team in the Big 12 Conference. It’s the time of year when fans want to look at the schedule and see everything that can go right, but let’s be honest, there will be a team that will have the kind of season where everything goes wrong. So let’s go to Ames, Iowa and take a look at the Iowa State Cyclones.
Iowa State Best-Case Scenario: 10-2
First things first, Iowa State’s opener against Northern Iowa does not get cancelled by lightning. That’s a good start. Then they do something they have yet to do under Matt Campbell: beat their rival Iowa Hawkeyes. A win over Louisiana-Monroe puts the Cyclones at 3-0 in non-conference play heading into Big 12 action. That kicks off with a big road match at Baylor, a game between two teams hoping to challenge the top of the conference standings. The Cyclones win and improve to 4-0. A home win over a TCU team still trying to figure out its quarterback situation puts Iowa State and 5-0 and likely into the Top 15 of the national rankings. However two tough road games result in a split with West Virginia in Morgantown followed by Texas Tech in Lubbock. Arguably the toughest part of the schedule picks up right before Halloween with Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas in three-straight games. Considering Iowa State hasn’t had a bye week since Week 2, a 2-1 record over this stretch would be incredible. The season closes out with two wins over the Kansas schools and Iowa State finished 10-2 and clinches a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Iowa State Worst-Case Scenario: 4-8
The Cyclones avoid a weather cancellation to start the season, but then continue their struggles against Iowa and lose their fifth-straight game to the Hawkeyes. For all of the good Matt Campbell has done for Ames, his inability to beat the in-state arch rival starts to nag at Iowa State fans. A win over Louisiana-Monroe is followed by the Big 12 opener in Waco, where Baylor proves that it is the team to best challenge Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12 and not the Cyclones. This kicks off a stretch of three road games in four weeks, with a home test at TCU followed by road games against West Virginia and Texas Tech. Iowa State goes 1-2 over those three games and finds itself at 3-4 heading into the toughest part of the season: vs. Oklahoma State, at Oklahoma and vs. Texas. And 0-3 it is. The offense is missing pieces like David Montgomery and Hakeem Butler and the defense, for all its ability, can’t carry the team like it needs right now. The Cyclones are now 3-7 and out of bowl eligibility. They split the final two games of the season against Kansas and Kansas State. A 4-8 finish is certainly not what Iowa State fans had in mind to keep the momentum going from the last two years. Campbell has his quarterback in Brock Purdy but finds himself back to the drawing board preparing for 2020.
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