So here is 2020 for you.
This week in Big 12 conference play, the tied-for-last-place Oklahoma Sooners will come to Ames Iowa to play the tied-for-first-place Cyclones.
Yes, it’s a very small sample size and it may be the only time we write something like this, but it sure does summarize 2020 in a nutshell.
All kidding aside, I see a crossroads for Iowa State that we have came to many times under the Matt Campbell era here at Iowa State.
Usually when we are at these crossroads, we get blindsided by a second-string quarterback or the coming out game for another team, and after our first step into the road we are right back to where we started. Could-a-should-a-woulda.
It’s been since 2015 that Iowa State has started conference play 1-0. Yet that was before Matt Campbell’s time here, and (checks notes) against the Kansas Jayhawks.
Yet we have seen in the past few years Matt Campbell’s teams begin to flourish in October. Hence the mantras such as “Brocktober” becoming synonymous with the season.
They have lost only one game the past three seasons in the month of October (10-1), and that includes five road games. This also includes their impressive win at Oklahoma in 2017.
The Oklahoma Sooners come into Jack Trice Stadium this Saturday fresh off a loss to Kansas State at home. A loss that saw a 21-point second half lead evaporate as Kansas State came back to win in the final seconds. This last three seasons Oklahoma has lost only one game in conference play each year.
The juggernauts of the Big 12 usually suffer their loss early in the season, as coach Lincoln Riley is still fitting the pieces of his offense together. Then they roll.
But this is 2020, and so all the previous historical statistics will likely prove irrelevant.
And this Saturday – something’s gotta give.
Each season Iowa State’s fan base looks back at frustratingly slow starts, and Matt Campbell’s seemingly laissez faire attitude towards non-conference opponents.
Maybe this is the year we can at last take that next step as a program and compete for the conference championship. We can then put the doubters on the visitors sidelines in 110 degree heat in Waco without tents (sick burn).
Oklahoma is standing in our way. The difference of 2-0 and 1-1 in the conference rides on Saturday’s game.
Here is great tidbit for Iowa State fans if you want some optimism heading into Saturday’s match up: Iowa State is 3-0 when wearing the all black uniforms onto the field at Jack Trice. Will Grier is still looking over his shoulder to this day.
They are also 3-0 in the last three night games played in Ames, which usually coincides with them wearing the black out jerseys.
This Saturday, something will have to give.
Oklahoma coming off a loss is 3-0 the past three years. And they have the talent and stars to beat any team, man-for-man, in the conference, even with a struggling defense.
Last year, OU was in the same situation. This isn’t new ground for Lincoln Riley. Last year they lost to Kansas State and faced the Cyclones the following week. I’ll note, It was one week out of October.
The Sooners beat Iowa State, outlasting a fourth quarter two-point conversion and the rest, as they say, is history.
But in 2020 what is the importance of history, or the norm?
Well this Saturday, at 6:30 on ABC under the big lights of prime time, we are going to find out what is gonna give.
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