Anonymous Big 12 Coach on Iowa State Football: ‘Their Issues are Talent-Based’

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Iowa

Preview magazine season is here as we roll into the back half of June, and college football fans begin to set their eyes on the things to come in the year ahead.

Along with Phil Steele and Lindy’s, Athlon Sports has made a name for itself as one of the giants in the preview magazine business, cementing itself as a mainstay on grocery store shelves across the nation.

This magazine, in particular, has long had a segment during this part of the season when they ask coaches anonymously about the other schools in their league.

It’s here where we’ll take a look at what one Big 12 coach has to say about the Iowa State Cyclones.


Matt Campbell’s group is coming off a 7-6 campaign, but thanks to a 6-3 record in league play, they finished in fifth place in the Big 12. The Cyclones return 85% of their production from a season ago (second nationally) and look like they could be in contention for a conference title if things break right.

However, that will take something that we haven’t seen from Iowa State in a few years, and that’s a level of talent that matches the elite culture and schemes that we see in Ames.

“Their issues are talent-based, not scheme, not culture,” a Big 12 coach said. “They don’t have the guys they need year in and out. Are they going to change and adapt to the transfer world? Can you still win a league like ours just relying on the recruit-and-develop system? They added a few pieces this year, so maybe they’re changing up.”


Matt Campbell is entering his ninth season at Iowa State and looks like he might have the pieces for the best team that he’s had since 2020, when the Cyclones finished 9-3 and were No. 9 in the final polls.

Whether they get there or not, though, this year will tell us a lot about Campbell and his program.

“This will be a really telling season for Matt Campbell. Can he rebuild that program in the portal and NIL era? A few years ago, it seemed like his name was out there for every job, and then they fell back to earth.”

Iowa State will open the 2024 season against North Dakota on Saturday, August 31. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT, and coverage will be provided on ESPN+.

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