Cyclone fans, stop what you're doing. We're eight days out.
It's time for your annual slop of football predictions, courtesy of your favorite Iowa State hacks. We've predicted all 12 games for 2015 (Oklahoma's just here so it don't get fined), complete with a score, brief game analysis and God help us a bowl projection.
So grab a shovel and let's heave some coal into this hype train before it derails into a ravine of our own tears. Be sure to leave predictions of your own in the comments using the format we've provided for each writer below.
And before we get started, a quick look at last year's crystal (foot)ball gazing:
NormanUnderwood: 6-6 (4-5)
ClonesJer: 5-7 (3-6)
CylentButDeadly: 5-7 (3-6)
KnowDan: 6-6 (3-6)
GrappleCy: 5-7 (3-6)
CanAzn: 5-7 (3-6)
CyForPresident: 4-8 (2-7)
We call this "blowing sunshine up your ass" in the business. So here's to a more accurate 2015, much higher beer bongs and far less bleach...
UNI: The Cyclones get the UNI monkey off their back with an efficient offensive performance and a defense that makes a few surprising plays along the way.
ISU 34, UNI 17
Iowa: This feels like one of those years where ISU takes care of business against a team they should, and then turns around to lose a game they shouldn't. A defensive battle again because we can't have nice things, but Swoll stays swoll and keeps Iowa at bay.
ISU 20, Iowa 13
@Toledo: Echoing the Iowa sentiment above, this is a season where momentum matters and there's nothing bigger than starting 3-0. I'll be in Germany for this one and have been a Cyclone fan long enough to know you can't expect to wake up to positive results.
Toledo 34, ISU 31
Kansas: This won't be close.
ISU 35, Kansas 14
@Texas Tech: This might be the biggest game on the schedule if Iowa State wants to play in December. Alas, Iowa State is historically bad in Lubbock and only in 2011 did Iowa State look like they belonged down there.
TTU 31, ISU 28
TCU: Closer than you might guess because the Cyclones will have at least some able bodies on defense, but like last year TCU opens it up in the second half to pull away.
TCU 42, ISU 27
@Baylor: Wanted to pick this as the annual upset special, but I just can't.
Baylor 49, ISU 35
Texas: Twice in the past two seasons Iowa State has held a lead with under a minute to go and the defense on the field. Twice they have lost. Halloween Homecoming brings out some ghostly spirits to turn their fortunes around.
ISU 35, Texas 27
@Oklahoma: Bob Stoops' weakest team in years still won't lose to Iowa State.
Oklahoma 28, ISU 24
Oklahoma State: I don't buy in to an OSU team that spent most of last season as an abomination on offense and needing a Tyreek Hill punt return to make it to a bowl. They lose this one in Ames.
ISU 27, OSU 21
@Kansas State: If you're keeping score you'll notice Iowa State needs to win one of the next two to go bowling. What better time than to finally beat the Wizard for the first time since 2005, and K-State for the first time since 2007.
Which of course means it won't happen.
KSU 42, ISU 20
@West Virginia: Two of the three Riot Bowls have been classics, and Iowa State won in Morgantown two years ago. West Virginia is a sleeper pick to finish high in the Big XII this year but questions remain about their ability on offense. The wheels come off in Morgantown, but for the team hosting, not the one visiting.
ISU 31, WVU 23
Final Record: 6-6 (4-5)
Bonus Bowl Prediction: Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl vs Western Kentucky
Sam Richardson becomes the first non-Iowan to lead Iowa State to a bowl win and cements his legacy as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Cyclone history.
ISU 38, WKU 34
UNI: This one will be a close game until about midway through the second half, then ISU will score two late touchdowns to seal the deal.
ISU 42, UNI 28
Iowa: The Hawks get revenge by kicking a late field goal to return the nut punch we dealt them last year.
Iowa 24, ISU 21
@Toledo: The offense looks ugly in this one, but the defense forces some key turnovers to hold on for the win.
ISU 21, Toledo 17
Kansas: Sam Richardson finally gets his first win as a starting quarterback in a Big 12 game.
ISU 38, Kansas 10
@Texas Tech: The fighting Ryan Goslings take care of business at home. Playing Iowa State will be a breath of fresh air for them after opening up their conference schedule against TCU and Baylor.
TTU 35, ISU 21
TCU: Trevone Boykin puts up video game numbers and the ISU defense spends the next week on SportsCenter as ESPN reviews Boykin's Heisman caliber performance.
TCU 56, ISU 14
@Baylor: Tire fire intensity increases.
Baylor 42, ISU 17
Texas: Iowa State pulls out to a 21-14 lead at the half, then the offense takes a dump in the second half and Texas comes from behind to win. Probably some controversial call along the way, too. Rhoads blows a gasket in the post-game presser.
Texas 27, ISU 21
@Oklahoma: We're totally going to win at Oklahoma... NOT. Closer game than you might expect, though.
Oklahoma 38, ISU 28
Oklahoma State: Another close contest, but ISU loses their sixth consecutive Big 12 game. The "fire Rhoads" crowd stages a protest outside the Jacobson Building.
OSU 35, ISU 24
@Kansas State: After receiving the Jamie Pollard "GOT YOUR BACK, BRO" approval (much to the dismay of the Rhoads haters), CPR finally gets over the Bill Snyder hump and saves his job.
ISU 28, KSU 27
@West Virginia: A Cyclone-esque "meh" performance to close out the season in Morgantown.
WVU 41, ISU 21
Final Record: 4-8 (2-7)
Rhoads is around for another offseason despite the poor record. Cyclone fans are saved by an Elite Eight run out of the Prohman Legion.
UNI: Coach Farley and his merry band of Hawk lovin' Clone hatin' butt pirates do what they do.
UNI 32, ISU 21
Iowa 20, ISU 17
@Toledo: A MAC opponent on the road? ENGAGE TIRE FIRE
Toledo 42, ISU 28
Kansas: Coach Beaty gets his first road W
Kansas 3, ISU 0
@Texas Tech: The horse poops on the field, Richardson slips in the poop running out of the tunnel, and breaks every bone in his body
TTU 45, ISU 21
TCU 89, ISU 10
@Baylor: HAHA again
Baylor 73, ISU 2
Texas 31, ISU 13
Oklahoma, 52 ISU 7
Oklahoma State: Nope
OSU 21, ISU 10
@Kansas State: HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA
KSU 42, ISU 7
@West Virginia: Nope
WVU 32, ISU 3
Final Record: 0-12 (0-9)
Rhoads gets a contract extension, a street named after him, and a "hall pass" with Ellen Pollard.
UNI: Above all else Paul Rhoads can't afford to lose this game, and he won't.
ISU 30, UNI 20
Iowa: Iowa has held Iowa State to just 17.7 points per game in regulation in Ames under Kirk Ferentz, and word on the street is the Hawks' defense is making strides. I like the Cyclones to exceed that figure, and last year's 20-point output, but not by much. ISU wins its fourth Super Bowl in the last five years because this is the one thing Paul Rhoads does right.
ISU 24, Iowa 21
@Toledo: Toledo and Iowa State have met thrice since 2006, combining for 75 points a game, with the home team winning each matchup by an average of about a field goal. This is going to be fun as hell, but a week removed from a showdown at Arkansas, the MAC West favorites will be battle tested and hungry. Could be the most entertaining game all year.
Toledo 42, ISU 40
Kansas: I have no earthly idea how this shakes out for Kansas, but like the Northern Iowa game, you gotta win this. It doesn't have to be pretty, but you gotta win it.
ISU 34, Kansas 17
@Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are going to win this game based purely on scheduling. The Cyclones will have played just Toledo and Kansas in the span of three weeks before visiting Lubbock, while Texas Tech gets Arkansas, TCU and Baylor in back-to-back-to-back weeks. This will be a mental thing for Iowa State (and an anger thing for Tech) and I think the Kingsburys win big.
TTU 45, ISU 24
TCU: Trevone Boykin will be the Heisman favorite at this point, and TCU will probably be 6-0, but I just can't see this world domination by Gary Patterson sustaining for this long. Don't get me wrong, they move to 7-0 here (6-1 all-time vs. Iowa State) but Wally Burnham somehow brings them back down to earth a bit... kind of.
TCU 40, ISU 30
@Baylor: In both 2004 and 2009, Iowa State followed 2-10 seasons with bowl-eligible campaigns (7-5 both years). You know what else they did both years? They beat Baylor. Chugga. Chugga. Choo fucking choo.
ISU 38, Baylor 35
Texas: I heard a spectacular take on ISU-Texas the other day: "If Texas boosters are paying off Big 12 refs and all they're getting is eking out wins against Iowa State, they need to demand more for their money." And it's true. Winless in Ames... 1-11 all-time... It's never going to happen, guys. Not even on homecoming.
Texas 27, ISU 21
@Oklahoma: The last time the Cyclones beat Oklahoma in Norman, the score was 33-31. Sounds good. Sooners win for the 17th straight year.
Oklahoma 33, ISU 31
Oklahoma State: All I'm going to say here is that it's Senior Night, it's Oklahoma State, and the Cyclones are two wins away from bowl eligibility with three games to play. It's been four years since "that night," and although OSU won't be ranked No. 2 in the country come Nov. 14, this crop of seniors deserves to go out the same way. Like... the exact same way.
ISU 37, OSU 31 (2 OT)
@Kansas State: The ease with which a 200 year old man takes an average team from Bumfuck, KS, and consistently beats us is alarming. Bill Snyder, taxes, Bill Snyder. Get it? Death joke.
KSU 31, ISU 24
@West Virginia: Word out of West Virginia's fall camp is that this defense is as good as its ever been under Dana Holgorsen. More often than not that spells trouble for the Cyclones. As badly as I want the stars to align for a bowl, I don't like Iowa State's chances in Morgantown on their Senior Night. This will be a knock-down, drag-out heartbreaker but Paul Rhoads earns himself another year at the helm — moral victory?
WVU 21, ISU 17
Final Record: 5-7 (3-6)
UNI: Panther-Hawks are furious after Sam Richardson doesn't get TKO'd through 60 minutes and gets the Clones off to a one game win streak. UNI looks forward to their real favorite team's rematch next week.
UNI 17, ISU 31
Iowa: The leader of the Hawkeyes' hand-holding pack takes a wrong turn and the team shows up half an hour late to warmups, while a Paul Rhoads inspirational speech runs 20 minutes long. Both teams stay out-of-sorts for the entirety of the game in what becomes known as the "Wait, Which Sport Are They Playing Again?" Bowl.
Iowa 10, ISU 17
@Toledo: The Cyclones finally step on the gas and hit their offensive potential, and the defense shows signs of reaching "Meh" levels.
Toledo 20, ISU 38
Kansas: This game quickly surpasses the "Which Sport Are They Playing Again?" Bowl in WTF-edness, and goes down in the cockles of Prime Time Pillow Fights history as one of the worst displays of football to ever be rolled out onto Jack Trice Stadium. The head coach of the West Des Moines Pop Warner League's Lil Lions feels confident with either match up in this year's playoffs.
Kansas 24, ISU 28
@Texas Tech: The dazzling glare of Kliff Kingsbury's RayBan-ed face starts to lose its luster after a couple quick scores from Sammy B, which just happens to be enough to hold on.
TTU 31, ISU 34
TCU: TCU subs in their cross country team at half time and it makes no difference, as Iowa State still hasn't made physical contact with a ball carrier.
TCU 59, ISU 17
@Baylor: Following the rousing success of the Horned Frogs XC team the previous week, Baylor starts the game with three chess players, a mathlete, and a dirty tube sock for an offensive line, and still manages to run between the tackles with ease.
Baylor 63, ISU 20
Texas: Charlie Strong's Longhorns recover six fumbles from referees after Cyclone ball carriers handed them the ball after running out of bounds, all resulting in inclusive video evidence. Five of the six are returned for touchdowns.
Texas 38, ISU 24
@Oklahoma: Stoops cites "Pride and the desire to hear them squeal for mercy" as his reason for not following TCU and Baylor's lead of playing the managers. Its kind of justified.
Oklahoma 49, ISU 13
Oklahoma State: With the chance of their first bowl since the Liberty Bowl debacle on the line, and their last two chances being against a coach who says they're a man and a coach who has transcended from man to sentient liver spot, the Cyclones buckle down at home to get to the six win mark.
OSU 27, ISU 35
@Kansas State: Fresh off the campaign trail, Head Coach Bernie Sanders--wait no, fresh from the Springfield Nuclear Plant, Head Coach Mr. Charles Montgomery Burns--hold on, Head Coach Bill Snyder coaches another spectacularly underwhelming winning performance and wins. Again.
KSU 31, ISU 17
@West Virginia: Play is suspended at half and never resumed due to a mutual agreement that rioting would be a more productive use of everyone's time. Bonus: David Irving earns one more semester of eligibility.
WVU 31, ISU 28
Final Record: 6-6 (3-6)
On the back of a Mangino Man-genius offense, Iowa State makes the Beef O' Brady Bowl and Sam Richardson wins a lifetime supply of knock-off Hamburger Helper. Panburger Partner for everyone!
UNI: Third year is a charm: ISU wins their first game against an FCS opponent in 3 years behind a 100-yd rushing performance from Mike Warren. They don't blow the Panthers out of the water, but the defense plays stout.
ISU 24, UNI 14
Iowa: ISU keeps a stranglehold onto the CyHawk Trophy for the second year in a row. Again this game is low scoring, and comes down to the kicking game, except this time Captain Kirk doesn't punch himself in the nutz.
ISU 21, Iowa 17
@Toledo: Momentum is strong, the team is confident and all of those pessimistic clone fans trade in their Busch Lights for the Paul Rhoads Kool-Aid. ISU continues to carry the momentum on the road and win a close one. The defense scores a touchdown late, and the offense forges an identity as an efficient passing attack behind Slingin' Sammy Richardson.
ISU 31, Toledo 30
Kansas: All in-state media jump on the ISU bandwagon, as the Clones take on the fighting David Beaty's. Coach Mangino enters "Eff You" mode, they find a running back in Mike Warren, and this one is over in the 1st Quarter.
ISU 42, Kansas 17
@Texas Tech: College Gameday analysts predict an ISU upset special on the road. The fans are offically "ALL IN." And Lubbock, TX is still a dump. Clones can't put it together on the road, behind a few costly turnovers from Sam, and Kliff Kingsbury makes Rhoads his bitch.
Taco Tech 45, ISU 28
TCU: Heisman Trophy front runner Trevone Boykin continues to swing his dick in Horned Frog Fashion by putting up 50+ for the fifth consecutive week. Rhoads pops a blood vessel in his eye on one of his patented sideline tirades and ISU begins their losing streak.
TCU 51, ISU 21
@Baylor: Up by three TDs in the 4th, Art Briles decides to take his foot off the gas by running on fourth down, instead of passing, still converts, and Baylor continues to roll. ISU moves the ball well, as Lazard has a 3-TD performance, but it's not enough.
Baylor 48, ISU 27
Texas: It is Halloween in Ames, and the far too many in-state Longhorn fans dress up as the ghost of Mack Brown. Except this time, it doesn't work. ISU hits its stride on the offensive side of the ball behind a balanced passing and running attack.
ISU 38, Texas 28
@Oklahoma: Bob Stoops gets hammered on wine coolers the night before the game, wakes up and still eats Paul Rhoads for breakfast. Norman breaks the record for most played "Boomer Sooners" in one gameday, and ISU is held to its worst offensive performance of the season.
Oklahoma 42, ISU 10
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys roll into Ames, IA riding high on momentum. They continue to pass the ball at will, as Wally plays his bend-but-don't-(well sometimes it does)-break defense. Sam strings together a fantastic performance of his own, with over 400 passing yards, but still can't put enough points on the scoreboard to pull out the win.
OSU 42, ISU 31
@Kansas State: Bill Snyder stops in at Taco Bell for his pre-game Crunchwrap Supreme only to have a mild heart attack. Thankfully he had mild sauce, and not his usual "Fire" hot sauce. ISU takes advantage, and gets the proverbial monkey off their back, winning in Manhattan for the first time since 2004. Clones become bowl eligible for the 4th time in 7 years under Rhoads.
ISU 35, KSU 17
@West Virginia: The fighting Dana Holgorsen's trick Iowa State players into mixing Redbull with moonshine the night before the game in Morgantown. Bad Idea. The entire offensive line and many more players are thrown in jail after successfully burning a domino effect of couches for 3 straight miles to the stadium. ISU doesn't carry their full roster on the plane, therefore has to forfeit due to not fielding a team.
WVU 1 ISU 0
Bonus Bowl Prediction: ISU continues its lack of bowl game competence by getting manhandled by another inferior small conference opponent. This time it is the Fighting Larry Eustachys from Colorado State. ISU can't run the ball, and Colorado State gets pressure on Sam.
CSU 28 ISU 17
Final Record 6-7 (3-3)
UNI: 1 in a row, for Paul Rhoads! 1 in a row, for Paul Rhoads! 1 IN A ROW, FOR PAUL RHOADS!
ISU 37, UNI 13
Iowa: In the first "swing game" that will help determine bowl eligibility, I think we see the first opening of Paul's old bag of tricks. With the aid of a special teams score, I think the home team wins for the first time since 2011.
ISU 27, Iowa 20
@Toledo: Lots of people picking the Rockets here. In fact it seems to be a growing "game we should win, but drop in Iowa State fashion" trend among the fan base. I. Don't. Care. I'm so drunk on
HawkeyeCyclone vodka, that I'm throwing cautious optimism to the wind.
ISU 44, Toledo 29
Kansas: I'll be honest, without looking I couldn't name you a single player on the Jayhawks' roster. Odds are I'll know one by the end of the game. The guy that's single handedly trying to kill my Cyclone erection. Won't work anyway.
ISU 23, Kansas 17
@Texas Tech: If we start 5-0, odds are we'll receive some votes in some sort of poll. Even in my Cyclone wet dream here, I just can't see that happening.
TTU 41, ISU 24
TCU: Sportsmanship be damned.
TCU 66, ISU 17
@Baylor: Reality is setting in.
Baylor 48, ISU 7
Texas: Jeremiah George returns to boost morale after two ass poundings and gives the greatest pregame speech in the history of the world while video of the "non-fumble" in 2013 loops on the video boards at every stoppage in play. Side bet, there's a Joel Lanning touchdown somewhere in here because weird stuff happens on Halloween in Ames.
ISU 37, Texas 34
Oklahoma, 38, ISU 13
Oklahoma State: Could we possibly go 5-1 at Jack Trice? We've only won 5 home games since the "Jeff gave me a Woody" game against the Pokes in 2011. Nope, sorry. Mike Gundy is still a man and both teams score 40, but this time the Cowboys don't miss the kick.
OSU 44, ISU 41
@Kansas State: Total desperation for a bowl game prevails here and Paul finally gets one against the old man, by using every trick play imaginable. Hey, it's only a rivalry if both teams win at some point, right?
ISU 38, KSU 31
@West Virginia: After the OSU miracle made us bowl eligible in 2011, we lost the next 2 regular season games by a combined score of 56-29.
WVU 56, ISU 29
Final Record: 6-6 (3-6)
Bonus Bowl Prediction: We're walking in Memphis at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Saturday, January 2nd at 2:20pm on ESPN! Iowa State fans rejoice with their first ever January Bowl game (just ask Hawk fans, that really matters to them), and get reamed by a hugely disappointing Texas A&M squad.
TAMU 59, ISU 9
UNI: The Cyclones kick off the 2015 season with the University of Nothing Important in a game that will set the tone for the season. The new renovation (SEZ! SEZ! SEZ!) will be in full display for the Cyclone faithful who have sold that game out. There will probably be lots of purple in the stands, as UNI fans would rather watch this game than see their favorite team play Illinois State in Iowa City. Regardless, the defense looks improved, the offense looks better, and we beat the Pantherhawks in a close ballgame.
ISU 27, UNI 17
Iowa: ISU has done remarkably well against the Hawks for the past 15 years or so, and I see that trend continuing here. The only part of this game that worries me is the later start time, which almost guarantees that pregame debauchery and shit-talking will be at an all time high. When I say worried I mean excited. This is our Super Bowl, remember? Hopefully they let Georges Niang be the PA announcer for this one...
ISU 35, Iowa 20
@Toledo: The Rockets look really dangerous this year. I haven't had to say that since Tracy McGrady and Ming Yao (or was it Yao Ming?) played for them. If Iowa State wins this game, the prospects for the rest of the season look much better. That being said, I'm not sure this team will know how to win tough road games after playing two games at home against in-state rivals. Chalk this one up for the Rockets. Holy Toledo.
Toledo 28, ISU 17
Kansas: This game's on Big Monday right? Oh wait, that was basketball. Never mind. Does Kansas still play football?
ISU 28, Kansas 14
@Texas Tech: Of all the games on Iowa State's schedule, this one might be the most important. Kingsbury needs to put a good season together to keep himself off the coaching hot-seat. Iowa State could use a road win in a game like this if they want to go bowling for the first time since 2012. What does that add up to? This game as all the makings of a good one, one which I predict Iowa State will win. I probably shouldn't, but dammit I've got to at least try one gulp of the Kool-aide
ISU 38, TTU 31
TCU: Nope. Not going there.
TCU a lot, ISU not a lot
@Baylor: Ohhhhhhhh man. Unless Art Briles is fired and Scott Drew is forced to take over, I can't see the Cyclones picking up a win in Waco. Baylor will be faster, stronger, and more athletic, wear uniforms that mimic Oregon, run out of timeouts 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter (if Drew is coaching), and all 20,000 fans will pack their new stadium. It will be business as usual for this talented Baylor team.
Baylor 48, ISU 21
Texas: It seems like something eventful happens every time Iowa State plays Texas. Last year's game was a shootout that could have gone either way, and the year before Paul Rhoads wanted to have a shootout with the refs. Though Charlie Strong is a good coach, and will have long term success in Austin, I think Iowa State wins this one at home in a game marred by terrible officiating and plenty of offense.
ISU 31, Texas 28
@Oklahoma: Iowa State is once again dominated by the Sooners in Norman, and Boomer Sooner is played 7,239,492 times.
Oklahoma 35, ISU 17
Oklahoma State: There's no better way to recover from a loss down in Norman than drawing OU's little brother the next weekend. Though Oklahoma State has been projected towards the top of the Big 12, I think the Cyclones come away with the win at home. I predict there to be lots of offense, probably an overtime, and Naz Long kicking a field goal to clinch the victory (it's about time the Cyclones return some of the nut shots they've received over the years ).
ISU 41, OSU 38
@Kansas State: As much as I want to say the Cyclones will win this game, I know in my heart that it won't happen. Not in Manhattan. Not against Bill Snyder. For some reason, Snyder's Purple Kitties seem to find a way to gut out a win every single year. Whether it's luck, fundamentals, or voodoo, the dice always seem to land in favor of K-State.
KSU 28, ISU 21
@West Virginia: Though the start of the game is delayed an hour due to excessive rioting and couch/dumpster burning, this one turns out to be a hell of a game. West Virginia jumps out to a large lead, only to see it erased due to a stellar performance by Richardson (or maybe Joel Lanning?). In the end, the Mountaineers pull out a win, dance to Country Roads, and drink copious amounts of beer before/during/after the game.
WVU 35, ISU 28
Final Record: The Cyclones go 6-6 (4-5), make it to some bowl game most people have probably never heard of nor would ever care about, the fans travel well, and their patience is rewarded with a bowl victory. Not a bad way to kill time until basketball season starts!
UNI: The temperature is, in fact, not 95 degrees at kickoff, and the Cyclones use some strong defense and timely turnovers to maintain a comfortable margin throughout the game.
ISU 31, UNI 13
Iowa: The Hawkeyes, coming off a loss to another ISU (the Illinois one) in week one, can't manage to find the end zone in this game. Greg Davis is mercilessly thrown from the top level of the Jack Trice press box late in the 4th quarter. The perpetrators are never identified.
ISU 17, Iowa 9
@Toledo: If Gene Chizik can almost win at Toledo, then Paul Rhoads can surely close the deal there, right? Right??
ISU 38, Toledo 21
Kansas: Mangino gets his revenge from last year's embarrassment. Cyclone students questionably rush the field to celebrate a 4-0 start, only to find that they've injured Jamari Traylor, who, for some reason, was cloaked in a Jayhawks football uniform. Iowa State is subsequently fined $1 million by Bob 'Hawkeye' Bowlsby.
ISU 41, Kansas 17
@Texas Tech: Kingsbury and company throw for over 9,000 passing yards, and the Cyclones simply can't keep up.
TTU 49, ISU 31
TCU: TCU wins the game, yet they inexplicably drop from No. 2 to No. 9 in the CFB playoff rankings.
TCU 48, ISU 13
@Baylor: The Cyclones put up an early fight, but the toll of four straight games without a bye week begins to show in the second half.
Baylor 52, ISU 24
Texas: Homecoming offers the Cyclones renewed energy, but a back and forth game is ultimately decided when a go-ahead extra point attempt by Iowa State with 11 seconds left is blocked and returned by Texas for the two-point win.
Texas 25, ISU 23
@Oklahoma: Oklahoma finds itself atop the conference, the wheels are falling off the Iowa State wagon, and the game is in Norman. You get the idea.
Oklahoma 41, ISU 13
Oklahoma State: The Cyclones get the offense together and hold off a late rally by the Cowboys. In his post-game press conference, Mike Gundy, realizing he's closer to 50 than 40, determines he's now an old man and asks that people "please stop coming after me."
ISU 35, OSU 31
@Kansas State: Finally realizing that a second retirement is in order, Bill Snyder is determined to make his Wildcats bowl eligible one last time. Snyder does so easily, and Paul Rhoads begins to wonder if retirement is the best option for him, too.
KSU 27, ISU 14
@West Virginia: Fun fact: Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown was based off of Jack Trice Stadium. But this won't feel like a home game for the Cyclones. In Paul Rhoads' last game with Iowa State, the Cyclones simply can't get anything going early, and the Mountaineers avoid a rally similar to two years ago.
WVU 34, ISU 20
Final Record: 5-7 (2-7)
UNI: David Johnson is gone so this won't be an issue. Paul Rhoads has likely had this game circled on his calendar since last years loss to North Dakota State. If not, he definitely circled it after the loss to Kansas. Paul Rhoads will not lose this game, even if it means he has to play himself.
ISU 34, UNI 14
Iowa: Kirk Ferentz is gonna Kirk Ferentz. Iowa State is leading by a field goal with 5 minutes left. On 4th and 2 on the Iowa State 45, Ferentz punts, Iowa State runs out the clock. With 20 seconds left and no timeouts for the Hawks, Rhoads declines to kneel the ball, instead running a trick play to run up the score.
ISU 27, Iowa 17
@Toledo: For whatever reason people are down on Iowa State for this game. I guess it's easy to forget last years bad Iowa State team dismantle the Rockets despite Toledo's O-Line experience. Iowa State kicks the Rockets out of orbit, literally, as Netten hits 4 field goals in the victory.
ISU 33, Toledo 17
Kansas: Hopefully the boys in Cardinal still taste the blood in their mouths after last year, as losing to Kansas was definitely a black eye on the program. Rhoads and Crew rebound for a big time victory, and Cyclone Nation finally has faith in their program after a 4-0 start. Goosebumps cover everyones bodies when telling everyone about this football team. Twitter goes crazy and people call for another Rhoads extension.
ISU 38, Kansas 20
@Texas Tech: Iowa State loses. Same people that finished my last predictions sentence call for Rhoads to be fired. After our first loss, "we suck again" starts crossing everyones minds. And it only gets worse the next two weeks.
TTU 38, ISU 24
TCU: Richardson crosses the goal line and the Cyclone fan base goes wild because we scored a touchdown against TCU, but this is Boykin's Super Bowl. After all, Iowa State was the first school to ever hand him a college loss. Boykin scores on 100% of offensive possessions while he is in. But Patterson has a soul and takes Boykin out early, so the loss doesn't look as bad.
TCU 63, ISU 10
@Baylor: I fully expect Shawn Oakman to have unintentionally murdered somebody by this game, but Art Briles has figured Iowa State out and he continues to carve out the Cyclone defense.
Baylor 70, ISU 17
Texas: Iowa State plays a close game with Texas until Texas scores a touchdown with 38 seconds remaining to take a 3 point lead. Wait, what's this? The play is under review. Officials overturned the call, Iowa State gets the ball back and runs out the clock. Cyclone Nation goes crazy. GIVE RHOADS A RAISE!
ISU 31, Texas 27
@Oklahoma: Iowa State really had no chance in this one to begin with, but to add insult to injury, the officials give Oklahoma a ridiculous amount of calls after the Big 12 apologizes to Texas for the blunder the previous week giving Iowa State the victory.
Oklahoma 38, ISU 14
Oklahoma State: Naz can't save us this time, but we keep the game close and this time, it isn't the officials that determine the game.
OSU 28, ISU 24
@Kansas State: I have a feeling Rhoads is tired of Snyder constantly sneaking one out on him. Rhoads figures it out this time around, and Iowa State beats the Wildcats in convincing fashion.
ISU 31, KSU 17
@West Virginia: Down two possessions going into halftime, Levi Peters rallies the troops like a true leader. Unfortunately, the team doesn't respond. Still down two possessions heading into the 4th, Peters takes off his helmet on the field, completely confusing West Virginia, as they mistake him for their Mountain Man. This leads to a 3 turnover quarter for the Mountaineers and a comeback for the ages.
ISU 38, WVU 35
Final Record: 7-5 (4-5)
Bonus Bowl Prediction: Liberty Bowl vs. Kentucky
Most importantly, Iowa State gets to show Beal Street whats up. Embarrassed with his play the last time he was in Memphis, Sam Richardson shows the world how much he improved over his Freshman year, and leads Iowa State in a victory over an SEC foe.
ISU 31, Kentucky, 21
UNI: This game will be mighty familiar to us Cyclone fans. Iowa State comes out and realizes they aren't very good, even after a horrible offseason that somehow inspired hope. The fans realize we aren't very good. UNI realizes that we aren't very good. Not a good recipe. The only reason I'm picking Iowa State here is that I want some hope, man.
ISU 24, UNI 17
Iowa: Who gives a shit about what I just said. It's SUPER BOWL Week and we have Kirk Ferentz on our side.
ISU 31, Iowa 20
@Toledo: No matter what I do, I can't get myself to see us winning the first four games of the year. Iowa State comes out thinking they are hot shit and Toledo gives us some hot MACtion. We take a hot shit in our diapey.
Toledo 35, ISU 17
Kansas: If we lose to Kansas in football for two consecutive years, I'll give my first born son to Charlie Weis as his afternoon snack. Plus, I literally have no idea who or what plays for them. WIN.
ISU 41, Kansas 24
@Texas Tech: Imagine Iowa State as a hog being led to slaughter for this game. We're still alive, but we can smell death is near in the coming games and start squealing and violently thrashing about to try and save our meaningless lives. It's a righteous fight for sure, but we know how this goes.
TTU 45, ISU 42
TCU: SO. MUCH. BLOOD.
TCU 66, ISU 16
@Baylor: MAKE. IT. STOP.
Baylor 54, ISU 21
Texas: Okay good, we have been slaughtered twice, but yet are still holding out hope for this game. This is the game that will make or break our season. Get this one and the season has hope. Lose this one and the season is seemingly lost. This is purely a homer pick. DEAL WITH IT.
ISU 38, Texas 37
@Oklahoma: I swear Bobby Stoops has this game circled every year. He is a maniacal Hawk shithead, who will do anything in his power to stomp on Little Brother. And just like every other year, he runs up the score and succeeds in making his dick feel a little bit bigger.
Oklahoma 49, ISU 24
Oklahoma State: Jamie Pollard gives a pregame speech to the team about the Big 12 Conspiracy and how it's us against the world. Doesn't matter because THE CONSPIRACY IS REAL.
OSU 35, ISU 24
@Kansas State: I think the White Wizard is running out of magic. Please God run out of magic. Please.
ISU 28, KSU 21
@West Virginia: RIOT BOWL. Gotta get this one to go to a bowl. Iowa State plays inspired ball, but can't quite make it out the backwoods with a W. A season that showed improvement and promise, I'll take it. At least someone gets to riot, right?
WVU 38, ISU 31
Final Record: 5-7 (3-6)