Last week, the WRNL staff made predictions for the upcoming football season. I predicted a 12-0 record with a victory over Rutgers in the national championship game. As some have pointed out to me, that scenario might be a tad unrealistic. I took the weekend to carefully examine my prediction and revise it for accuracy.
After a slow start against UNI, Iowa State is able to score two quick touchdowns and the second half is dominated by the ’Clones. A solid 30-13 win over Northern Iowa gets Iowa State started on the right foot.
Matt Campbell carries on the recent Paul Rhoads tradition of beating Iowa in Kinnick, thanks in large part to Allen Lazard’s three touchdown performance. If only Iowa had a shutdown corner like Brian Peavy. Iowa tacks on a late TD to make the final score seem closer than it really was. The Cyclones win 27-21 and receive two votes in the AP top 25.
This is where the hype train really picks up steam. After going behind by 17 points in the 2nd quarter, Iowa State mounts a furious comeback on the road against TCU. A back-and-forth second half results in a tie game with under a minute remaining. Thanks to a perfectly-placed long ball to Lazard, Iowa State gets into field goal position in the waning moments. Cole Netten wins the game on a 48-yard kick as time expires.
A slow first quarter against San Jose State puts a scare in the heart of Cyclone Nation but in the end, the Spartans have no answer for Mike Warren, who finds the end zone three times. Iowa State works its way into the top 25 for the first time since the Roosevelt administration.
Baylor comes into this game 4-0, having just knocked off a strong Oklahoma State team the week before. Kene Nwangwu, Iowa State’s true freshman running back, takes the opening kickoff 95 yards to the house and the ’Clones never look back en route to a 37-24 win. Iowa State climbs to No. 20 in the AP poll.
Oklahoma State, favored by nearly two touchdowns in this contest, is expected to crush the hopes and dreams of every Cyclone fan. Before the team leaves for Stillwater, Iowa State’s jerseys are stolen. Luckily. the equipment staff is able to dig up some throwbacks and the 2011 uniforms are the first ones available. Donning the #32 Woody jersey, Mitchell Harger stumbles and bumbles his way into the end zone to win the game in 2OT as the Stillwater Medical Center is overrun with cases of alcohol poisoning.
Due to sloppy field conditions, the only points scored in the Texas game come from a 70-yard FG from Cole Netten in the first quarter. After being shut out by Iowa State two years in a row, Texas fans are done with Charlie Strong. He is fired immediately after the game and replaced by former Texas DC Gene Chizik.
Iowa State returns to action after a bye week to face a struggling Kansas State team. Bill Snyder gives a handwritten letter to Matt Campbell during halftime, begging for mercy. Campbell shows none. The Cyclones win 31-3 and find themselves in the top 10 for the first time since the Paleolithic era, when Bill Snyder was just a teenager.
A weekday night in November? A highly-ranked team from Oklahoma traveling up to Ames? We’ve seen this story before. Iowa State wins an instant classic over the Sooners, 21-20. Baker Mayfield throws five picks, thanks to a gimmick defense from ISU that uses four QB spies and double coverage on every receiver. This forces Mayfield to actually throw the ball from the pocket, something he has literally never done before. The Cyclones are ranked 5th when the next poll comes out, and Iowa State hires an artist to make a golden statue of Matt Campbell outside Jack Trice Stadium.
After dismantling Kansas, the Cyclones are in the CFB Playoff picture. The team returns from Lawrence to find students
rioting partying on Welch Ave. Joel Lanning sits in second place in the Heisman standings behind Allen Lazard.
Kliff Kingsbury, feeling pressure to perform, does nothing to cool the hot seat against Iowa State. Mike Warren explodes for 385 yards and four touchdowns as the ’Clones win by 30. Said Kingsbury after the game, “I don’t know what happened. We did everything exactly like we did last season. For some reason our strategy of giving up ten yards per carry didn’t convince them to stop giving Warren the ball like it did last year.”
West Virginia comes to Ames hoping to pull off an upset. Unfortunately, the riots on Campustown have yet to cease and the Mountaineers are drawn in by the familiar smell of burning couches. Most of their players join in and are unable to make it to the stadium for the game. Iowa State coasts to a victory in the season finale.
Even after a 12-0 season, Iowa State isn’t invited to the CFB Playoff. When asked about the decision, Playoff Committee spokesman Jeff Long said, “They didn’t beat a single SEC team all season. We wanted teams who could win against top-level competition. As a committee, we feel that our selections of Alabama, LSU, Tennessee and Georgia could be the best playoff yet. We realize taking a 7-5 Georgia team seems controversial, but they had more quality losses than Iowa State did and that was a big factor.”
The Cyclones are instead invited to the Sugar Bowl, where they are matched up with the committee’s 5th ranked team, Vanderbilt. After a back and forth battle, Iowa State wins the game on a 95-yard fake punt touchdown run by Colin Downing, who forfeits his remaining eligibility and enters the NFL draft.
Numerous Cyclones receive national recognition, but the Heisman goes to an undeserving Alabama RB named
Mark Ingram Derrick Henry Bo Scarbrough.
Iowa State is predicted to finish 9th in the Big 12 by the media heading into the 2017 season.