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The WRNL Staff Predicts The 2019 Football Season

It’s going to be a fun season in Ames

Valero Alamo Bowl - Iowa State v Washington State Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images


What Makes or Breaks the Season- Honestly, I think the margin of error is so slim. ISU has a legitimate shot to win every single game on their schedule, but what takes this team from pretenders to contenders is the ability to manipulate the opponent’s gameplan by controlling the line of scrimmage. The defensive line is one of the best in nation, but it’s the offensive line’s improvement that could potentially lead this program to a major January bowl berth.

Overall Record – 10-2 with another Bowl Win in the Sugar Bowl

Conference Record – 7-2 with losses to WVU and OU

Offensive Team MVP – Its got to be Brock Purdy

Defensive Team MVP – Greg Eisworth

Offensive Breakout Star – WR Joseph Scates fills the big shoes left by Hakeem Butler

Defensive Breakout Star – Will McDonald shines as a pass-rushing linebacker

Breakdown of Season – Iowa State comes out to the gate HOT, beating in-state foe Iowa on their way to a 5-0 start. All of a sudden every Media Pundit is jumping on the HYPE TRAIN. They lose one of their next two road games (WVU/T Tech) and then after losing a heartbreaker to OU, welcome Texas AND the College Football GameDay Crew to Ames. ISU beats the Longhorns, wins out, yet loses to OU again in the Big 12 Championship. They finish the year by playing (and beating) a much-more heralded SEC program in the Sugar Bowl. Matt Campbell is in contention for National Coach of the Year, and then signs a 20-yr extension to stay at ISU on a “Forever Contract.”

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Jake Brend

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Consistency early on the offensive line will the determine the success in the non conference and the early parts of the Big 12 season. As the season moves on and the line gets more experience together, their performance will be the difference between a good season and a great season.

Overall Record - 11-3 (Losses to Baylor, Oklahoma x2)

Conference Record - 7-2

Offensive Team MVP - Brock Purdy

Defensive Team MVP - Literally everyone, but especially Mike Rose

Offensive Breakout Star - Darren Wilson (Breece Hall is too easy)

Defensive Breakout Star - Anthony Johnson

Breakdown of Season - Iowa State will get off to a good start in August against UNI as they should before winning a close and low scoring game against Iowa, 20-13. Iowa State then takes care of business against a random Louisiana team. The first road test of the year will be the first time that Iowa State fall in the season, the team will get a little rattled on the road while Matt Rhule finds the holes in the Iowa State defense like he started to last year, the only difference this year would be the success in the red zone. The team bounces back to win their next four games against TCU, Texas Tech, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State. The TCU and Oklahoma State games both come down to the wire at Jack Trice while the two roads games are won in comfortable fashion. At this point, the defense is firing on all cylinders and is dominating games and holding opponents to under 15 points per game. This leads into a bye week in preparation for Oklahoma. Iowa State brings a valiant effort to Norman but falls short in the 4th quarter to pick up the second loss of the season. Iowa State then plays a must-win against Texas if they want to stay in the Big 12 race. In Campbell fashion, Iowa State plays their best game of the season following a loss as they beat Texas by two touchdowns to put themselves in the drivers seat for a spot in the Big 12 title game. Then Iowa State wins the final two games of the season against both Kansas schools to cement a second place finish in the league and a rematch against Oklahoma in Dallas. Iowa State loses yet again, this time in a shootout thriller that sends Oklahoma back to the CFP. Because of this, Iowa State gets a spot in the Sugar Bowl and wins their first ever New Years 6 bowl against Georgia while we WRNL is living it up in New Orleans.

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What Makes or Breaks the Season- The first five games of the season. I am confident we can start 2-0 after SuperBowl LXVII and win the next three. There is a lot of hype but we need to take care of business early. If we can start out 5-0 or greater, that will make the season. If there are any losses in those first five, it will break the season.

Overall Record – 9-3

Conference Record – 6-3 (Losses to WVU, OU, and Texa$)

Offensive Team MVP – Brock Purdy

Defensive Team MVP – Marcel Spears, Jr.

Offensive Breakout Star – Chase Allen

Defensive Breakout Star – JaQuan Bailey

Breakdown of Season - #ProveIt. This is Campbell’s fourth year at the helm for the Clones and it’s time to prove it. He and his staff have improved this program in their time and have now gotten the recruits and playbook to how he wants it. I’m not saying we will blow the doors off teams, nor expect to, but do expect higher things this season. We will start off hot in the first half of the season, drop one to West Virginia, but keep rolling come out at 9-3. The grind of the Big XII is tough, and we are one of the tough teams. We will be in the talk of the Big XII Championship game but won’t get there due to the hard-on’s for OU and Texa$. We will get a respectful bowl game and finish 3rd in the conference. Nonethless, Saturdays are going to be filled with exciting football and beers. Lots and lots o’ beers! And wins.

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Ryan Stivers

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Nothing will break this season because the only thing that could ruin it is a loss to Iowa and I’ll be dammed if Matt loses in another try to TOE. Honestly, I don’t care if people crack jokes, call it the Superbowl or whatever they want to do, for me the biggest game this year will be when we match up with Iowa. Sending a message via an ass whooping that day will set the tone for the rest of the season. I don’t think a loss to Iowa would mean the season is broke but I do think it would put a stink on the year.

Overall Record - 12-0 (Get on this bandwagon early you fence-sitters.)

Conference Record - 9-0

Offensive Team MVP - Brock “Possible Heisman candidate and future Maxwell winner, also will smash every career passing record” Purdy

Defensive Team MVP - My beloved Marcel Spears Jr.

Offensive Breakout Star - My gut says Milton but I would really like for it to be Breece Hall, Hall seems like he’ll be getting all the **insert eye emoji** tweets this season. I’m switching my pick. I’m taking Hall.

Defensive Breakout Star - Gimme Braxton Lewis. I think the secondary will need to be big this season to achieve the 12-0 record that we’ll obviously be going for so Lewis will need to have a big impact stopping the ball downfield.

Breakdown of Season - Brock Purdy grabs the last two Infinity Stones and becomes so powerful that the only thing that could stop him and this offense would be another alien. A quick 3-0 start leads to an absolute ass whopping of Baylor and a 4-0 start for the history books. After ripping off another four wins and a roaring start to 8-0 on homecoming, the Clones head to Norman where Heacock reminds Lincoln Riley who his Pappa is -- Game 9 nine goes into the books and Iowa State remains undefeated. Next up, Matt Campbell kicks around that slimeball, Tom Hermann and his un-merry band of misfits and sets up Iowa States best record ever at 10-0. Finally, Iowa State closes out with the back of the pack and lackluster Kansas teams to finish 12-0 and sail smoothly into the Big 12 Championship Game. From there, anything will be possible.

David Braga

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Final 5 games of the season. (vs. OkSt, @OU, vs. TEX, vs. KAN, @KSU) Iowa State will be in contention for one of the Top 2 spots in the Big 12 Conference. Going into these final 5 games, Iowa State could be 7-0. Fortunately, the Cyclones get 3 of their final 5 (including Texas) at Jack Trice, which should help close out the season, but this is still the biggest part of the season. Facing TEX and OU back to back in November will be tough, and finishing strong could put the Cyclones in the Big 12 Championship Game.

Overall Record - 10-2 (losses @Oklahoma and some random game that we probably shouldn’t lose)

Conference Record - 7-2 (see above)

Offensive Team MVP - Brock Purdy

Defensive Team MVP - Mike Rose

Offensive Breakout Star - Charlie Kolar

Defensive Breakout Star - Braxton Lewis

Breakdown of Season - The Defense will be the toughest to face in the Big 12, and on the shoulders of Mike Rose and Co., the Red Wedding will shut down much of what its opponents have to offer.

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What Makes or Breaks the Season- We know the defense will be good and we know the offensive line will be serviceable with the amount of starters returning. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Brock “Corn Jesus” Purdy will be the deciding factor if Iowa State wants to seriously contend for a Big 12 title. If he can stay healthy and productive over the course of the regular season, he could break pretty much every team single season passing record, and Iowa State will have a chance to make some noise come November and December.

Overall Record – 8-4

Losses to:

  • Iowa
  • Pick 2/3: @Baylor, TCU, @Texas Tech
  • Pick 1: @Oklahoma, Texas

Conference Record – 6-3

Offensive Team MVP – Brock Purdy

Defensive Team MVP – Mike Rose. The easy pick here is Jaquan Bailey or Greg Eisworth, but I think the uber-talented Rose could have the biggest impact, especially with the help he has around him.

Offensive Breakout Star – Any one of the receivers who will attempt to fill Hakeem Butler’s massive shoes and even bigger playmaking ability.

Defensive Breakout Star – Anthony Johnson Jr. Quietly started 4 games last season as a true freshman after an injury to Datrone Young. A big CB by Iowa State standards (6’0” 186 lbs) will allow Jon Heacock to play a little bit of press coverage during blitz schemes. Johnson is a sure tackler and should be able to compete with the length that Big 12 receivers are known for. Has potential to be the first Iowa State DB drafted since Ellis Hobbs (eventually).

Breakdown of Season – After beating UNI week 1, the Cyclones welcome back the same fans for week 3’s matchup against the Hawks for an epic game that the Clones ultimately lose. After dropping a game or 2 they shouldn’t during the meat of Big 12 play, Iowa State ultimately rolls into the back quarter of the schedule hungry for an upset, which they get at the expense of Texas or Oklahoma. While the Cyclones ultimately come up just shy of making the trip to Arlington, they are invited back to the Alamo Bowl where the fans once again drink the Riverwalk out of beer for the second year in a row.

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Austin Keeney

What Makes or Breaks the Season- 12 games of consistent and efficient play from the quarterback. Everyone knows that we haven’t had 1 guy play the whole season in a decade. Where we’ve run into trouble is not knowing what to expect game-to-game before Purdy took over last year. Of course, we’ve seen guys play well over a few games but not carry it over to the next season (Sam Richardson, Jacob Park, Kyle Kempt, etc). The defense can, and should, be as good as any in the conference. The running game will sort itself out. Brock Purdy could be one of the best QBs in the country. If he can stay healthy and elevate his game from last year while staying efficient, there’s no reason we can’t finish in the top 2 of the Big 12.

Overall Record - 9-3

Conference Record - 6-3 (losses to Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Texa$)

Offensive Team MVP - It has to be Brock Purdy.

Defensive Team MVP - Ray Lima holds down the fort on the defensive front, allowing other defensive players to shine.

Offensive Breakout Star - Breece Hall becomes the feature running back.

Defensive Breakout Star - Will McDonald

Breakdown of Season - Matt Campbell and co. finally beat TOE while winning all 3 non-conference games. Iowa State starts 5-0 and the bandwagon reaches full capacity. We get tripped up a couple of times through the grind of conference play, but rebound to sweep the Kansas schools to win 9 regular season games, with a chance at a 10th in the bowl game. Brock Purdy is an all-conference QB. Breece Hall is the best offensive freshman in the conference. Mike Rose, Ray Lima, and Greg Eisworth also earn 1st team all-conference honors. Matt Campbell shocks the national media, but not the fanbase, by spurning the NFL and bigger schools again.

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The Cydeliner

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Beating Iowa. That’s gonna be the difference from the current status quo (albeit a pleasant status quo for us Clones) and reaching heights we only wet dreamed about.

Overall Record - 9-3.

Conference Record - 6-3. Losses to Baylor, OU, and Texas (see below).

Offensive Team MVP - This is a Purdy easy one isn’t it?

Defensive Team MVP - Gonna go with Mike Rose here. I don’t think he’s as talented as Spears, but by the nature of his position, he will get more tackles and have more attention and stats.

Offensive Breakout Star - We here at WRNL have our BIG DONOR SOURCES and hearing some pretty horny things about Breece Hall. But with the amount of backs that will see action, I don’t know if one of them will be a breakout.

So I am just gonna be a Basic Bitch and go with Deshaunte Jones.

Defensive Breakout Star - Anthony Johnson or Datrone Young. One of the new starting corners is gonna show out.

Breakdown of Season - Can you name a football season (or basketball season) where everything went exactly according to plan? For almost every team this is the case, save for the Alabama and Clemson’s of the world. I think the Fighting Campbell’s pull off the first two in-state games + LA Monroe. Then run into a confident Baylor team who is feeling good after obliterating the Little Sisters of the Poor in the non-con. Every other game goes as expected, but our boys drop to OU and Texas back to back. We all look back on the Baylor game with some of the most angry and furious WHAT IF scenarios of our collective lives.

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Jared Larson

What Makes or Breaks the Season - Colin Newell is the one of the youngest members of a veteran offensive line, but Trevor Downing and Joey Ramos might collectively bring the OL to new heights now that Manning is back.

Overall Record - 10-3

Conference Record - 8-2(or 9-1, coin flip, I call tails)

Offensive Team MVP - Big Cock Brock (thanks to one of my friends for that one) is going to have a great year but, let’s give some love to Deshaunte who can go 0 to Degonete real quick.

Defensive Team MVP - Since no one on the defensive side of the ball is #58, I’m going to have to say my man Ray Lima. Ray is and has been the unsung hero of this defense since 2017 and the monster man in the middle is going to pancake Jalen Hurts.

Offensive Breakout Star - Offensively? Hell. Give me Chase Allen’s luxurious red locks. We are the best tight end school in the state, after all.. If this is at all ranked choice, I’d love to put Johnnie Lang next.

Defensive Breakout Star - Will McDonald is going to eat Big 12 offenses alive with this position switch... perhaps the next monsterback?

Breakdown of Season -

Winning our August date with the first Purple Pussy on our schedule is also going to be big for my personal fan confidence going into the season (expect an article on this), I expect UNI to be in the Top 15-20 in the FCS when they come here.

September will come and I’ll gladly accept sunburn at the TOE game. To the ULM fans that are perhaps coming up, please come tailgate with us and bring flavors from Ouachita Parish to us.

The spookiest season of the year hasn’t given me fright the past two seasons, so, 4-0.

We’re going to self dick step on either Texas or Oklahoma, but please Corn Jesus don’t let it be the Texas game, I’m far too excited and erect and also the roasting will be out in full force for that one.

Okay so December comes around and quoi de neuf Sugar Bowl?

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Levi Stevenson

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Brock Purdy can break the season, but the offensive line can make it. We’ve already seen what the floor for the team looks like with a bad offensive line over the last few seasons, and it’s pretty high. This team can win without a dominant (or even good) offensive line. However, as strange as it is to say given how many quarterbacks have started a game just in the past two seasons, Iowa State has actually been the beneficiary of some pretty solid quarterback play. The few games where the quarterback hasn’t been good, like TCU in 2018 and Texas in 2017, were unmitigated disasters. Thus, Brock Purdy needs to at least be solid for this team to hit 8+ wins. However, if Brock is solid AND the offensive line is good, then we could be talking about breaking a school record for wins this season.

Overall Record - 11-3

Conference Record - 7-2

Offensive Team MVP - Brock Purdy, no question. He’s already a top-ten QB in the country, and has a chance to be even better.

Defensive Team MVP - Mike Rose. Rose put on something like 25 lbs of muscle in the offseason, and finally had his first spring practice and offseason to review tape. There’s a good chance he’s widely regarded as the best linebacker in the conference by the end of the season.

Offensive Breakout Star - Tarique Milton. Iowa State has had an “alpha” receiver for the last five years, but is now currently missing a player like that on offense. Milton can absolutely be that guy. He’s one of the most athletic and polished receivers on the team, and should receive the volume of targets he’ll need to set himself apart as one of the more dangerous receivers in the conference.

Defensive Breakout Star - Will McDonald. We’ve gotten small glimpses and heard all about his enormous potential, and he’ll finally get the snaps to do just that. McDonald can be a chaotic force off the edge that can turn this defense into an absolute nightmare to face.

Breakdown of Season - A strong start to the season sees the Cyclones start 3-0, as Matt Campbell notches his first win over Iowa in a not-as-close-as-it-looked 28-17 victory. A trip down to Waco to face the explosive Baylor offense results in a loss, though the program is still in high spirits. Then, Iowa State rips off fours in a row against TCU, at West Virginia, at Texas Tech, then on Homecoming against Oklahoma State to complete their third consecutive undefeated October. squarely positioned in a tie for second place in the conference, the Cyclones drop a close game down in Norman that was ultimately a “nothing to lose” scenario.

Up comes a massive showdown and pseudo-conference championship semifinal with the Texas Longhorns in mid-November. An aggressive and confident Cyclone defense forces Sam Ehlinger into a few critical errors that allow Brock Purdy and Breece Hall to grind out a hard-fought victory on a crisp November night. Two final wins over Kansas State and Kansas send Iowa State down to Arlington, TX to face the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 Championship game.

After the Sooners jump out to a quick 17-3 lead in the first quarter, the Cyclone defense starts to tighten, and Greg Eisworth runs back a pick-six to bring Iowa State within a touchdown. The two team trade a couple more touchdowns through the second and third quarters, with OU clinging on to a one touchdown lead at the beginning of the fourth. A couple promising drives for each team result in punts before OU finally hits a field goal to take a 10-point lead with just four minutes. After a successful run by Breece Hall on first down to get to 2nd and short, Brock Purdy hits Tarique Milton down the seam for a long touchdown to pull within three. Tasked with getting a stop to regain the ball, the Cyclone defense allows a quick first down, but holds the Sooners to just a couple yards on the next three plays to make it 4rd-and-1. Jalen Hurts sneaks up the middle on fourth down and **just** gets there. Having used their timeouts on the previous three downs, the Cyclones are forced to watch as OU takes three more knees and ends the game with a three point win.

Cyclone fans, disappointed, but overall ecstatic about the loss in the Big 12 title game, flock down to New Orleans in droves, where Iowa State takes down LSU in a thrilling Sugar Bowl victory. New Orleans doesn’t really even make an effort to supply Busch Light (they’re New Orleans - they do what they want), but Cyclone fans don’t care, because we’re PARTYING.

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Patrick Brown

What Makes or Breaks the Season- The ability to replace two NFL-caliber players on offense. Can the voids left by David Montgomery and Hakeem Butler be filled? Purdy set some lofty expectations last season, and will have to show that he can shoulder even more of the burden this year.

Overall Record – 12-2

Conference Record – 8-2

Offensive Team MVP – Brock Purdy. The Arizona native still has much to prove as opposing defenses adjust to his stellar freshman season, but he can build on last year’s success and already become one of the most prolific quarterbacks in school history.

Defensive Team MVP – Mike Rose. After bursting on the scene a year ago Rose will help make the ISU defense one of the best in the Big 12, if not the country.

Offensive Breakout Star – Tarique “the freak” Milton. He didn’t do as much as I thought he would last season, but he showed flashes of speed and ability. He now has the opportunity to break out and become Purdy’s go-to target.

Defensive Breakout Star – Anthony Johnson. He made the most of his opportunities last season, and will build on that in his sophomore campaign. Even without a redshirt season under his belt, Johnson stepped in and showed no anxiety as a true-freshman cornerback … last season he allowed just over half a hard per cover snap … better than any player in the conference.

Breakdown of Season – The most anticipated season in ISU football history will start slow against Northern Iowa, but eventually the Cyclones will shake off the nerves and handily take care of business. From there, a bye-week gives way to College Gameday’s first trip to Ames, and Lee Corso won’t be disappointed when the home team squeezes out a win over the TOE.

From there the season will essentially be on cruise control until Nov. 9 in Norman, but Oklahoma will be too much for the previously-unbeaten Cyclones. The Longhorns come to town the following week, and a home win over a ranked Texas team will rejuvenate the psyche of all ISU fans.

After wrapping the season with wins over both teams from Kansas, the Cyclones’ first trip to the Big 12 title game is spoiled by Jalen Hurts and the Sooners. Though the College Football Playoff discussions end after the game, a date in the Sugar Bowl vs. Florida turns out to be a pretty sweet consolation prize.

Cyclone fans will drink New Orleans out of Busch Light, all while celebrating the team’s biggest bowl win in program history.

The cherry on top? Despite the usual Matt Campbell-to-anywhere-other-than-Ames speculation, Jamie Pollard sweetens the pot for Campbell and his staff, and he stays on for yet another season.

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Matthias Schwartzkopf

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Nothing breaks, we only make.

Overall Record - 15-0, all games won by at least 20 points. Not even the 85’ Bears could compete.

Conference Record - 10-0

Offensive Team MVP - Brock Purdy, Heisman no contest.

Defensive Team MVP - Jaquan Bailey. DPOY in all of college football. Too easy there.

Offensive Breakout Star - Joseph Scates

Defensive Breakout Star - Isheem Young

Breakdown of Season - Big 12 Champs. Beat Clemson 69-0 to win it all.

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