We are under the 100 day mark until Iowa State kicks off the season on September 5th against South Dakota at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones bring back experience and fire power at skill positions on a team that can compete for a Big 12 title. So I figured it would be a good time to give my five bold takes for the 2020 Iowa State football season.
This will be Brock Purdy’s last season
Might as well come out swinging right away. This has a positive and a negative. The positive to this is that if this ends up being true, Iowa State is playing in the Big 12 title game. Brock Purdy leaving Iowa State after this season for the NFL would mean that he has absolutely lit it up statistically and Iowa State has won a bunch of games along the way. While his season was great last year there is still room for him to blow it out of the water again. He already will own every passing record at Iowa State. The question remains how far does he stretch these records.
The negative to this is the uncertainty that is behind Brock Purdy. Hunter Dekkers is believed to be the man to take over after Purdy but he is fresh out of high school. With Re-al Mitchell’s departure to Temple things are a bit fuzzy behind Purdy, for now. It also may be a good problem to have in the long run. A quarterback being drafted high at Iowa State is a huge plus for the program.
Breece Hall eclipses 1,500 yards rushing
This one may be my boldest. Considering the uncertainty of how the offensive line is going to perform with the new pieces in place this one could be a stretch. What makes me think this way is the pure talent that Breece Hall possesses. The vision coupled with the speed makes him a high level running back. Put that with an offensive line that is vastly improved a breakout season for the young rising star is right on the horizon.
The defense will be the top scoring defense in the Big 12
Since John Heacock transformed the Iowa State defense, the Cyclones have been in the top 3 of defensive scoring over the last three years. That trend is likely to continue with 9 starters returning for the 2020 season. Pile that all together and the Cyclones are primed to repeat that once again. While more Big 12 teams have started to copy Iowa State’e defense and more teams have looks it, I still feel Iowa State will be the best at it. So with that said, Iowa State will have the top defense in the Big 12 in 2020.
Wins at Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma State
This will probably rile up a few folks. I would probably view winning at Iowa as more bold than winning at Texas and Oklahoma State. Matt Campbell needs to pick up his first win against Iowa. He knows and we know it. Time to strike is now. Texas and Oklahoma State are sexy picks to be sitting in Dallas at the end of the season. Iowa State’s defense matches up well with Texas and the Oklahoma State game is probably burned into the memory of the coaching staff. Plenty of reasons you could pick Iowa State in all three. Plus Matt Campbell likes the road theatrics and good things like to strike three times.
This is the year
Iowa State has a ton of experience coming back at the skill positions and on the defensive side of the ball. Combine that with a hungry coach that is willing to do anything to get Iowa State to the next level and you have some pieces that are poised to take the next level and play in the Big 12 title game. It’s going to be a four horse race with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and presumably Texas based on them being back or not. Maybe with TCU slipping in to join the fun. Iowa State will have a tough sledding with the previously mentioned road games plus another date on the road with TCU.
If Iowa State gets a win at Iowa, takes out UNLV, beats Texas Tech and win at Kansas for a 5-0 start. Then you get to the beef of your schedule and anything can happen after that. The biggest thing will be getting through October and having enough in the tank for November. We have seen Iowa State in the past lose a bit of their steam in late November games and coast to the finish line. Time will tell.