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WRNL Staff Predicts The 2020 Football Season

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We finally made it.

Camping World Bowl - Notre Dame v Iowa State Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Jake Brend

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Other than the obvious COVID-19 bs, the play in the trenches will define the 2020 season. The Cyclones graduated Ray Lima and Jamahl Johnson from the defensive line. Lima had been a steady anchor in the 3-4 defense since 2017 while Johnson was a great motor guy last season. If Uwazurike’s move inside, paired with development from Will McDonald and Zach Petersen, and the return of Jaquan Bailey works out, the defense could be elite. If it falls flat, this team will struggle against teams like Texas and Kansas State.Of course, the offensive line always is the x-factor. They have to just be decent. That’s all we are asking. Keep Brock healthy and give Breece holes. If they can do that, the offense will be near the top in the country.

Overall Record - 9-3

Conference Record - 6-2

Offensive Team MVP - Brock Purdy

Defensive Team MVP - Greg Eisworth

Offensive Breakout Star - Xavier Hutchinson

Defensive Breakout Star - Isheem Young

Breakdown of Season -

Lafyette- W

TCU- L

OU- W

Tech- W

OK State- L

Kansas- W

Baylor- W

K-State- W

Texas- W

West Virginia- W

Big 12 Championship vs OU- L

Bowl Game- W

GIF to Culminate the Season -

Cyclone Larry

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Offensive line must be at least a 3/10

Overall Record - 13-0

Conference Record - 10-0

Offensive Team MVP - Brock Purdy

Defensive Team MVP - Mike Rose

Offensive Breakout Star - Sean Shaw

Defensive Breakout Star - Latrell Bankston

Breakdown of Season - Iowa State goes undefeated, Iowa goes winless, I date Nate Stanley’s mom, profit

GIF to Culminate the Season -

Smdee

What Makes or Breaks the Season - Can college kids continue to follow direction, stay out of trouble, and ultimately test negative for COVID for the better part of 4 months? *producer whispers in ear* Oh you mean on-the-field stuff? Got it.The offensive line will have to protect and keep Brock Purdy healthy. Purdy simple.

Overall Record – 7-2

Conference Record – 6-2.

Offensive Team MVP – Brock Purdy. Corn Jesus. GOAT. Brock cements his legacy as the greatest player in Iowa State history (Yeah I said it) as he throws for 28 TDs in a shortened season.

Defensive Team MVP – Greg Eisworth. This is a boring selection but it’s hard to pick against the backbone of the Iowa State defense for the better part of the last 2 years.

Offensive Breakout Star – Xavier Hutchinson. The 6’3” JUCO product should turn heads as another member of the “Iowa State Monster Receiver Factory” a la Hakeem Butler and Allen Lazard. Hutch (I’m coining this nickname before it becomes a thing) should have ample playing opportunity alongside Sean Shaw and Tarique Milton and will eventually be considered the best receiver on the team by season’s end.

Defensive Breakout Star – Isheem Young. The Philadelphia native has received buzz about his play through most of fall camp, and will slot in behind Greg Eisworth and Lawrence White in the defensive backfield. The Redshirt Freshman had offers from Georgia and Penn State, amongst others, and should make a sizable impact this year.

Breakdown of Season – After taking care of the Ragin’ Cajuns and TCU to start the year, Matt Campbell beats Lincoln Riley and the Sooners to start 3-0. After breezing through Texas Tech, the Clones stumble out of Stillwater after losing a fistfight to Oklahoma State’s incredible offensive trio, leading to a bounce back victory against Kansas.Then, in a shocking turn of events, the game in Ames on November 7th against Baylor is the coldest in school history. After each heater on the Baylor sideline mysteriously fails, the Bears have no choice but to drape a large tarp across their players and staff in an effort to keep warm. Iowa State wins 69-0.The Clones then finally put together a complete game against Kansas State and scrape out a 24-20 win. Wildcat fans take to Twitter after the game and post screenshots of last season’s Camping World Bowl, in the hopes they finally drum up enough buzz for the selection committee to once again pick someone else to play in Orlando. “We decided to go a different direction from the Jayhawks” the Camping World Bowl (now Cheez-It) staff will go on to say.The season will once again come down to a visit to Austin, with a trip to Dallas on the line, and a slugfest with the Big 12’s second best quarterback in Sam Ehlinger. After Tom Herman becomes distracted by a Texas cheerleader halfway through the first quarter, the Clones jump out to an early lead which they eventually squander in heartbreaking fashion with the game on the line.Iowa State closes out the year with a victory over the Mountaineers and accepts an invite to play in the Alamo Bowl, where they scrimmage a local San Antonio high school team.

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Dylan Coon

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Not Kevin Warren. Zing. But on a serious note, it will be another rendition of “Can Iowa State live up to expectations?” We have the best QB in Iowa State history, a set of weapons that the US military budget couldn’t afford, and defensive anchors at every level.Winning close games, and not playing down to teams’ level will also be critical. That sounds like a captain obvious take, but with 2 years of experience under Brock Purdy he has to takeover games late, and he has the talent to do so. Also, I expect to beat bad teams now. Which is kind of cool as a pessimistic Iowa State fan.

Overall Record - 7-3

Conference Record - 5-2

Offensive Team MVP - Charlie Kolar. Yes I’m one of those guys who interprets this award with the definition of valuable in mind. Our best offensive player will be Brock Purdy, but a red zone, big play, need a catch NFL caliber tight end is insanely valuable for this Iowa State offense.

Defensive Team MVP - Mike Rose. This dude is nails. He’s a tackle magnet, and has been rock solid throughout his whole career. He’s got the brains, the braun, and most importantly, the hair.

Offensive Breakout Star - Breece Hall. Is it possible to have multiple breakout seasons? Hall rose to the top of the running back depth chart about halfway through the season last year, and then had a killer freshman campaign. My only caveat here, this is pretty dependent on offensive line play, but if it’s up to snuff, I’m not sure how you stop this Cyclone offensive attack.

Defensive Breakout Star - TJ Tampa. This one is a bit of a long shot but Tampa has said HES getting reps in the secondary, and if he goes after deep bombs like he goes after basketball lobs, boy are we in for a treat. Also, he probably has pretty good hands for a defensive back.

Breakdown of Season -

Lafyette- L

TCU- W

OU- L

Tech- W

OK State- W

Kansas- W

Baylor- W

K-State- W

Texas- L

West Virginia- W

Bowl Game- W

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Aiden Wyatt

What Makes or Breaks the Season- The skill positions are loaded, it is a matter if the offensive line can step up and dominate. There will probably be several close games and the difference will be in the trenches.

Overall Record - 10-2

Conference Record - 6-2

Offensive Team MVP - Brock Purdy

Defensive Team MVP - Lawrence White

Offensive Breakout Star - Xavier Hutchinson

Defensive Breakout Star - Isheem Young

Breakdown of Season -

Lafayette - W

TCU - W

OU - L

Tech - W

OK State - L

Baylor - W

Kansas - W

K-State - W

Texas - W

West Virginia - W

Conf. Champ - W

Bowl Game W

GIF to Culminate the Season -

Austin Keeney

What Makes or Breaks the Season-Offensive line play. Iowa State has one of the best QBs in the country, the best group of TEs in the country, an all big 12 caliber RB, and underrated WRs. The line has to hold up to give Brock Purdy time to work. If they do, our offense will be one of the nation’s best, and we’ll never be truly out of any games we fall behind. Defensively, we have to be better at pressuring the opposing QB. The back end of the defense should be rock solid. Brock Purdy also has to take better care of the ball in key spots. We had the fumble 6 against UNI, a fumble going into the end zone against TOE, and the late pick 6 against Ok State. Cleaning up some of those mental mistakes will put us in position to win a lot of games.

Overall Record - 7-3 with losses to Oklahoma, Texas, and an unexpected home game.

Conference Record - 6-3

Offensive Team MVP - Brock Purdy of course

Defensive Team MVP - Mike Rose

Offensive Breakout Star - Jirehl Brock, not as the feature back, but a guy who spells Breece and makes big plays

Defensive Breakout Star - Isheem Young

Breakdown of Season - I’m very nervous about the opener. I see an uncomfortably close win, followed by a win at TCU to kick the hype train into overdrive for the OU game. We start fast against OU, but they come back to beat us. We’ll be in the thick of the Big 12 race before losing a weird home game to either K State or Baylor and ultimately losing to Texas late and finishing 3rd in the league.

GIF to Culminate the Season -

Tony Liebert

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Iowa State will likely be in every single game, so unlike last year it will be very important to make clutch plays late in the game. They will have to win ugly, which usually requires great line-play and good decision making.

Overall Record - 9-3

Conference Record - 7-2

Offensive Team MVP - Charlie Kolar

Defensive Team MVP - Greg Eisworth

Offensive Breakout Star - Jirehl Brock

Defensive Breakout Star - Isheem Young

Breakdown of Season -

Lafyette- W

TCU- W

OU- L

Tech- W

OK State- W

Kansas- W

Baylor- W

K-State- L

Texas- L

West Virginia- W

Bowl Game- W

GIF to Culminate the Season -

David Braga

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Winning or losing the close games come crunch time. Iowa State has had it’s fair share of wins in the Campbell era, but maybe moreso, they’ve also had their share of close losses. Turning the tide in close games this year could be enough to push them over the edge.

Overall Record - 7-2

Conference Record - 6-2

Offensive Team MVP - Charlie Kolar

Defensive Team MVP - O’Rien Vance

Offensive Breakout Star - Sean Shaw Jr.

Defensive Breakout Star - Latrell Bankston

Breakdown of Season - The season gets through all the craziness going on right now, and a 6-2 record ties to make the Big 12 Championship Game where we get in on tiebreakers. Because of course in this year of craziness, we make it in.

GIF to Culminate the Season -

Levi Stevenson

What Makes or Breaks the Season-The progression of the offensive line. If the line regresses due to inexperience, we could see some significant issues in the running game, which would make us go to the pass-heavy offense that got us in trouble at times last season. If the line’s young talent steps up and starts creating push in the run game, we could see an incredibly effective offense. Even last season, Iowa State has largely had to overcome a mediocre overall running game in order to score points. Get some push and create some space for Breece Hall to work, and you have yourself a very dangerous offense.

Overall Record - 9-2

Conference Record - 8-1

Offensive Team MVP -Brock Purdy

Defensive Team MVP - Mike Rose

Offensive Breakout Star - Xavier Hutchinson

Defensive Breakout Star - Will McDonald

Breakdown of Season - Despite not having fans at the first game, Iowa State gets by a tough Ragin’ Cajun squad to tally the most impressive non-con win in the Big 12. Then a road trip to a Max Duggan-less TCU makes for a somewhat comfortable road victory to move them to 2-0, and possibly a top ten ranking. The next week, Iowa State takes down the Sooners at home, as Spencer Rattler is still trying to catch up to the pace of the Big 12, and struggles with Jon Heacock’s complex coverage schemes.

After an easy road victory at Texas Tech, Iowa State travels to Stillwater in what could be one of the best games of the 2020 season. Unfortunately, Spencer Sanders has finally found his rhythm, and the Cowboys sneak by in a shootout to hand the Cyclones their first loss of the season.Iowa State rebounds by rattling five wins off to finish the season, and earning a trip to the Big 12 title game. There, Iowa State battles Oklahoma for a second time, but the OU offense is humming by now and drops Iowa State in the title game by a touchdown.

The CFP playoff still happens because the big name teams are still in it, but the rest of the bowl games are cancelled, so Iowa State’s season ends in Arlington.

GIF to Culminate the Season -

Jared Larson

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Beating Iowa! Wait! We don’t have to worry about team out (okay now that I’m in Sigourney uhhh) north east for the first time since 1976. So, if we went 8-3 without having to play a 5-6 Iowa team, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have similar success this season*. *this assumes all ten regular season games are played.

Overall Record -

Ragin’ Cajuns - W

TCU - W

OU - L* (*depends if fans show up)

Tech - W

OK State - L

Kansas- W

Baylor- W

K-State- W

Texas- W

West Virginia- W

Bubble Bowl Game- W

Conference Record - 7-2

Offensive Team MVP - Offensively, I have to give the MVP to Charlie Kolar. A Second Team All-American by FWAA is only going to improve his ceiling as the season goes on.

Defensive Team MVP - Latrell Bankston. This guy can be as good as James Reed or even better, that’s my hope for him, at least.

Offensive Breakout Star - (Jared apparently thinks no one)

Defensive Breakout Star - Zach Petersen, if CMC says he looks like the Hulk (when he did last year so uhhh how does he get bigger someone explain PLEASE) I bet he’ll play like it on what could the most outstanding defensive line Iowa State has ever had.

Breakdown of Season - It’s going to be a weird season for all involved, but, if we can make our way past Napier’s Ragin’ Cajuns, we might have a real chance to do something special. I have my doubts against both Oklahoma schools, Okie State has OANNed owned us on the ground last year with 67 more yards, mostly thanks to Cowboy Chuba Hubbard.

GIF to Culminate the Season -

Matthias Schwartzkopf

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Unfortunately it’s going to to be the uncertainty in the world. If the season plays out. Iowa State will be there at the end, we just have to make it through a season.

Overall Record - 9-3

Conference Record - 7-2

Offensive Team MVP - Brock Purdy

Defensive Team MVP - Isheem Young

Offensive Breakout Star - Xavier Hutchison

Defensive Breakout Star - Isheem Young

Breakdown of Season - Clones battle through the rigors of the Big 12. Ultimately face off against Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. Anything happens from there. Then on to a bowl game that we hope is played somewhere.

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ISU Coach- Guest Picker

What Makes or Breaks the Season- Oklahoma State apparently is this year’s hotness. Which, I guess seems reasonable with their returning talent, but honestly... whatever. It’s gonna be a one possession game one way or another, so it really is as simple as controlling the last 3 minutes of the game. Going down there and beating them, assuming they live up to some of the hype, will be a hell of a statement.

Overall Record - 8-2

Conference Record - 7-2 (OU finds yet another QB, and then something goofy happens vs K-State because of course)

Offensive Team MVP - Other than BP with the gas... Breece Hall, breaks 1K, and looks great because the depth at the position is so quality.

Defensive Team MVP - Greg. Eisworth.

Offensive Breakout Star - Xavier Hutchinson, I’m buying it.

Defensive Breakout Star - Will McDonald! In a regular year I think we’d remember his November last season a little bit more.

Breakdown of Season - Honestly I think we’ll know about what we’re dealing with after Week 1. If we boat race Louisiana, then I’m not scared of anybody this season. They’re a talented offense and if the defense is able to gel that early, then the most points we’ll allow in a game is 30, and I trust the O to do that. (last year’s regular season average was 34!)Come out flat against Louisiana and who knows? This team is too legitimately good for me to be afraid of any of our opponents this year, but there is a chance every game puts some fans in the hospital even while we’re not in the stands.In short, get excited! The floor has never been higher, and the ceiling is close enough to tap!

GIF to Culminate the Season -