ESPN has officially confirmed that they are coming back to Ames for College Gameday and the CyHawk game. The first question a lot of us Cyclone fans had was, “who is going to be the guest picker?” Since ESPN fumbled this choice a couple of years ago, we felt like we’d make it easier for them by giving our official power rankings of who should get the honor. For obvious reasons, we’re going to leave off anyone with political connections. Also not included are active NFL players, as Week 1 kicks off the day after the game. With that said, let’s take a look at the possibilities!
1. Georges Niang
Georges is the ultimate crowd pleaser, and an absolute legend at Iowa State. His number will be retired at Hilton Coliseum in due time. He even has experience appearing on College Gameday (the basketball version) before. The now-Philadelphia 76er will 100% pick Iowa State to win the game, which should be objective #1-100 this time around. He gets the top spot due to his embracing of the CyHawk rivalry, and his commitment to trolling the Hawks.
2. Tyrese Haliburton
I’m putting Tyrese in the runner up spot because I think he carries a lot of name recognition right now. His star is pointing up after a very successful, Top 3 NBA Rookie of the Year voting, start to his pro career. He’s never given up on his love for Iowa State, and there’s no doubt that he’d pick us to win the game. Georges gets the top spot based on his CyHawk history and longer Iowa State career, but Tyrese would also be a fantastic choice.
3. Monte Morris
Monte is in the middle of his first significant NBA contract extension. The Denver Nugget and all-time efficiency king is a name that still looms large in Ames, for obvious reasons. Monte is still a big-time Iowa State guy. The worry here would be ESPN giving him consideration. College basketball just doesn’t hold the same weight as we would like it to in a college football crazed country.
4. Chris Fallica
Consider this a “why not?” outside the box idea. The Bear is Gameday’s stats and gambling guru, and perhaps the biggest Iowa State fan with no real connection to the university. He’ll already be in Ames, and no doubt played a role in the show coming to town in the first place. This is a perfect chance to get him from behind the desk and onto the main stage.
5. Seneca Wallace
Seneca is a CyHawk legend who helped bring Iowa State forward in the rivalry. He checks the football knowledge box, and he still has ties to Ames. His Wing Stop restaurant is a popular spot, and he’s a no doubter to pick Iowa State to win.
6. Dan McCarney
Coach McCarney arguably did more for Iowa State and the rivalry than any coach in school history. His 5 game winning streak from 1998-2002 to break the 15 game losing streak turned the game into a rivalry instead of an easy win on Iowa’s schedule. He does have history with both side of the game, but his most prominent role was as ISU’s head coach. He probably won’t carry the name recognition that ESPN wants, but he would be a solid choice for the show.
7. Fran Fraschilla
Well, he probably couldn’t do this based on his role with ESPN. Without Fred Hoiberg in Ames, the next mayoral election to include a sports figure would probably end up with Fran receiving the most votes. He’s an Ames ride-or-die, and a huge Hickory Park fan. This surely would be fun.
8. Jason Momoa
A move star who grew up in Norwalk, Aquaman appeals to the locals for sure. He brings tons of name recognition. He’s not afraid to laugh at himself, as his Super Bowl commercial showed. I think he’d have fun with it. What we don’t know is his level of interest or fandom for college football at all. He also doesn’t have much connection to Iowa State, if any, that I’m aware of.
9. Shawn Johnson-East
Shawn brings a lot of name recognition, especially coming off a Summer Olympics year. She’s won ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. She’s one of the best gymnasts of all time. She is actually from Iowa, which certainly helps. The problem here is her fandom is a bit of an unknown. You also have to wonder if ESPN will opt for someone a bit more on the national consciousness.
10. Any Country Singer
Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Skeeter McSilverado, all of them. This is most likely to happen, but we’ve been down this road before. The Ames crowd will already be pretty hostile, and this is definitely not going to be a crowd pleaser.
11. Getting hit by a bus on the Spirit Walk
12. Ashton Kutcher
No, just no. Don’t bring a TOE fan to our town. I think ESPN knows better, but let’s just make it clear, do not do this.