During the offseason, it’s hard to not look at the upcoming season and not think of potential hot takes and predictions for what is to come. With that in mind, I’ve decided to do just that. Time to sit back and watch the world burn with some scorching hot takes for the 2022 Iowa State Football season
Starting off our list, we’ve got one for the season as a whole.
Iowa State ends the season ranked in the top 25
Now I know what you might be thinking here. David, this isn’t much of a hot take. Since Matt Campbell took over, we’ve seen Iowa State ranked more often than basically ever before and the Cyclones have found themselves in plenty of very solid bowl games come late December. But here’s the thing: Despite all that recent success, Matt Campbell and company have only ever finished the season ranked in the Top 25 one time (coming in 2020 after beating Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.)
I’m not saying Iowa State finishes as high as they did in 2020, coming in at #9 of the final poll, but cracking the Top 25 after a bowl game is more than possible for this team.
Coming off a season that had Cyclone stars Brock Purdy, Breece Hall, Charlie Kolar, Mike Rose, and so many other all-time guys graduate and/or get drafted to the NFL, the expectations for this Cyclones team probably aren’t nearly as high as what they were last year when they had all those guys.
While obviously, you’d like “In a position for a Big 12 Championship Game” to be an attainable goal year in and year out, that hasn’t been the case for Iowa State really ever. While all the players and coaches know damn well they *can* beat anyone, I’d expect them to fully embrace an “Us against the world” or “Underdog” mentality. I like this team with that mentality and I like them to close the season strong and in the Top 25.
How about another super spicy take, this time for a specific player:
Jaylin Noel will have more receptions than Xavier Hutchinson
Okay. now, this one... this one is definitely a scorcher for me. Yes, that’s right. Jaylin Noel will have more receptions than the Big 12’s leading receptions man from a year ago. Now before you @ me on social media for this, just hear me out. It’s nothing against Xavier Hutchinson and I think he will lead the team in yards and touchdowns, but the team reception crown this year, I think, is going to Jaylin Noel. Hunter Dekkers is going to be getting his first sustained action this year. He’s had his quarters and drives before (Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma) from last year and I’m not necessarily “worried” about him being our quarterback this year.
That being said, I do think (particularly early in the season and early in games) this coaching staff is going to want to get him in a rhythm offensively. There’s going to be a lot of Jirhel Brock, Deon Silas (when healthy), Cartevious Norton, and the rest of the RBs in the room early and often. On top of that, I would also expect Iowa State to get him in rhythm with a lot of those quick little bubble screens and quick touch passes in the backfield along with just some nice easy “dink and dunk” passes over the middle. Without a Charlie Kolar or Chase Allen to be that solid option over the short middle of the field, until the tight ends develop a little more, I expect Jaylin Noel to be the “safe” option for Dekkers to find.
I do expect X to get his fair share of targets and receptions this year, especially knowing that he’s a tremendous number 1 option to make Hunter’s life easier. He’ll still make his big plays week after week and he’ll find the end zone plenty, but like I said, especially early in games (and early in the season) I expect QB1 to look toward Jaylin Noel a LOT.
That’s going to do it for the first pair of bold takes for the upcoming Iowa State Football season. I’ll have plenty more for the coming weeks as this year starts a new-look Cyclones team with plenty of unknowns across the board.