I’ve got good and bad news for everybody. Let’s start off by knocking the negative out of the way. The Cyclones lost to Missouri on Saturday, putting Paul Rhoads and the boys at 6-6 on the 2009 football season. You all knew that already though so don’t sweat it.
The good? Kansas State is out of the picture and Mark Mangino’s Kansas team is the definition of a total mess in today’s college football world. If I were a betting man, I’d say that the Jayhawks would not be bowling anywhere this holiday season. Even if they would somehow beat Missouri next weekend, what bowl game would really want that debacle of a program coming to town?
So here we are, the Monday before Thanksgiving, pondering where the Cyclones will be heading for Christmas. I’ll be the first to admit that I believe most bowl projections are a mess. Up until yesterday, many national “experts” still had Kansas State playing in December, with six wins. Normally that’d be fine, but these experts missed the boat and didn’t realize that the Wildcats needed seven wins to play in the post season. That’s my whole point. Don’t put too much stock in what these bowl projections predict. They’re projections for a reason. There is still a lot of football to be played.
Let’s take a look at what some of these national publications are saying about Iowa State shall we?
We’ll start off with the always-popular www.collegefootballnews.com.
This site has Iowa State taking on Arkansas in the Independence Bowl on December 28, in always-beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana.
ESPN.com’s pair of projectors agree with CFN. Both Bruce Feldman and Mark Schlabach have the Clones playing in the Independence Bowl against South Carolina and Georgia perceptively.
It doesn’t end there. CBS Sports has Iowa State heading to Shreveport taking on South Carolina as well.
Chris’ Take: I’ve been pretty consistent about this all along. I realize that Shreveport isn’t a gorgeous place to spend the holidays. But the one thing I love about this bowl game is the SEC opponent. Will Iowa State be favored against any SEC team? Of course not. But think of the possibilities. A match-up with Gene Chizik…Paul Rhoads going head-to-head with the Ole Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier. Arkansas is an exciting possibility. This could be a fun bowl game once fans get the stigma that is Shreveport, out of their minds. I’ve never been there. It can’t be that bad can it?
ESPN.com’s Tim Griffin seems to take a lot of heat on the CycloneFanatic.com message boards, but I tend to put a little more stock in his projections than some others. Regardless of some of his blunders involving the Cyclones over the years, he’s a well-connected individual within the league. He sees Iowa State heading to Phoenix playing in the Insight Bowl, even after the Missouri loss. Griffin projects Oklahoma State to be in the Fiesta Bowl, moving everybody up a notch. He also predicts a KU loss to Missouri next weekend.
Chris’ Take: Like I wrote last week, this is a best-case scenario type of situation for Iowa State. The Insight Bowl was like a dream back in August. I’ve written a lot about how important a big-time match-up is for me when talking Iowa State’s bowl game. Minnesota is the overwhelming pick to represent the Big Ten in this contest. While that program isn’t known for grabbing national headlines, it’s still a BCS opponent and Iowa State would have a legitimate chance to beat the Gophers, should they meet up on New Years Eve.
The best news that I can bring you today is that it appears as if the chances of Iowa State ending up in either Boise or Detroit now appear to be extremely slim. Kansas State losing was huge. Oklahoma State should now be everyone’s favorite team. As I mentioned above, Kansas doesn’t really scare me anymore. I don’t believe any bowl would pick them over Iowa State at this point in time.