By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
I have been putting this off for weeks. It is now time to go on the record with my picks for the 2010 Cyclone football season. I want to know what you all think too. Post your predictions and reaction to my in THIS THREADon our CycloneFanatic.com forums. Here we go.
MY FINAL PICKS FOR 2010
Iowa State 31, Northern Illinois 24
– For months, I’ve been preaching for you fanatics to not take this game lightly. In my mind, that tone hasn’t changed. However, two things make me feel better about this football game than I did a month ago. The first is the Iowa State defense. Though I haven’t been able to watch practice, conversations I have had on and off the record with random members of the coaching staff and more have made me feel better about the current defensive situation in Ames. The second reason that I feel better about Iowa State’s chances is Northern Illinois’ quarterback situation. At this point, they still don’t have a starter. I’m not going to get too hung up on that though because this NIU team is built to run and they have a very good running back in Chad Spann, who rushed for 19 touchdowns last season. This Thursday, I expect to see a crisp Iowa State passing game and a defense that plays with confidence. I have the Cyclones starting 2010 1-0 with a win over quality Northern Illinois team.
Iowa 24, Iowa State 17
Iowa State 24, Kansas State 14
Iowa State 31, Northern Iowa 10
– If the Cyclones don’t start off the season 3-1, the chances of a bowl game this season are very slim. I have the team doing so with a convincing home win over the Panthers.
Iowa State 34, Texas Tech 31
– The Texas Tech and Utah games are the ones to circle on this schedule in my opinion. In order to get to 6-6, the Cyclones must win one of these two at home. Iowa State is 1-7 vs. Texas Tech all-time. In fact, against the three Big 12 South schools that Iowa State will play this season (Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech), the Cyclones have gone 6-81 all-time. Note that Iowa State is 5-67 against Oklahoma all-time, so that accounts for a major chunk of the above statistic. If you’re scoring at home, it is notable that the Cyclones are 17-25 all-time against Oklahoma State, 5-4 vs. Baylor and 1-9 against Texas A&M. The point is that picking Iowa State to beat Texas Tech on Oct. 2 is a leap of faith, according to the statistics anyway. Its a good thing that those numbers have nothing to do with the 2010 roster. I just think that Tech is going to experience a few more WWMLD (what would Mike Leach do?) moments than they are expecting. I think that 29-year old Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown has a great future, but he’s not Mike Leach. By this point in the season, Iowa State’s offense should be at full-speed. I’ll stick with the upset here.
Utah 30, Iowa State 21
– I don’t see the Cyclones being as fortunate in this one. Here’s a quote from Utah offensive lineman Zane Taylor on his team. “We are completely loaded at every (offensive) position. If you ask me to tell you our biggest weakness, I couldn’t tell you what it is because I don’t know what it is.” That is confidence fanatics. Confidence spews out of this Utah program on an annual basis. They expect to win and I don’t like Iowa State’s chances in this one but that’s just me. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Cyclones flip-flop wins/losses in the Tech/Utah games. Regardless, Iowa State MUST win one of these two contests that they’ll likely be underdogs in.
Oklahoma 41, Iowa State 20
Texas 34, Iowa State 13
Iowa State 24, Kansas 21
– I think that in a weird way, Kansas is one of the most overrated teams in America. Nobody is picking the Jayhawks as a top 10 team or anything like that but you have publications like the Sporting News ranking them 31st in America.
Nebraska 21, Iowa State 13
Iowa State 27, Colorado 24
– This one will likely go down to the closing seconds. I look at it this way. Dan Hawkins vs. Paul Rhoads…Who would you take?
Missouri 38, Iowa State 24
More Notes: For Iowa State to reach a bowl game, the team needs to do three things.
1) Take care of business on Thursday night against Northern Illinois.
2) Upset Texas Tech or Utah.
3) Sweep the Kansas schools. If that happens, an upset over Missouri on Nov. 20 wouldn’t seem so crazy would it? Then, we could be talking about seven wins.
I think that…
– Iowa State’s defense will turn some heads within the conference this season. Nobody is expecting anything from the Cyclones. I’ve been saying for weeks that I truly believe the Iowa State defensive line will be better than they were a year ago. That isn’t saying much but still, it is improvement. While the linebackers will lack what Jesse Smith brought to the table, the starters (not the guys behind them) are more athletic and could possibly make a few more big plays. I think we all can agree that the Cyclones are solid in the secondary. And probably the most important thing that I could write here is that Wally Burnham is one of the best defensive coordinators in football.
– Iowa State will play in one of three bowl games. My vote is for the Cyclones to participate in the first ever New York Yankees Bowl against a Big East team. The Dallas Football Classic (vs. Big Ten) and Eagle Bank Bowls (ACC) are legit possibilities as well.
– Oklahoma will win the Big 12 Championship game over Nebraska. I think that the Sooners will get Texas in the Red River Shootout as well.
– If Paul Rhoads does indeed get the Cyclones to a bowl game this season, other BCS schools will look at him at to become their next head coach. I don’t think that he’ll leave Iowa State though so don’t worry.
– Kelechi Osemele is going to have a big year. He could go pro early. Sticking with the offensive line, I think that Ben Lamaak will be an NFL draft pick as well.