Three thoughts on Thursday: A big positive & Big 12 picks

The third take of a new weekly column here at "Three Thoughts on Thursday" features the same concept as Monday Musings. It’s simply three opinions on hot stories that are relevant within Iowa State and Big 12 athletics. Enjoy!


A good place to start

I appear on around five different radio stations per week during the college football season to discuss Iowa State. Heading into last weekend’s season-opener against Northern Iowa, I was asked the following question on just about every show.

“What is the one thing that you want to see from the Cyclones on Saturday night?”

All week long, I stayed consistent with me answer. I wanted to see sophomore quarterback Sam Richardson solidify himself as the No. 1 guy. I didn’t want to see a sliver of a quarterback controversy at all during the 2013 campaign as looking back, the Jantz-Barnett-Tiller drama didn’t do anybody any good the last two years.

Despite all of the negatives that came out of the UNI game, Richardson did his part and that’s a real positive going forward. The Florida native completed 69 percent of his passes and didn’t turn the football over. Had you told me that stat line before the game and I wouldn’t have thought for a second that Iowa State would lose.

But the Cyclones still lost and that’s what matters right? Absolutely. But it’s now Thursday and I don’t see any point in piling on anymore.

There are all sorts of questions on this Iowa State team (that’s putting it nicely) but for the first time since Austen Arnaud graduated, Paul Rhoads’ team is solid at the quarterback position.

When it comes to picking up the pieces and making the most out of the season, that’s a pretty good place to start.

Issues on the trail?

According to Travis Hines from the Ames Tribune, Iowa State is no longer recruiting 2014 Michigan forward Jaylen Johnson.

So according to my calculations (and Hines’ too), Rashad Vaughn and Josh Cunningham are pretty much the only well documented targets left on Iowa State’s big board for 2014, a class that currently only has one commitment (PG Clayton Custer).

Did the Cyclones aim too high in this class?

According to our trusty scholarship chart, Iowa State has two more scholarships to fill in its 2014 class.

Only time will tell. But when you factor up all of the time and effort that Iowa State has spend on guys like Johnson, Reid Travis and JP Macura, this is anything but good news being that the calendar has already been turned to September.

The picks are in …

My predictions for this week’s Big 12 football games… 

Southeastern Louisiana @ No. 24 TCU – The real question is who you’d take with the big number of 42.5 next to it. I’ll take the Horned Frogs and give up the points. TCU 60, SE Louisiana 10

No. 13 Oklahoma State @ UTSA – An odd road game for Mike Gundy’s program. It’s notable that UTSA won a road game at New Mexico (21-13) last week. This smells like classic case of the home team hanging around for a while early only to be blown out in the second half. Cowboys roll. Oklahoma State 49, UTSA 17

Buffalo @ No. 23 Baylor – While many Big 12 teams got off to slow starts a week ago, Art Briles’ Bears steamrolled a Wofford team that it was supposed to trounce. Bryce Petty is the real deal. Lache Seastrunk is a legitimate Heisman contender. Meanwhile Buffalo made things interesting on the road at Ohio State, but still gave up a whopping 273 rushing yards. This will be a nice test for the Bears, who will cover the 21.5-point spread. Baylor 55, Buffalo 20

Louisiana-Lafayette @ Kansas State – The Wildcats, who lost their opener to FCS North Dakota State last week, are only a 10.5-point favorite in this one. Arkansas handled Lafayette by 20 last weekend. My brain tells me that KSU has to bounce back right? Kansas State 31, Louisiana-Lafayette 20

South Dakota at Kansas – You better believe that Chuck Weis will try to prove a point on Saturday nigh if at all possible. I’m taking another Big 12 team to cover. Kansas 35, South Dakota 10

Stephen F. Austin @ Texas Tech – The Red Raiders impressed me with their convincing road win over SMU last weekend. Texas Tech 51, Stephen F. Austin 17

West Virginia @ No. 16 Oklahoma – I’ve read a lot this week about how West Virginia’s offense had a field day against the Sooners last season. Uh, that was last season. Sooners will name their score in this one. Oklahoma 41, West Virginia 17

No. 15 Texas @ Brigham Young – The Horns are a touchdown favorite in this one. I think that Texas will win, but any time that you head west in the non-con, you better be prepared for a dogfight. Texas 24, BYU 21