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Football

WILLIAMS BLOG: Weighing Iowa State’s bowl scenarios

Not that I am usually a liar, but may I begin by being brutally honest with you guys?

I have no idea where Iowa State is going to go bowling. It’s a total cluster. I have seen everything “out there” from San Antonio all the way down to Phoenix – neither of which do I think will happen.

I do know two things:

1) Through EB Sports Tours, Cyclone Fanatic is going to have a charter, wherever that may be. It will be rolled out and ready to go just minutes after Sunday’s bowl announcement.

2) Iowa State’s superb fan reputation combined with the fact that the Cyclones haven’t gone to the postseason since 2012 will only help the cause. I could absolutely see Iowa State jumping a team or two in the Big 12 standings because of it.

A few things to currently consider…

The Big 12 Championship Game could greatly impact where Iowa State goes. The common theory is that if Oklahoma wins, the bowl selection committees will have to make a decision on a three-loss TCU team. Are they New Years Six worthy? I think it’s a toss-up. I could totally see the Cotton Bowl wanting the hometown Horned Frogs, but picking TCU over a three-loss Notre Dame? I have my doubts about that.

If TCU beats Oklahoma on Saturday morning, it is nearly a lock that the Big 12 will get two teams into the New Years Six games, pushing Oklahoma State to the Alamo Bowl and likely Iowa State to Orlando and the Camping World Bowl. It’s notable that West Virginia played in the Camping World Bowl last year.

Because of the fan base (as I explained up front) reputation, I still believe that Iowa State would be in play for Orlando even if TCU loses to Oklahoma. It will be a longer shot, but who would bring my fans this year? Iowa State, whose program excitement has never been higher, or Oklahoma State, whose coach just slow-danced with Tennessee and is disappointed after a three-loss season when some (myself included) picked the Cowboys to win the Big 12?

— Some bowls go strictly for matchups, others want fan attendance and money. If Iowa State fans want Orlando, they need to hope that Jamie Pollard is playing politics (I’m sure he is to the best of his ability) and that the Camping World Bowl is more into the latter.

A lot of projections still have Iowa State vs. Notre Dame in Orlando. As I wrote on Monday, I cannot think of a better scenario for the Cyclones. This would be an unbelievable opportunity for Matt Campbell’s young program in front of a HUGE television audience. Without even knowing it, I’ll go on record right now to predict that Iowa State fans would challenge whatever that bowl’s ticket record is if it’s Iowa State vs. Notre Dame in Orlando.

— Question: Would the Camping World Bowl pass on a chance to have Texas vs. Notre Dame?

— One thing that worries me about Orlando is the fact that Kansas State, who travels just as well as Iowa State, has never been there. This could be Bill Snyder’s final game. That could entice the Camping World Bowl.

— Let’s talk about Memphis: Personally, I loved my trip there in 2012. The weather sucked and playing Tulsa for the second time in a season wasn’t exactly ideal, but the bowl itself is great. Memphis is a smaller city that actually values its bowl game. It doesn’t get lost there. Beale Street is amazing and the annual Liberty Bowl parade is great for the family. I’d be fine with going back there. The only way I see the Liberty Bowl passing on Iowa State is if Texas is still available.

— Lots of rumblings about Memphis playing in the Liberty Bowl if the SEC doesn’t fill its allotment. That’s a matchup I’m not crazy about. Obviously, the Liberty Bowl is Memphis’ home field. Plus, that’s a really, really good Group of 5 team. I doubt Iowa State would be favored in it and the optics aren’t as positive if you lose.

— I feel like Houston is a long shot, mainly because wouldn’t it make the most sense for that bowl to snag Texas?

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