Coming off of a quiet week in football recruiting and basketball clinging to the bottom of the Big 12, I was actually quite unsure what to “muse” about this week (which doesn’t happen very often). Luckily, you diehard Fanatics brought it with some killer mailbag questions.
I’ll do a football mailbag today and move onto hoops tomorrow.
JD4560 writes: If you could make the perfect non-conference schedule for Iowa State football, who would it consist of and why? Also would it be a home and home?
CW: I love this question. I could do an entire podcast on it. Perhaps I should in the offseason…
Obviously, there is Iowa. I am very high on the Cy-Hawk game so unlike many of my colleagues in the media, I would keep it. It’s the most electric week of the year in our state and to me, it represents much more than a simple football game. Plus, I cannot wait for Campbell to really get this program hitting its full stride. Based off of how last summer went (Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz is clearly agitated with Campbell’s recruiting), I believe this rivalry will only get more heated with age. I choose to believe that Iowa State shouldn’t fear Iowa. The Cyclones should view this annual game as an opportunity to knock off a really solid program and build a name through it.
As far as the other two games go, I think I would prefer to go the Kansas State and Baylor route in buying two automatic wins. No home and homes with MAC schools anymore. Beat up an FCS team and somebody else from the MAC or Sun Belt. Assure yourself seven home games every year and eight when Iowa is in town. It’s the smartest thing that a school with Iowa State’s tradition could do, but I don’t feel that answer goes with the spirit of your question.
Thinking outside the box: I’d love to see Iowa State schedule a home and home with Minnesota. There is no love lost between Matt Campbell and P.J. Fleck, dating back to their days as rival coaches in the MAC. It makes sense when it comes to recruiting. The road trip to Minneapolis is very doable for fans, which makes up for the old Big 12 games that we all used to be able to travel to (Nebraska, Missouri) but now can’t.
Cyber JJJ writes: With Tom Hermann joining the coaching staff at the University of Iowa in taking pot shots at Matt Campbell‘s recruiting, should we take that as a sign he is being effective?
CW: I know for a fact that the Iowa staff has been annoyed with Iowa State’s recent effectiveness on the recruiting trail.
Did you guys see that over the weekend Iowa offered 2019 quarterback Easton Dean, who coincidentally committed to Iowa State just a week before?
Ferentz taking note of Campbell QB commit https://t.co/nUseoChznI
— Chris Williams (@ChrisMWilliams) February 18, 2018
I’m not sure that Iowa State is really stepping on Tom Herman’s toes as far as taking prospects (Texas primarily recruits Texas and surprisingly, this Campbell staff doesn’t hang out down there very much) but it is absolutely notable when the University of Texas head coach is mentioning the Cyclones during his National Signing Day press conference.
Matt Campbell got a kick out of it.
All I know is that for the first time since I started covering Iowa State recruiting almost 15 years ago (I’m getting old), the Cyclones are relevant in that world.
I never saw Mack Brown calling out Dan McCarney.
As far as Herman goes, I just rolled my eyes when I saw that. Tom worked here for three years. He knows better than to with a straight face, compare recruiting at Iowa State and Texas. It’s not even apples and oranges. It’s more like prunes and watermelons.
Cyclones500 writes: Iowa State football in 2018: Where would you set the over/under for regular season wins?
CW: Depending on where you looked, Vegas had the number at 5 or 5.5 last year. Now that the Campbell staff has proven that it can not only compete in the Big 12 but go to and win a bowl game, I’m guessing the number will be at either 6.5 or 7 heading into next year.
It’s tough because while Iowa State lost a lot of games in the closing minutes, many of the wins came in that capacity as well. That will be noted by the experts in the desert.
The expectations will be for Iowa State to have a stout defense that should rank in the upper half of the Big 12. David Montgomery will be a top 10 running back in all of college football. The wide receivers are at the top half of the league and the Cyclones return a proven winner at quarterback. Really, the only piece I’m still not sold on heading into next year is the offensive line.