Oct 5, 2019; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy (15) scores a touchdown against the TCU Horned Frogs at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Talk about a wild 98ish hours.
That’s how long it has been since Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reported the Mid-American Conference would be canceling its fall football season on Saturday and the entire college sports landscape went into emergency protocol.
At that moment, the cancellation of FBS football felt inevitable.
98 hours and three more conference cancellations, including two members of the Power 5, later and what felt like college football’s version of DEFCON 1 has been decreased back to DEFCON 2 or 3… for now.
The culmination of that process came Wednesday morning when the Big 12 released its revised schedule of conference games and reiterated its intent to keep pushing towards games starting next month along with the SEC and ACC.
The Power 5 is now a triumvirate.
What comes next is anybody’s guess, but, we now know, at least for today, we have football to prepare for. Here’s a quick breakdown of Iowa State’s revised Big 12 schedule.
Sept. 26 – @ TCU
The Cyclones open Big 12 play with the team picked sixth in the league by the media and one the road for the second year in a row. The Horned Frogs are expected to have one of the league’s best defensive secondaries and Gary Patterson’s offense will be led by sophomore signal-caller, and Council Bluffs native, Max Duggan. Last time the Cyclones visited Fort Worth, they left with a 17-14 loss that featured an anemic offensive performance, which prompted a change at quarterback the following week in Stillwater. The new guy, a true freshman named Brock Purdy, hasn’t given up his spot since.
Oct. 3 – Oklahoma
If you have to play Oklahoma in 2020, I’d say you would rather play them early. The Sooners will be replacing their starting quarterback for the fourth-straight season and redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler, a former blue-chip recruit with 11 collegiate pass attempts, is the man expected to fill the role. The last time the Sooners were in Ames, eventual Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray led them to a 37-27 win. This game also comes one week before their annual Red River Rivalry game against Texas.
Oct. 10 – Texas Tech
There probably is not a team in the Big 12 I’m more unsure about right now than Texas Tech. They were hit hard by injuries in Matt Wells’ first season, but the defense showed improvement from the woes they displayed on that side of the ball during the Kliff Kingsbury era. The team pegged ninth in the league’s preseason media poll could be markedly better in year two or it could be more of the same as they transition away from the Air Raid.
Oct. 17 – Bye
Oct. 24 – @ Oklahoma State
Back to the site of Purdy’s debut. There might not be a team better poised to end Oklahoma’s five-year run atop the Big 12 than the Cowboys. Mike Gundy’s squad returns the nation’s best running back in Chuba Hubbard, one of the country’s best receivers Tylan Wallace and versatile quarterback Spencer Sanders on offense along with a host of starters on defense. This game could have monster implications on how the Big 12 standings shake out for both teams.
Oct. 31 – @ Kansas
On the bright side for Kansas, it should be considerably more difficult for Iowa State fans to outnumber theirs with attendance restrictions in place. In all seriousness, the Jayhawks did show some progress during Les Miles’ first season and All-Big 12 running back Pooka Williams returns, but that’s about it. There is still a long way to go for Kansas to climb out of the Big 12 cellar.
Nov. 7 – Baylor
Iowa State fans have not forgotten tent-gate last season in Waco and I’m sure that has most folks hoping for the coldest day of the year when the Bears visit Jack Trice Stadium in hopes of denying their request for heaters on the sideline. Baylor has some key pieces of last year’s Big 12 runner-up squad returning, including starting quarterback Charlie Brewer, but there is also a new head coach on the sidelines in longtime star defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. I have a hard time thinking the Bears can carry over the close game magic they had last season while playing to an 11-1 regular season record, but they will still be a formidable foe.
Nov. 14 – Bye
Nov. 21 – Kansas State
Bill Snyder’s reign has ended, but Chris Klieman might be the closest thing to the man we called “The Vampire.” K-State has some key pieces to replace, especially defensively, but some playmakers on offense that should keep them afloat. The Wildcats’ style of play is always going to keep games close, which means they’ll jump up to beat some teams they probably shouldn’t, but can go the other way at times and leave them losing to teams they shouldn’t as well.
Nov. 28 – @ Texas
Always one of the league’s on-paper juggernauts, the Cyclones needed a last-second field goal to beat the Longhorns last season in Ames. If each team’s season goes as they hope, this could be a game with massive Big 12 title positioning implications. Hopefully, it will go considerably better than the Cyclones’ last trip to Austin when the game wasn’t as close as the 24-10 final score displayed in a loss.
Dec. 5 – West Virginia
I highly doubt I need to remind anybody how Iowa State’s last game played on the first weekend in December went, because I’m pretty sure we’re all still trying to warm back up from the mess of weather Iowa State and Drake played in on Dec. 1, 2018. Last year’s game against the Mountaineers was Breece Hall’s breakout moment and it came at a point in the season when Neal Brown’s team had been decimated by injuries. If there’s a team that is an easy choice to potentially be the league’s most improved team in 2020, West Virginia has a pretty good case.