Staff Picks: Fiesta Bowl

Chris Williams, Publisher – Iowa State 30, Oregon 21

After exhaustively studying Oregon over the last few weeks, I am convinced that this team will be a preseason top 15 group in 2021. So will Iowa State. It’s a fun matchup featuring a Cyclone group that has its identity and an Oregon team that is still developing one. They remind me of Oklahoma in the Pac-12. The Ducks struggled early in the season but started to find their footing after getting more and more reps throughout the shortened year. I agree with Vegas here though that right now, Iowa State is the better and definitely more proven football team.

Jared Stansbury, Managing Editor – Iowa State 28, Oregon 27

I expect this game to be a classic one. It will come down to who can do a better job stopping the run. I like Iowa State’s chances there, but it will be close.

Rob Gray, Senior Writer – Iowa State 34, Oregon 24

I fully expect Oregon’s defense to stack the box. I also expect that to hinder, but not fully derail Breece Hall’s ability to dictate things in the run game (with some nifty short passes mixed in). If the ISU offensive line returns to form after a rough outing in the Big 12 title game, look out. I simply don’t see any reason the Cyclones won’t put up at 30 points or more unless the line struggles. That should be enough for Jon Heacock’s defense and barring any, er, many special teams snafus, ISU will emerge from its first New Year’s Six bowl appearance content unscathed.

Jay Jordan, Football Analyst – Iowa State 31, Oregon 24

ISU defense will be challenged by Oregon’s offensive scheme, but I suspect they will find something for it. The O can move the ball and if Hall gets going will move it well. It will be hotly contested and ISU will play cleaner and prevail.

Jeff Woody, Football Analyst – Iowa State 30, Oregon 21

I don’t know which Oregon team is showing up. But what I do feel is Oregon has not sustained consistent offensive success in two and a half games. Their defense is athletic but has not played a team that stresses you in the ways that Iowa State does. The explosiveness of the Ducks on both sides means they will get their big plays, both offensively and defensively. But I don’t think they’re going to consistently be able to decipher the code of Iowa State’s scheme on both sides of the ball consistently for four quarters. Plus, who am I to pick against Iowa State now? 

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Contributor – Iowa State 27, Oregon 24

Count me as part of the group that is concerned about Oregon’s ability to get pressure on the quarterback. I think getting Breece Hall involved early in the passing game would go a long way to alleviating some of that pressure. Of course, we’ve seen Purdy be willing to tuck it and run when needed in recent games, but when you have a consensus All-American at running back who has good hands for the position, why not take advantage?

The over/under in this game is currently at 58. Iowa State traditionally hits the under in bowlgames under Matt Campbell, so I think this one will turn into a bit of a grind-it-out style game, and that likely favors the physicality of the Cyclones.

Kirk Haaland, Contributor – Iowa State 31, Oregon 27

Oregon will present issues and I have some fear with their pass rush but trust the offense will correct some of the issues the last time out vs Oklahoma. But really the key is Brock being Brock and the defense being the defense. 

Iowa State is a really good football team and definitely good enough to win the Fiesta Bowl. Crazy.

Last game of the year, can’t hold anything back now.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.

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