FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Biggest road test

Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz, right, meets with Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell prior to kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

In the third piece of a 10-part series previewing the Iowa State football season, Chris Williams, Jared Stansbury, Brent Blum and Connor Ferguson dive into Iowa State’s schedule and peg the Cyclones’ biggest road test in 2022.

Chris Williams: There are a handful of Big 12 games that would be appropriate here, specifically at Texas on Oct. 15 and at Oklahoma State on Nov. 12. But the answer here is at Iowa on Sept. 10 and anybody who tries to argue that is lying to themselves.

Like it or not, the pressure is ramped up on Matt Campbell and his staff heading into this game. You cannot ignore being 0-5 against your in-state rival. It’s everywhere.

Iowa State’s coaches and players are well aware of this too, despite what they might say publicly leading up to the 2022 Cy-Hawk game. Because of that narrative and Iowa State’s traditional slow starts in the month of September, Iowa is the easy answer here. 

Jared Stansbury: I mean, there’s only one game on Iowa State’s schedule that would make the early-season stretch of the slate an automatic success with a win. The trip to Iowa City on Sept. 10 in THE test.

We’ve seen how Iowa State has been able to catch up to the rest of the Big 12, having won more games than every team in the league besides Oklahoma over the last five years. The Cyclones have passed those tests with flying colors under Matt Campbell.

But, they still haven’t been able to pass the big one, and few people will expect them to do so this year with all the new faces squaring off with Iowa’s fairly veteran roster at Kinnick Stadium.

Brent Blum: Iowa is a given as a huge test, but think about the possibilities of a win over Texas in (perhaps) UT’s final year in the Big 12. That would mean four straight wins over the Longhorns, something that would have seemed impossible in any of our lifetimes.

Texas will get the annual “Texas is back” attention in the coming weeks and Bijan Robinson and his Lamborghini are the real deal. The fact remains the Longhorns are always going to have a supposed talent advantage on paper. But it was in Austin in 2020 where Breece Hall’s famous “Five Star Culture” quote was born and that has remained true since.

Jeff Woody: Texas in Austin.

Texas *should* be better than they were last year. They’ve totally overhauled their ro$ter with $o much new talent, $omehow.

There is $omething $pecial brewing in Au$tin.

They also gotta just hate having gotten physically matched or beaten up three years in a row by *takes off 10-gallon hat and monocle, wipes sweat with $100 bill* lowly Iowa State

Connor Ferguson: The obvious answer here is Iowa.

The looming weight of the Cy-Hawk streak going Iowa’s way and the latest opportunity for Iowa State to end that streak heavily outweighs the other four options.

Oklahoma State could be argued in the same space, but I think there’s too many questions with how late that game is. Iowa, as you all know, is circled on the schedule and the impact of that result will outweigh the rest.

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.