FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Match-up you’re most excited to see

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell watches from the sideline during a NCAA college football game in the Cheez-It Bowl against Clemson, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

In the first piece of a 10-part series previewing the Iowa State football season, Chris Williams, Jared Stansbury, Jeff Woody, Brent Blum and Connor Ferguson dive into Iowa State’s schedule and peg the game they’re most excited for in 2022.

Chris Williams: I think the Baylor is the most important game of the season for Iowa State but I’ll go with at Iowa in week two for my personal excitement level.

What we will see from the Cyclones is a bit of a mystery this summer and perhaps that will be a benefit for the good guys in the 2022 Cy-Hawk game.

All I know is that when Iowa has known what’s coming, it hasn’t worked out in Iowa State’s favor during the Matt Campbell era.

Kirk Ferentz’s dominance in this rivalry is not something that Campbell’s staff takes lightly and getting that box checked would be a very big deal for this program, despite Iowa State’s consistent success in the Big 12 over the last half-decade.

Jared Stansbury: Iowa is the easy answer here, and I’m guessing my colleagues will agree. For that reason, I’ll go with the Oklahoma game in Ames on Oct. 29.

We all know October seems to be when Matt Campbell’s teams start to hit their stride, and that last weekend in the month formerly known as Brock-tober has produced some of the program’s best all-around performances.

We don’t know how many more opportunities we’ll get to see the conference’s most dominant program visit Jack Trice Stadium, which is unfortunate considering these two schools have gone head-to-head on the gridiron 85 times in the last nearly 100 years.

Of course, this series is coming to an end just as Iowa State gets into a position where it can consistently compete with the scarlet and cream.

Oklahoma’s a program with nearly as many significant question marks as Iowa State considering the mass exodus of talent after Lincoln Riley left for USC. For the first time in a long time, the Sooners feel like a wild card going into a season.

It stinks they moved this game off of the Thursday night it was originally scheduled for, but, alas, Oklahoma making perhaps their last visit to Ames at the time Iowa State’s teams historically hit their stride will be must-see TV.

Brent Blum: For reference, I have a love-hate relationship with the Iowa game.

It’s hard to say anything but the in-state game this year. Iowa State has so many unknowns entering the season and we won’t have a lot of answers to those questions until week two in Iowa City.

The Baylor game to open the Big 12 is also on the short-list, but a win in Kinnick would be a monumental boost to this season. We can be assured if that happens, the Iowa State band would go out the correct exit.

Jeff Woody: Is it ever *not* Iowa?

At this point in the development of the program, you can solidly say that Iowa State is a top-25 level program year in and year out, regardless of the number of weeks spent in that rankings system.

So is Iowa.

I have family that went to Iowa, and I’m sure you did too.

So the fact that you have two highly-respected programs in an in-state, inter-conference rivalry game so early in the season is unique and an exciting test.

ISU has started flat in nearly every season under Matt Campell (relatively speaking). But there have also been a lot of “knowns” on the ISU roster for us (and regular opponents, i.e. Iowa) to prepare for.

That ain’t the case this year.

So perhaps ISU is able to throw things at Iowa they weren’t expecting and get a different result. But perhaps they come out and it’s just like the last few years. Who knows?

But the world will find out on September 10th.  

Connor Ferguson: I’m really excited to see Iowa State against Oklahoma.

For one reason or another, Matt Campbell and his staff have coached some of their best games against the Sooners – whether that be keeping it close or winning it.

With Brent Venables in his first year in Norman and a home matchup against OU, I think it will be the most intriguing game on the slate.

I also want to mention that UCF transfer Dillon Gabriel will be taking the field at quarterback for OU. Gabriel had nearly a 70% completion rate last year and spreads the ball around with ease. I’m excited to see what he can do at Oklahoma and can’t wait to watch him play in person.

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.