Where Athlon Sports projects the Cyclones

Another one of the major college football preview magazines is out and available for the public in Athlon Sports’ 2022 edition.

We break down where Iowa State slots out for Athlon and where it compares to Lindy’s edition ahead of the season.

Much like Lindy’s the writers at Athlon project the Cyclones to finish sixth in the Big 12 standings this season, going 7-6 on the year with a 5-4 record in conference play.

There’s much more beyond that:

Athlon’s preseason top 131

Iowa State is slotted in at No. 50 in the Athlon poll, which uncoincidentally puts the program at sixth in the Big 12. Conference foes ranked ahead of the Cyclones include No. 11 Baylor, No. 13 Oklahoma, No. 17 Oklahoma State, No. 29 Texas and No. 41 Kansas State.

Other Iowa State opponents include No. 32 Iowa, No. 51 West Virginia, No. 55 TCU, No. 61 Texas Tech, No. 99 Kansas, No. 120 Ohio and FCS SE Missouri.

A bowl game

Athlon Sports projects Iowa State to qualify for the Armed Forces Bowl against future Big 12 foe Houston, losing to Dana Holgorsen and the Cougars.

Athlon’s all-American team

Will McDonald IV again appears on a magazine’s first-team all-American list as one of the top four defensive linemen in the country.

Athlon’s all-Big 12 teams

Joining McDonald IV on the all-conference first team were wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson and offensive lineman Trevor Downing.

Linebacker O’Rien Vance, safety Anthony Johnson and punt returner Jaylin Noel earned second-team honors. Offensive lineman Darrell Simmons Jr. and Noel (at kick returner this time) made the third team.

Athlon’s Big 12 unit rankings

Iowa State’s highest-ranked unit comes at the receiver position, as the magazine picks the room at Iowa State at No. 3 in the conference.

The offensive line and linebacker groups come in each at No. 4, ahead of the defensive backs at No. 5, and the defensive line at No. 6.

The Cyclones were slated near the bottom, however, with both quarterbacks and running backs selected as No. 9 and No. 10, respectively. The latter unit rankings are likely based on lack of experience, but it could come as a surprise to some fans.

Out of all the constants in both magazines together, the repeating theme comes in Iowa State needing to prove itself again, but there’s a reason they play the games, right?