Where Athlon Sports tabs the Cyclones going into 2024 season

It’s that time of year – college football magazines are beginning to hit the shelves as fans get some summer reading material to attend to.

Here’s where Athlon Sports tabs the Cyclones in this year’s edition.

Of the 134 teams ranked from an overall standpoint, the magazine has Iowa State at No. 29. The Cyclones are the seventh Big 12 team in the overall poll, and Utah at No. 14 is actually the highest rated team from the conference there. Others ahead of Iowa State include No. 17 Kansas State, No. 19 Oklahoma State, No. 21 Kansas, No. 23 Arizona and No. 26 West Virginia. Iowa, for what its worth, is listed at No. 28.

The nine teams picked to finish behind Iowa State are No. 43 TCU, No. 44 Texas Tech, No. 48 UCF, No. 50 Colorado, No. 66 Baylor, No. 67 Arizona State, No. 68 BYU, No. 73 Cincinnati and No. 75 Houston is picked at the bottom.

The magazine’s bowl projections have the Cyclones in the Armed Forces Bowl against UTSA.

As for conference unit rankings, Iowa State’s defense is slated to be one of the best in the Big 12. The Cyclones come in with the No. 2 defensive line, No. 3 linebacker and No. 2 defensive back rooms in the league. Utah is 1-2-1, respectively, in the same categories.

On the offensive end, the quarterback room is on the underrated side at just No. 8 in the conference, while the running backs are at No. 10. Athlon gives the receivers No. 4 in the Big 12 and the offensive line is at No. 6.

Jeremiah Cooper is the lone all-Big 12 selection from Iowa State at the safety position.

The magazine tabbed its 12 most exciting games to watch and the season finale Farmaggeddon matchup with Kansas State appeared on the list.

An opposing Big 12 assistant coach had this to say of Iowa State going into the year:

“This will be a really telling season for Matt Campbell. Can he rebuild that program in the portal and NIL era? A few years ago, it seemed like his name was out there for every job, and then they fell back to earth…

“They didn’t show anything from the new offense in the spring, but I don’t think it’s going to be a huge departure. That’s why you make an internal promotion…

“Their issues are talent-based, not scheme, not culture. They don’t have the guys they need year in and out. Are they going to change and adapt to the transfer world? Can you still win a league like ours just relying on the recruit-and-develop system? They added a few pieces this year, so maybe they’re changing up.”

Obviously, the coach remains anonymous, but despite a 6-3 Big 12 record from a season ago, the Cyclones are still flying under the radar.