We predicted the first six Cyclone games before the season started and had ISU at 5-1 (First Half Predictions). It was a pretty optimistic outlook, but Iowa State could easily have five wins at this point. With a few breaks the last two weeks the Cyclones are 2-0 in the Big 12 and 5-1 overall.
We missed big on the Iowa game, but who would have predicted six Cyclone turnovers. We were also wrong on the Kansas State game. If the Cyclones end up missing a bowl by one game, the K-State game will be the one they are kicking themselves over. Iowa State wins that game easily with a healthy Alexander Robinson.
Iowa State’s #1 goal from the beginning of the season – go to a bowl game and win it. We are half way through the season and the Cyclones are 3-3. The Cyclones will be bowl eligible if they can repeat the 3-3 record in the second half of the season. So let’s take a look at the remaining games to see if Iowa State can get to the six win mark.
Iowa State Cyclones Football – Second Half Predictions
10/17 Baylor Bears at Iowa State Cyclones
2009 Record – Overall (3-2) Big 12 (0-1)
2008 Record – Overall (4-8) Big 12 (2-6) 2008 Result – Baylor 38 Iowa State 10
Top Players: WR Kendall Wright 26 catches, 330 yards, 2 TD – P Derek Epperson 47.43 average
Key Injuries: QB Robert Griffin, KR Mikail Baker
Iowa State may be catching the Bears at a good time. Baylor’s top player, QB Robert Griffin, is out indefinitely and will not play against the Cyclones. To make matters worse, back up QB Blake Szymanski has a bum shoulder and played sparingly last week against Oklahoma. In addition kick returner Mikail Baker is out for the season. Last year, Baker took the second half kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown against the Cyclones.
The Cyclones finally got their passing game going last week and their running game is proving to be a force; currently the top ranked rush offense in the Big 12. Iowa State should have luck running against Baylor, who happens to be the worst in the conference in defending the run. Baylor’s best chance is probably through the air where ISU has been vulnerable. I expect the Cyclones to try to shut down the Bears running game and make freshman Nick Florence or Szymanski beat them.
Iowa State can and should win this game, but it will be a hard fought game and their best effort is a must.
- Prediction: Iowa State 27 Baylor 17 – Win (60% chance of victory)
10/24 Iowa State Cyclones at #15 Nebraska Cornhuskers
2009 Record – Overall (4-1) Big 12 (1-0)
2008 Record – Overall (9-4) Big 12 (5-3) 2008 Result – Nebraska 35 Iowa State 7
Top Players: RB Roy Helu, Jr. 91 carries, 552 yards, 6 TD – DT Ndamukong Suh
Key Injuries: S Ricky Thenarse, RB Rex Burkhead
The game at Nebraska is probably the most difficult on the Cyclones schedule. The Cornhuskers have a dominating defense, currently second in the nation in scoring defense, which is the reason we like them to win the Big 12 North.
The Huskers defensive line will be the biggest challenge to date for the ISU offensive line, which is statistically the top OL in the conference. Suh is an absolute beast, and game changer, Iowa State must do their best to keep him quiet.
Nebraska has a balanced attack on offense, led by Helu at running back. Zac Lee gets better at quarterback each week and he has a talented stable of receivers to spread the ball around to.
Iowa State must win the turnover battle and run the ball well to have a shot in Lincoln.
- Prediction: Nebraska 31 Iowa State 13 – Loss (20% chance of victory)
10/31 Iowa State Cyclones atTexas A&M Aggies
Texas A&M Aggies
2009 Record – Overall (3-2) Big 12 (0-1)
2008 Record – Overall (4-8) Big 12 (2-6) 2008 Result – Texas A&M 49 Iowa State 35
Top Players: QB Jerrod Johnson #3 in total offense (356 yards) – Von Miller leads nation in sacks from the “JACK” position
The Cyclones and Aggies combined for 84 points and over 1,000 yards of offense in last years contest. It could be a repeat performance with both defenses struggling again this year. Iowa State is 88th in total defense and Texas A&M is 83rd.
This game is probably the best chance left for Iowa State to break the conference road losing streak. Iowa State’s last conference road win came over Texas A&M on October 29, 2005.
To win, Iowa State must win the turnover battle and have an effective, methodical running attack to shorten the game.
- Prediction: Texas A&M 34 Iowa State 31 – Loss (45% chance of victory)
11/7 #16 Oklahoma State Cowboys at Iowa State Cyclones
Oklahoma State Cowboys
2009 Record – Overall (4-1) Big 12 (1-0)
2008 Record – Overall (9-4) Big 12 (5-3) 2008 Result – Oklahoma State 59 Iowa State 17
Top Players: QB Zac Robinson 237 yards of total offense – P Quinn Sharp #2 punter in the country
Key Players Out: WR Dez Bryant likely to miss remainder of season (NCAA suspension)
Oklahoma State does a lot of things well, but with their best player (Bryant) likely out and RB Kendall Hunter battling injuries as well, Iowa State has a chance to sneak a win from a ranked team.
The Cowboys punt team units have been special this year, they top the conference in net punting and punt returns.
With any luck Ames will be bitterly cold when Okie State comes to town for this game. The Achilles heel for OSU has been pass defense. Austen Arnaud will have his best game as a Cyclone and a late drive will result in the winning points, as ISU finally finds a way to win a close one.
- Prediction: Iowa State 31 Oklahoma State 29 – Win (50% chance of victory)
11/14 Colorado Buffaloes at Iowa State Cyclones
2009 Record – Overall (1-4) Big 12 (0-1)
2008 Record – Overall (5-7) Big 12 (2-6) 2008 Result – Colorado 28 Iowa State 24
Top Players: RB Rodney Stewart
2009 is a make or break year for Dan Hawkins, it is looking more and more like it will be break. Hawkins predicted 10 wins, but 10 losses are a good possibility for the struggling Buffaloes. Hawkins fate may be decided before the Buffs make this trip.
It is tough to find anything Colorado is doing well right now. Colorado actually had more penalty yards (20 for 140) then total offense (127) in the loss to Texas. The coaches son, QB Cody Hawkins, will ride the pine the remainder of the year. It will be interesting to see how the team reacts to this change.
In the scenario we are predicting, Iowa State will be playing to clinch a bowl game here. The Cyclones will be hugely motivated and could be facing a team that has mailed it in for the year. ISU will flex their muscles a little in this one and win by three scores.
- Prediction: Iowa State 30 Colorado 10 – Win (75% chance of victory)
11/21 Iowa State Cyclones at Missouri Tigers
2009 Record – Overall (4-1) Big 12 (0-1)
2008 Record – Overall (10-4) Big 12 (5-3) 2008 Result – Missouri 52 Iowa State 20
Top Players: QB Blaine Gabbert 275 yards total offense – WR Danario Alexander/Jared Perry – P Jake Harry – K Grant Ressel
Mizzou is very solid on offense again and we expect them to improve offensively as the season moves along. Blaine Gabbert is a future star in this conference and will have a great year if he can remain healthy. RB Derrick Washington will need to improve upon his early efforts if the Tigers are going to challenge for the North Division title.
The Tiger defense has been solid in 2009 (45th in total defense). Iowa State’s best chance is a balanced offensive attack that takes time off the clock and keeps Missouri’s offense off the field.
The Cyclones have played pretty well in Columbia, but their last win came in 2005. Mizzou is improved on defense and the offense will be firing on all cylinders by the time this game is played. Iowa State comes up short in the season finale.
- Prediction: Missouri 30 Iowa State 21 – Loss (75% chance of victory)
Iowa State Cyclones Bowl Projection
Iowa State ends the year at 6-6 and will be eligible for a bowl game. We project 9 teams from the Big 12 conference to be bowl eligible (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Iowa State) and the Big 12 only has alliances with 8 bowls. The Cyclones may have to hope for an at-large bid. Our best guess, the PapaJohns.com Bowl in Birmingham, AL.