The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Iowa State Cyclones.
No. 36: Iowa State Cyclones
Spring Practice Starts: March 19
Spring Game: April 14
Iowa State Cyclones Spring Status
After being five wins better in a breakthrough season under Matt Campbell, now it’s about trying to maintain the momentum in a small conference with the other nine teams all either good already and/or improving.
Can the Cyclones be good enough to beat teams the caliber of 2017 Oklahoma and TCU again? The coaching is still going to be terrific, the lines are strong, and there’s still enough good talent on both sides to at least go bowling.
However, heart-and-soul types like LB Joel Lanning, WR Allen Lazard, DE J.D. Waggoner and left tackle Jake Campos are gone, along with just enough other missing parts to hurt.
But it’s not like the program hasn’t had to overcome worse under Campbell.
Iowa State Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Wide receiver. It was one of the team’s biggest strengths last season, and now three of the top four targets are gone. There are still a few good receivers returning in Marchie Murdock, Hakeem Butler and Deshaunte Jones, but you don’t get better after losing Allen Lazard and Trever Ryen. They were difference-makers to help the offense overcome a shaky quarterback situation.
Iowa State Biggest Issue
Make the ground game great again. It was easy to rely on the amazing receiving corps and the great defense, but the ground game wasn’t as big a part of the attack as it needed to be. David Montgomery ran for 1,146 yards and 11 scores, but the team averaged just 3.44 yards per carry with just two 200-yard rushing days. Fortunately …
Iowa State Biggest Positive
The running backs. Montgomery is a good one, but he’s not alone. Kene Nwangwu is big back, returning from an Achilles’ heel problem that kept him out last season. Underutilized Mike Warren is also returning, and there are plenty of other options for new running backs coach – and former Illinois quarterback – Nathan Scheelaase to work with.
Really, Why Are The Iowa State Cyclones Ranked Here?
It’ll be hard to get a whole lot better with a few of the core guys gone, but this is still a very good, very sound, very dangerous team. It needs the same attitude, and it has to do just about everything right to repeat the eight-win campaign.
But now the expectations are there to at least be competitive with everyone in the conference, and under Campbell, going bowling on a regular basis should be the norm.