Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Iowa State Cyclones season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Iowa State Cyclones
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Iowa State Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
How does Matt Campbell keep this all going?
2017 was a shocking, special season for an Iowa State team that had the experience, and it had enough talent to be good, but to beat Oklahoma and TCU? To go from 11 wins in four seasons – not doing better than three wins in any of them – to 8-5 with a bowl victory?
It wasn’t a miraculous run – that doesn’t give the team enough credit for what it did – and on the flip side, it could’ve been a whole lot better.
The Cyclones had Iowa buried – until it didn’t in the 44-41 loss. They also played tough against Texas in a 17-7 loss that could’ve gone either way, and in all, four of the five losses were decided by 15 points.
Of course, the good, experienced teams win those games – and Iowa State was a good, experienced team that should’ve won more of those games. But more than that, the team was competitive in every game.
Iowa State got blown out by double-digits in five games in 2016, and lost to Northern Iowa, too. Every single game last season was fun, and the Cyclone fans ate it all up.
Campbell is still the head coach, and there are a whole lot of key players back to do it all again.
Nah, the Cyclones won’t be good enough to go play in the Big 12 Championship, but they’ll once again be competitive enough each and every week to give themselves a chance. If that sounds like a knock, or setting expectations low, again, this isn’t a program used to a whole lot of success, with just one winning season between 2005 and last year, and seven since 1980.
This year’s team has the prerequisite heart, soul, toughness, and the other buzzwords usually assigned to successful teams that don’t have a lot of talent. But this one has enough player to win, too, starting in the backfield.
No one’s going to mistake Kyle Kempt for the next Tom Brady, but he’s a steady veteran quarterback who took over in a tough situation and saved the season. Combine him with a good-enough receiving corps, and All-Big 12 running back David Montgomery and a deep group of runners, and the offense will be just fine – even if the line might be a tad shaky.
The defense will be the bigger problem, with enough big losses to be annoying in the secondary and in the middle with LB Joel Lanning gone. However, Brian Peavy and the corners are great, the tackles have size, and the outside linebacking tandem of Marcel Spears and Willie Harvey will be among the most productive in the Big 12.
Campbell is a great coach, the players have bought in, and the upside is there to do it all again. Come up with back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2000-2001, and then it really will be time to have some fun.