Over/Under 6.5 Wins () vs Iowa State Cyclones ()Date : 09/01/2018
Time : First Game: South Dakota State Jackrabbits @ Iowa State Cyclones 8:00 PM
Location : Jack Trice Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 6.5 Wins vs Iowa State Cyclones
The Iowa State Cyclones knew they needed a culture change as they failed to crack the 3 win mark from 2013-2015 and they found just the guy to change this program around in Matt Campbell. People thought it was a stretch for the Cyclones to bring in one of the youngest coaches in college football but Campbell proved he was the guy after he led Iowa State to a bowl game in 2017 as well as earned Big 12 coach of the year. Iowa State had arguably the 2 biggest wins in their program history last season as they were able to upset #3 Oklahoma on the road as well as #9 TCU which gave Cyclone fans hope that more is to come. Iowa State is hoping to take another step forward in 2018 which would essentially be a Big 12 championship and they have the veteran leadership to do it. Both sides of the ball return plenty of starters for Matt Campbell to work with but at the same time, he will have to replace key pieces from their 2017 Liberty Bowl champion squad. The next step for Campbell is to improve the recruiting grounds for the Cyclones as they are forced to compete for the top recruits with their in-state rival in the Iowa Hawkeyes. Campbell was not successful in landing a top class in 2018 as he had the 7th ranked signing class out of the Big 12 teams but he was able to satisfy some needs. The Iowa State Cyclones were able to lure in 4-star WR Joseph Scates who decided to attend Iowa Sate over the likes of Alabama, LSU, and Oklahoma.
Over/Under 6.5 Wins's Latest Performance :
Iowa State took a huge step forward from year 1 to year 2 for head coach Matt Campbell as he improved his win total by 5 additional games and a bowl victory over the Memphis Tigers. Iowa State may have lost a couple of leaders on both sides of the ball but they still return a majority of key pieces who should shoulder more of a load this season. Iowa State is seeking consecutive bowl games, something that hasn’t been done since the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Oddsmakers have high hopes for Campbell as they set the over/under at 6.5 wins.
Can Iowa State Contend?
Iowa State is looking to climb back into the top half of the Big 12 standings and potentially win a couple of more big games this season. Iowa State upset Oklahoma on the road last season but luckily for them, they have a shot at beating them for the 2nd straight year with a crack at them at home. The road Big 12 schedule isn’t dreaded like years past as the only 2 places that could cause trouble for the Cyclones is TCU and Texas but again winnable for Campbell and company. The non-conference schedule outside of their in-state rivalry game against the Iowa Hawkeyes is winnable as they will host FCS foe in South Dakota State as well as Akron. Iowa State won’t need to upset teams like last year to become bowl eligible as they have a very winnable schedule in what could potentially be a down year for the Big 12 conference as a whole.
Iowa State Cyclones 's Latest Performance :
The Iowa State Cyclones showed the ability to score at will last year as they cracked the 40 point mark 5 different times and the most dangerous part is that they have a chance to be even better in 2018. Iowa State got the best news of the offseason when there veteran QB Kyle Kempt was granted a 6th year of eligibility due to the difficult route he took to arrive at Iowa State (Oregon State, JUCO). Kempt was able to emerge as the full-time starter after battling with 2 other QBs for the head spot and Kempt was effective in his starting role as he threw 15 touchdowns compared to 3 interceptions as well as had an impressive completion percentage as he sat at 66.3. Kempt will be supplemented by one of the best running backs in the Big 12 as junior David Montgomery is coming off an 1146-yard year where he crossed the end zone 11 times. Montgomery was also solid in giving the quarterbacks a security blanket through the air as he picked up 296 yards in the passing game. Kempt will be missing his best pass catcher from last season in Allen Lazard (941 yards & 10 TDs) but he will return his big 6’6 target Hakeem Butler who was a big playmaker for the Cyclones as he averaged 17.0 YPC and 7 TDs. Butler could possibly be joined by another 6’6 WR as Matt Campbell signed 3-star Sean Shaw out of the state of Ohio. The defense was in a much better spot last season rather than years past as they were the 2nd best scoring defense in the Big 12. Iowa State will be without the heart and soul of there team in Joel Lanning who led both the defense and offense which is a big loss for the linebacker corp as he had a team-high in tackles with 114. Although Lanning will be missing for the Cyclones they still return some solid linebackers with Marcel Spears (107 tackles in ’17) and redshirt senior Willie Harvey (12 TFL in ’17) all coming back for another year. The defensive line will be deep especially in the 3-4 formation and they will be led by junior DE JaQuan Bailey who had 6.5 sacks last season which was good for top 5 in the Big 12. The veteran leadership doesn’t only stop in the front 7 but also in the back end as they have two senior cornerbacks who have been in the starting lineup since there freshman year. Brian Peavy is already in the record books for career tackles and interceptions after an 88 tackle and 2 interception season last year and expect the gap to grow even more in his senior year.
Player To Watch
Chase Allen, TE, RS Soph.
The Iowa State Cyclones could have one of the deadliest air games in the Big 12 especially if they can get the tight end position involved more this season. Chase Allen is a Rob Gronkowski type target as he stands at 6’7 and the redshirt sophomore is coming off an offseason where he put on an additional 20 pounds. Allen was on the field all season for the Cyclones but his numbers tell us otherwise as he had only 4 catches for 39 yards. Chase Allen could be a mismatch for the shaky Big 12 defenses and I expect Matt Campbell to get the youngster involved more.
How Over/Under 6.5 Wins & Iowa State Cyclones Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 6.5 Wins -120
Under 6.5 Wins -Even
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
9/1- South Dakota State- W
9/8- @ Iowa- L
9/15- Oklahoma- L
9/22- Akron- W
9/29- @ TCU- L
10/6- @ Oklahoma State- W
10/13- West Virginia- L
10/27- Texas Tech- W
11/3- @ Kansas- W
11/10- Baylor- W
11/17- @ Texas- L
11/24- Kansas State- W
Overall Record: 7-5
Against The Spread Selection: Over 6.5 Wins -120
My reason for the pick :
Iowa State football fans are entering 2018 with a lot of hope that the program will finally be able to compete with the likes of Oklahoma and Texas and although they will do enough to reside over the win total they won’t be able to crack the top 3 in the Big 12. Iowa State returns a ton of talent on the offense with both a veteran QB and a solid group of playmakers which could potentially put up 40 points per game on any given day. The Cyclones won’t need to pull any magic off like years past to become bowl eligible as they have a winnable schedule, especially at home. Matt Campbell might not appear to take any steps forward given the 7-5 record but if he can consistently give this program bowl appearances he has done more than enough for the university and this football team. Expect the Cyclones to win 7 games and make consecutive bowl games for the first time in 6-7 years.