The Big Ten West is no longer on the butt-end of jokes as one of the weakest conferences in college football but is now a loaded conference with three teams of serious national relevance. The emergence of teams like Minnesota with PJ Fleck, Iowa State with Matt Campbell, and Nebraska with Scott Frost has changed the narrative of Iowa “dialing 1-800-creampuff to being stuck with one of the toughest schedules in the country.
Oh, did I forget to mention our Big Ten East crossover games including going on the road to Happy Valley and the Horseshoe? Would anybody be shocked if Penn State was a consensus top-ten team next year? What about if Ohio State won not only the Big Ten but the whole thing next year? And always tough Wisconsin? Oooooooof.
After Iowa beats UNI at home, I’m sure I will remember the loaded schedule on the horizon, act completely rationally and not call for a Rose Bowl appearance after sneaking out a win over an FBS team, because I’ve never done that before.
But then Iowa State comes to town and they could be really dangerous this year. Yeah, I’m sure the Cyclowns will find a way to blow it in the end and we can all look back at this and laugh just like I do every year when the generic Cyclone offseason propaganda gets in my head. Infecting my rational brain with the thoughts that Iowa’s little brother to the West has any chance of coming into Kinnick and winning. It hasn’t happened in 2,081 days and they have yet to score a touchdown in Kinnick since that time as well. Okay, I’m back to overly confident.
The difference is that, unfortunately, this isn’t the Iowa State of a decade ago, or even the Iowa State of two years ago. The middle linebacker experiment and quarterback carousels are a thing of the past, Brock Purdy is the guy. Matt Campbell has had plenty of time to get “his” guys in there that he wants and create the program his way, it’s getting close to needing results in Ames. I’m betting last year stung and the Hawks are going to take the best shot Iowa State has to offer.