Thursday, September 10, 2015

Step One: Success; Step Two?

Iowa State's win over UNI confirmed one thing: The Cyclones are able to beat quality FCS competition, and they did so without running the ball very much. Other have noted they didn't really try to run- no outside runs, no read-option- but they moved the ball well and scored above last season's average.

Now comes SUI. As usual, the GoBlas are favored, and they looked good dismantling Illinois State. Yet I won't be shocked if Iowa State beats them again, for two reasons:

- Iowa drops a road game for no good reason each season. They are a different team in the white jerseys

- Iowa often gets a case of Tight Helmet (and/or Tight Headset) against Iowa State. They shouldn't, but they clearly do. Iowa has been the better team overall in most of their losses to Iowa State since 1998, so some part of Iowa State's success has to be mental. If nothing else, Iowa State comes into this game each year knowing they have more at stake. ISU has fewer winnable games each year than Iowa, so they have to take advantage of every opportunity. Iowa views the game as Just Another Game- it rarely makes or breaks their season when it comes to bowl-eligibility. They don't have to put extra weight on it, so they don't.

Iowa State has won 3 of 4 in the series after Iowa won 3 straight, but the road team has won the last 3.

Iowa State's next challenge is to prove that they can beat Poor to Decent FBS teams, and Iowa is certainly in the Decent category. Until I see a running game emerge and how the reconstructed defense competes with a quality offense, I expect Iowa to win by 10. Unless they get Tight Helmet, the ISU by 3.

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