The 4th installment of how I think ISU Football will do this year. ISU closes the season with 2 home games and a road game. With how I've had everything play out thus far, ISU is 5-4 (1-4 in the Big 12), with 1 win needed to be in the conversation for the postseason.
Will ISU become bowl eligible? Let's find out!:
Oklahoma State: This is a trap game for Oklahoma State -- at least in my mind. They will just be coming off a home game (probably a loss) to Texas, and they will be looking at a home game against Texas Tech the week after our game. Each of the last 2 years we've seen a ranked team come into Ames, play less than inspired football and almost lose (2007 Oklahoma, 2008 Kansas). I see the same with 2009 Oklahoma State.
On paper, they are a much better team with more playmakers, but sandwiching a trip to Ames in November between two big home games gives this game the potential to be close. Similar to 2007 Oklahoma and 2008 Kansas, if it does get close, I think they have the weapons to get past us, as evidienced by them blowing us out in Stillwater last year. I put ISU down for a loss, but it could be close - at least for a while.
Colorado: The last 2 years of games against CU have been interesting. 2 years ago in Ames, ISU was down 21-0 to rally in the 2nd half, and narrowly win. Last year was the infamous option play on the 2 yard line that was denied to lead to a CU victory. That stung, especially being up 10-0 at the half, and by 11 with 9:00 to go in the 4th quarter.
I expect another close game this year. Colorado is a sexy pick to surprise in the North, but I am not so sure about that. In my mind they have questions at QB and OL, which are spots you really don't want to have questions at, as you need to put up points to win in the Big 12. We're close talent-wise to them, and we should've won the game at Boulder last year. I think it's an ISU victory in yet another close game.
at Missouri: This won't be the same Missouri Team that we've seen the last couple of years, but they do return some weapons on offense. In my mind, they are the biggest wildcard in the Big 12 North. They could end up being pretty good and going to another bowl as some project, or they could be one of the worst teams in the Big 12 North and end with a losing record (which others project). Just from the sheer fact that this game is on the road, I put ISU down for the loss. Until I start seeing ISU win away from the Jack, it's tough to predict road wins.
Overall this would put ISU at 6-6 (2-6 in the Big 12) for the season. It would then put up to how the rest of college football (particularly in the Big 12) played out to see if ISU would get a Bowl Invite. If we did get invited, you'd have to think it would be Shreveport, but it just depends on how everything else plays out. Just to be in a postseason conversation would be exciting.
What do you think? Do you see us getting Bowl Eligible this year? I know going 6-6 sounds like a lot of wins, but I think it's possible. We could very well lose to Iowa, and that would put us at 5 wins. I think ISU finds some way to win a couple of conference games this year. Many project us to win 2 or 3 non-conference games, and then lose the entire conference season again. All they are doing is looking at last year's totals and figuring it will happen again this year.
What I have tried to do is take a look at each game, and do my best to guess how I think it will play out with what I know about the teams now. When doing this exercise, I didn't have a win total in my head, then did the math to try to figure out the scenario in which we could acheive that total. If you would've asked me a couple of months ago before I've really looked at the schedule, I'd probably say ISU wins 3 or 4 games. But when I look at the schedule, I just don't see more than 6-7 losses.
I have ISU going 2-6 in the conference, but how will the rest of the conference do? Where will that put ISU? Next week, I am going to be previewing the rest of the Big 12, so be on the lookout for that!