The Iowa State Cyclones should be thankful that the University of Kansas is also in the Big 12 when it comes to football. Because as bad as Iowa State has been over the past several years, for the most part, Kansas has been worse — and the Jayhawks were winless last year for the first time since 1954. ISU was just 3-9 last year under former coach Paul Rhoads and has a wins total of just 3.5 for the coming season on college football odds.
Taking a Closer Look at the 2016 Iowa State Cyclones Fearless Betting Predictions
The Cyclones Were Smart To Fire Rhoads
Rhoads was clearly in over his head at ISU and was fired — as he should have been. His high-water mark was a 6-7 record in 2011 & ’12. He finished 32-55 overall in his seven years. Despite knowing Rhoads needed to make a bowl game in 2015, Iowa State showed little progress. In the second-to- last game of the year, the Cyclones had a touchdown lead and the ball inside the Kansas State red zone the final two minutes but lost in regulation 38-35.
And then in Rhoads’ last game, ISU showed no heart in a 30-6 loss at West Virginia. Iowa State was limited to 284 total yards and failed to score a touchdown for the first time all season. The Cyclones went winless on the road, something that hadn’t happened since 2008.
Campbell Will Be Coaching Upgrade
I think there’s no question that the hiring of Toledo’s Matt Campbell to replace Rhoads is a great move. Campbell agreed to a six-year contract with a first-year salary of $2 million. Campbell is only 36 years old, but was in his fourth season at Toledo. He compiled a record of 35-15, and a 24-8 record in MAC play in those four years. The Rockets won seven games or more in each of his four full seasons at the helm, including three nine-win campaigns. He’s 2-1 in postseason games as a head coach.
Under Campbell, the Rockets ranked in the top 40 in terms of FBS total offense each year. That proficiency made him a candidate for Wisconsin’s vacancy in 2014. This is Campbell’s first position outside of his native Ohio. He was an All-American defensive lineman for a Mount Union team that won three straight NCAA Division III Football Championships between 2000 and 2002.
Campbell says he doesn’t care that the Cyclones’ last winning overall record was 7-6 in 2009, and that their last winning Big 12 record was 5-3 in 2000.
“Everybody has a chance. We’ve got some great things to sell. We’ve got this great fan base and we’ve got these great facilities. To me, it’s maybe not about what’s happened in the past, but it’s about what’s going to happen here in the future,” he says. “I don’t know if it happens overnight, but you build a rock solid foundation and allow it to grow.”
Warren Will Be One Of Big 12’s Top Running Backs
Expect Campbell to build his offense around Mike Warren. Last year, he was the nation’s best freshman rusher with 1,339 yards, the fifth-best season total in ISU history and tops by an ISU rookie. His 1,339 rushing yards was the third-best effort by a freshman in Big 12 history. Warren broke ISU’s season school record by averaging 5.90 yards per carry, the 35th-best average in the nation. He ranked third in the Big 12 and 19th nationally in yards per game at 111.6. In league games only, he led the Big 12 in rushing by averaging 131.7 yards per game.
Campos Would Be Missed
Jake Campos, Iowa State’s only offensive lineman with significant experience, is out indefinitely. He was hurt Monday and there’s no timetable for his return. Losing Campos for an extended length of time would be a blow to the Cyclones. Campos accounted for 23 of the 24 returning starts along Iowa State’s offensive line. The other start belongs left guard Nick Fett. Junior Shawn Curtis is listed as Campos’ backup. A Rivals three-star recruit, Curtis hasn’t played yet after redshirting as a true freshman in 2013.
Go Under Over/Under Wins Total
Go under the wins on NCAA football odds. I only see ISU winning Sept. 3 vs. Northern Iowa, Sept. 24 vs. San Jose State and Nov. 12 at Kansas and I'm not even sure on that last one.