Once again, the Cyclones go into the football season with a brand-new schedule format. After being so used to the standard of playing everyone in the division and rotating three different south division teams, it’s hard to get used to Iowa State playing everyone in the conference.
And that was just year one last season. Now the Big 12 enters a season minus Missouri and Texas A&M; enter West Virginia and Texas Christian.
Throughout the rest of the summer, Clones Confidential is going to take a look at all nine conference opponents ISU will face from beginning to finish. The Red Raiders are up first.
2011 recap: It’s hard to forget how atrocious the Texas Tech defense was last season, and Iowa State started the misery that was a painful five-game losing stretch to close out the season. After cruising through the creampuffs, the Red Raiders allowed 31 or more points against Nevada and the entire Big 12 conference. Once the rushing attack disappeared against the Cyclones, Texas Tech suffered brutal defeats against Texas and Oklahoma State; in all three losses combined the Red Raiders were outscored 159-33.
What to look for this season: Tommy Tuberville already has a red-hot seat, and it isn’t justified. The team will not succeed with Tuberville’s mentality and the fans’ comfortability with an all-air attack to put four touchdowns on the board before the other team gets a first down. The team needs to figure out how to win games with a 2012 recruiting class full of defenders and find depth in the huge catalog of running backs when the injuries begin to mount up like it did last season.
Schedule: Texas Tech has an interesting trip to Texas State, but the non-conference schedule should result in three easy wins. Both the Cyclones and Red Raiders get a bye before opening play in the conference, and you can guarantee this time around that Texas Tech will be much better prepared. The rest of October is brutal: home against Oklahoma and West Virginia, then going to TCU and Kansas State. November’s strength will be determined by how well Texas improves and how much Oklahoma State and Baylor rebound from last season’s success.