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Iowa State football: ESPN previews the Cyclones’ season


September 8, 2012; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones wide receiver Jarvis West (1) is tackled by Iowa Hawkeye safety Tanner Miller (5) in the fourth quarter at Kinnick Stadium. The Cyclones defeated the Hawkeyes 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The latest source to preview Iowa State’s upcoming season comes from ESPN’s Big 12 blog. No, Cyclone fans’ favorite author, David Ubben, didn’t write the preview, but HornsNation reporter Max Olson did. In general, a solid preview with some good points that we’ll take a look at.

Even with the bias, it’s better to have someone that’s actually seen the team a few times, and Olson clearly did some homework going into his preview.

It begins with the general quick stats (head coach, key losses, key returns, etc.) and labels junior college transfer E.J. Bibbs (tight end) as the newcomer of the season. He mentions the Iowa rivalry as the big game in 2013, and lists the one-hit upsets since the Paul Rhoads era began and wonders what team will be next. His biggest question is the Cyclones’ ability to win more than three conference games this season.

That will certainly be a tall order, especially when he breaks down the team in his fairly thorough forecast.

"If this Iowa State team is going to climb higher than No. 8 or No. 9 in the final Big 12 standings this fall, it’s going to take another strong coaching job. This Cyclones bring back only nine starters. There’s good talent in the secondary, and [Kirby] Van Der Kamp is one of the nation’s best punters, but there’s also inexperience throughout the defense. The Cyclones will rely on seniors [Jacques] Washington and [Jeremiah] George to raise the rest of the defense’s game, and they’ll be seriously tested by the league’s high-powered offenses."

He also mentions the depth at running back, and that a wide receiver needs to emerge which is certainly possible. The only addition that I would have in the forecast, or possibly a big question, is how the defensive line will play with stiff challenges in the non-conference season (Iowa is still traditionally talented there and Tulsa has plenty of experience) and how that part of the team needs to step up to have a successful season and make it to another bowl game.

Overall, a great job by Olson giving a quick and accurate preview of Iowa State’s upcoming football season.