It’s the final too early preview of the football season, and Iowa State sits at 5-6 on the season in hopes of trying to get a bowl berth. But they’ll have to do it at TCU, a program that’s also revamping their offense and boasts one of the best defenses in the Big 12.
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Iowa State recorded one of their upsets in the Paul Rhoads era in the same season that the Horned Frogs joined their new conference. They learned quickly that it wasn’t going to be the same as it used to be. No more rolling through the Mountain West in hopes of getting a BCS bid. Instead, they would have to work every week.
TCU suffered five losses in the Big 12 during their inaugural season, which was respectable considering they bolstered a win over Texas. And their losses weren’t bad — 56-53 against Texas Tech and 24-17 to Oklahoma are prime examples.
Things then took a step back last season with seven Big 12 losses, notching only wins over Iowa State and Kansas. The offense was abysmal, but the defense was the second-best total defense in the conference.
That looks to be the trend for this team, and they could feature the best defense in the Big 12 with eight of their starters returning on that side of the ball. The questions will remain on the offensive side of the ball. In a similar vein to Iowa State, TCU is changing up their offense but will continue to have questions at quarterback.
Nov 9, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Texas Christian Horned Frogs Head Coach Gary Patterson calls for a timeout late in the game against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium. Texas Christian beat Iowa State 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s the problem with Iowa State facing two teams at the end of the season that are looking for a quarterback — TCU will find their guy by November and he could thrive in their new spread offense that will consist of more plays. If the Cyclones’ defensive line can’t contain it, then it could be a brutal end to the season.
Remember, another reason why the Horned Frogs offense was bad was because it was young. B.J. Catalon returns at running back and their two leading receivers (Josh Doctson and David Porter) will be coming back. LaDarius Brown was kicked off in February for drugs and Brandon Carter is likely done after an arrest and bad grades, affecting the depth of the position but not losing their better receivers.
Too early prediction
It won’t be ugly as the mess against West Virginia, but Iowa State will suffer their second consecutive season of missing a bowl game and finishing 2014 at 5-7. A lot of things can change between now and December when this game will happen, and you’ll see a completely different preview by game time. But based on what to count on between now and then, TCU’s defense holds the edge.
The Horned Frogs’ defense was aided in a windy day at Jack Trice Stadium last season to make life hard for the Cyclone offense, but it’s doubtful Grant Rohach would have been any more successful given how much pressure he faced. It could be even tougher this time around. Expect a close slugfest of hard hits, and your typical Cyclones disappointment of missing out on a bowl after TCU kicks a game-winning field goal.
Eat your heart out on that heartbreaker, ESPN.
TCU 20, IAST 17