When Iowa and Iowa State take the field Saturday, it’ll be the highest stakes Cy-Hawk matchup, maybe ever. Not just a ranked matchup for the first time ever, but a clash of top-10 programs.
That’s something that can loom large at the end of the season with a committee now in control of college football’s postseason. Some might even say this is “like Iowa State’s Super Bowl.”
The magnitude of the game isn’t lost on any of the players, but then again, how could it ever be? If players aren’t raised in the rivalry, they find out about it very quickly. The trophy has two homes: one in Iowa City and one in Ames. And as Tyler Linderbaum put it:
“On Saturday, rent is due.”
The numbers pretty much show complete domination by the Hawkeyes. They lead the series 45-22, have the longest winning streak at 15, have the largest win at 57-3 and are in the midst of a five-game winning streak. With that being said, it’s been a close series lately. Six of the last nine games have been one score games.
“The last 20, 22 years, any time we’ve lined up, it’s been a tough challenge,” Moon Family Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I think records have been different during that through the course of time certainly, but you just always expect it to be a real battle, and this one I think will be the same way.”
On paper, it seems the Moon Family Head Coach is right, despite Iowa State’s subpar showing against an FCS opponent last week. The Cyclones are stacked with experience and all-conference talent on both sides of the ball. Their offense is dynamic and the 3-3-5 defense is something the Hawkeyes rarely see.
The biggest challenge though, may be playing in front of a hostile crowd — for some of the players, for the first time ever. They say they’ve pumped in loud music and crowd noise during their practices. While that may help, it’s hard to replicate the kind of environment they’ll face on Saturday in Ames.
The Hawkeyes have plenty of talent of their own though, and it’s not like they haven’t gone into Ames and won before. In fact, they’ve won their last four times at Jack Trice Stadium and a handful of players did see the field in that rain delayed, dramatic slugfest in 2019. Another gem from Linderbaum sums it up:
“At the end of the day, football is football.”
Last weekend the Hawkeyes’ defense showed it’s more than capable of stopping a dynamic offense, with Riley Moss outscoring Indiana by himself 12-6. The offense did its job, but turned the ball over a couple times; something they haven’t done against Iowa State since 2015. They’ll look to clean that up Saturday.
The weekend already got off to a rough start for the Cyclones with announcement of Ashton Kutcher as College Gameday celebrity guest picker. Two controversial Ashton Kutcher moments in one year. Crazy times. And for the record, there’s been far worse choices.
A Cyclones win and that’s likely forgotten. A loss and it’s salt in a Hawkeye-shaped wound that never really seems to go away. Now, let’s take a look at the picks.
Dennis Dodd: Iowa State
Tom Fornelli: Iowa
Chip Patterson: Iowa
Barrett Sallee: Iowa
David Cobb: Iowa
Shehan Jeyarajah: Iowa State
Jerry Palm: Iowa
John Garcia: Iowa
Molly Geary: Iowa State
Ross Dellenger: Iowa
Pat Forde: Iowa State
Richard Johnson: Iowa
Kerry Miller: Iowa State 17, Iowa 13
Scooby Axson: Iowa
Jace Evans: Iowa
Paul Myerberg: Iowa
Erick Smith: Iowa
Eddie Timanus: Iowa
Heather Tucker: Iowa
Dan Wolken: Iowa
Allen Kenney: Iowa State 23, Iowa 17
Chris Hummer: Iowa State 21, Iowa 18
Brad Crawford: Iowa State 20, Iowa 17
Bruce Feldman: Iowa State 28, Iowa 27
Stewart Mandel: Iowa State 27, Iowa 24
Hawkeye State Predictions
Quad City Times
Steve Batterson: Iowa State 21, Iowa 20
Experience and home field are the difference in another knockdown, drag out between the Hawkeyes and Cyclones. Ten Iowa State starters from the 2019 Cy-Hawk game will be in the ISU lineup on Saturday, including six on defense. Iowa returns three as it plays in a true road environment for the first time in nearly two years. A close game as the Hawkeyes look to extend their five-game win streak in the series, but Iowa State has an edge at Jack Trice Stadium this time.
Scott Dochterman: Iowa State 23, Iowa 20
Brendan Stiles: Iowa 20, Iowa 17
Tyler Tjelmeland: Iowa 31, Iowa State 17
Jack Brandsgard: Iowa 16, Iowa State 13
John Patchett: Iowa 31, Iowa State 20
Cody Hills: Iowa State 13, Iowa 10
Totally relevant irrelevant prediction simulation
The artist formerly known as HawkeyeHQ.com’s Ryan Jaster: Iowa 23, Iowa State 13
Consensus: 20 of the 34 picked Iowa to walk away with the Cy-Hawk trophy for a sixth straight time. Sputtering to a six-point win against an FCS opponent definitely didn’t help with the Cyclones’ eye test, while a blowout win of Indiana was a boost the Hawkeyes. The general consensus seems to be that this will look like other games in recent years: low-scoring and close. And that’s worked out well for the Hawkeyes in the past.