Thursday, August 19, 2010

5 Cyclone Predictions That Will Prove I’ve Officially Lost My Mind

OK, so I don’t completely believe these will all happen, but I do believe they are a possibility. So, before you reserve me a room at the state mental institution, just know that I’m only half insane. Iowa State’s season begins 2 weeks from tonight under the lights at Jack Trice. Enjoy…and pass me some more red Kool-Aid, please.

1. Iowa State will finish in the top 10 in the nation in total offense—This would be a quantum leap considering they finished 73rd last season. But last season was the first year under Paul Rhoades and Offensive Coordinator Tom Herman. Look for vast improvements from senior QB Austin Arnaud, a talented and experienced offensive line, and a deep and gifted set of running backs and receivers. Herman’s offense at Rice finished #8 nationally in his last season as their coordinator in 2008, so he’s proven he can get a team there.

2. Austin Arnaud or Alexander Robinson will be a Heisman candidate late into the season—Can Arnaud throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000? It’s a possibility. He ran for nearly 700 last season and threw for nearly 3,000 the year before. Coaches say he’s the most improved player on the team by far. He had to learn three different systems his first three seasons, so given the opportunity to finally feel confident and comfortable in an offense, who says he can’t put up those numbers? Could Alexander Robinson rush for 1,500 and receive for 1,000? A-Rob rushed for 1,200 yards last season and wasn’t even healthy for much of the year. He also had nearly 300 receiving yards. Give him a healthy, full season and those numbers are not out of the realm of possibility.

3. Iowa State will beat Iowa—They’ll have plenty of motivation after a tumultuous summer has left many wondering just how many Cy-Hawk series are left with all the conference re-alignment. You know Paul Rhodes is itching for his first victory against the Hawks. Oh, and there’s also those Adrian Clayborne comments that have surely been posted on the Cyclone bulletin boards for the last few months saying that the Hawkeyes are the only team in the state that is relevant.

4. Iowa State will finish with more wins than Iowa—Yeah, yeah. This is the prediction that will really get me thrown into the loony bin. Iowa is a Top 10 team in the pre-season polls. But remember just how close the Hawks were to losing against UNI, Indiana, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State. Even the game against Minnesota was close most of the way. That’s 6 wins that could have been losses. I’m predicting ISU wins against Northern Illinois, Iowa, Kansas State, UNI, Texas Tech, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri with losses against Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. That puts ISU at 9-3. Iowa will lose against Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa State, and one other road team to finish 8-4.

5. Paul Rhoades will be a leading candidate for the Penn State job in the off-season—A 9-3 record would make Rhodes a leading candidate for nearly every job. Joe Paterno is clearly in his last days as Coach of the Nittany Lions. Rhoades’ former role at Pittsburgh and related recruiting ties to that area would make him a perfect candidate.

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