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AMES — Iowa State football is entering its most anticipated season in history.
The Cyclones return 19 of their 22 starters from a team that finished in the top 10 last season. Iowa State fans will feel like every game is a can’t-miss game.
This isn't meant to be an article saying, "These games aren't worth watching or attending," but rather, if you have something else that comes up and you have to miss a game, here are three that could be missed if need be.
3. at Texas Tech (Nov. 13)
Texas Tech hasn’t quite found its footing with Matt Wells as its head coach. The Red Raiders went 4-8 in 2019 and 4-6 last season.
Wells’ signature win at Texas Tech was a 45-35 win against Oklahoma State in his first season. The Red Raiders’ best win last season was against West Virginia — a team Iowa State beat 42-6.
Wells did bring in Oregon transfer Tyler Shough, who was a highly-touted recruit but never got it going as a Duck. In the Fiesta Bowl against Iowa State, Shough played just one series before he was benched.
If he can unlock his talent, this game could end up being more compelling, but Campbell has never lost to Texas Tech and neither Wells nor Shough have found their footing to this point.
2. at UNLV (Sept. 18)
Iowa State fans are pumped for this game, and rightfully so. The Cyclones get to help break in Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and some were even buying UNLV season tickets to get in the door, which were just $100 for the cheapest before they sold out. As a reference, according to online ticket reseller Vivid Seats, the cheapest tickets for that game are currently $166.
While it’ll be fun for Iowa State fans to visit Las Vegas and see an incredible new stadium, the game itself isn’t super compelling on paper. Iowa State should handle UNLV without any problems.
The Rebels went 0-6 last season and only came within two touchdowns of a team once. Every other loss was by more than 14 points.
1. Kansas (Oct. 2)
It feels weird to put the Big 12 home opener of ISU’s most-anticipated season as the No. 1 game a fan can miss, but folks, Kansas is just that bad.
By all means, attend the game if you’re able — it’s still the conference home opener — but the Cyclones should have backup quarterback Hunter Dekkers in this game by the fourth quarter.
Lance Liepold is in his first season as the Kansas coach after Les Miles was fired after just two seasons due to inappropriate behavior directed toward female students during his time as LSU’s coach.
Liepold was the Buffalo coach from 2015-21 and went 37-33 during his time there. He won the Mid-American Conference two of his last three years and went 24-10 in those three years.
He might be the man to bring Kansas football to a respectable level again, but that probably won’t happen in the first year.
If you have to miss a game, this is probably the one. Iowa State should win by a comfortable margin.