116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — As Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff reportedly met Tuesday to discuss a potential future merger or scheduling partnership, it’s that time of the year to discuss the current year’s schedule, too.
As Iowa State prepares for its most anticipated season in history, its schedule helps build that anticipation by the backloading of Texas and Oklahoma — the two teams leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, and the two teams that could be vying with Iowa State for a shot at a conference championship.
The Cyclones’ nonconference schedule sets up perfectly for the fans and the team. It kicks off with FCS power and in-state rival Northern Iowa. As Coach Matt Campbell has undoubtedly figured out, the Panthers can’t be taken lightly — they handed Campbell his first loss in his first ISU game and they took Iowa State to triple overtime two years ago.
The schedule continues by hosting in-state rival Iowa. As everyone reading this knows — Iowa fan, Iowa State fan or just casual observer — Campbell has never beaten Iowa.
In most years, it could be argued that this game, while important to the state, isn’t that important to the overall schedule since it’s not a conference game. But this year, it’s expected Iowa State will be a preseason top-10 team with an outside shot at the College Football Playoff. If the Cyclones lose to the Hawkeyes in the second week of the season, they can kiss that outside chance goodbye.
Iowa State rounds out the non-conference with a trip to Las Vegas to help break in the new multibillion dollar Allegiant Stadium — home of the Las Vegas Raiders and the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.
The Cyclones kick off their conference slate in Waco, Texas, on Sept. 25 when they play the Baylor Bears. Cyclone fans may remember Iowa State’s last trip to Waco in September when the temperature on the field was 114 degrees and Baylor didn’t let Iowa State set up its tents on the sidelines to help keep the team cool and shaded.
The last game before Iowa State’s bye week is against Kansas on Oct. 2. That game should be no problem for the Cyclones.
Iowa State’s first game back from the bye is a trip to Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan. While Kansas State has dominated the rivalry over the last 20 years, Iowa State has won two out of the last three, including a 45-0 beatdown last season.
The next week is homecoming against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys, along with Texas, are expected to compete with Iowa State for the other spot in the Big 12 championship game to play against Oklahoma.
The Cyclones close out the month of October with a trip to Morgantown, W. Va., to play the Mountaineers. Iowa State and West Virginia have played compelling games since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12, but the Cyclones have taken the last three contests, including a 42-6 victory last season.
Astute observers have probably noticed neither Texas nor Oklahoma have popped up on the schedule to this point. That’s because the people who made the schedule thought they’d save the most compelling games for the end of the season — and that was before Texas and Oklahoma announced they were leaving for the SEC.
Iowa State starts the month of November by hosting Texas. This will be the second time in a row the Cyclones host Texas in November, something that never happened before. The last time Iowa State hosted Texas in November, in 2019, the temperature at kickoff was a balmy — for that time of year — 51 degrees. Iowa State won that game, 23-21, thanks to a Connor Assalley field goal.
The Cyclones take a trip to west Texas to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders after hosting Texas. Campbell has never lost to the Red Raiders.
Iowa State stays on the road and plays Oklahoma on Nov. 20. It’s anticipated this will be Oklahoma’s best team in more than a decade and this will be Iowa State’s best team ever.
The two met last season and split the series, with Oklahoma winning in the conference championship game. Campbell’s teams always have played Lincoln Riley and his Oklahoma teams well and this game could be a preview of the conference championship game if the season goes Iowa State’s way.
The Cyclones end the regular season by hosting TCU on Nov. 26. Sorry TCU, it’s gonna be cold. The average temperature on Nov. 26 in Ames is 36 degrees, so at least it might not be freezing. But it also might be freezing with a chance of a blizzard. Like I said, sorry.