For the last time this season, the Iowa State Cyclones are back at Jack Trice Stadium.
Their game tonight against Texas Tech starts at 7 p.m. and will end a disappointing season (4-6, 1-6 Big 12). Technically, they still have a chance to extend their winning streak into five straight bowl games, but they need to win at least one of their last two games. With TCU No. 4 looming next week, don’t hold your breath to end the season on a two-game winning streak.
That means there’s a lot more at stake in today’s contest against the Red Raiders (5-5, 3-4 Big 12) than just a potential fifth win for the Cyclones. It’s a chance to make a bowl game if they’re lucky, and five-win teams are needed to fill out the 43-game tally. Sure, some fans might consider a bowl game a meaningless consolation prize, just another day for ISU to sway their mood, but this time around Christmas. But this seemingly meaningless game means a lot to staff and younger players who benefit greatly from the 15 extra drills that a bowl game entails.
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But to even stand a chance, they must defeat Texas Tech, which has one of the strongest offenses in the nation, averaging nearly 34 points per game. This should be a fun duel against the elite Iowa State Defense Unit, which gives up just 16.7 points per contest and ranks them in the top 10 nationally. The other sides of the ball are lackluster for both teams, with Tech’s defense giving up nearly 30 points per game and the Cyclones’ offense averaging just 21.8 points per fight. So something has to give way, one of these units will definitely have a good night.
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Follow us here as we take you through the game, from the Seniors’ Day celebrations to the final whistle.
How can the state of Iowa become Bowl Eligible?
With just four wins and two games remaining on the schedule, the Cyclones could still bowl the traditional way by winning six games. That’s unlikely, however, with the undefeated TCU No. 4 waiting for them in Fort Worth next weekend. But if they win tonight, there’s still a chance they’ll go into the postseason with five wins.
Why is that you ask? Well, it’s thanks to the bloated list of bowl games created by the television networks and also to the high academic standing of the state of Iowa. When there aren’t enough six-win teams to fill every bowl game, they fish for five-win teams with high academic progress rates. The Cyclones rank second only to Rice in APR among schools that have not yet achieved or may achieve bowl eligibility and have a rate of 986, which ranks in the top 20 nationally.
How much would that one extra game help the state of Iowa set the table for 2023? Click here to find out.