Just breathe, Cyclone fans. It’s just one loss.

I know, Iowa State hadn’t lost a football game in 36 days until last Saturday when the Cyclones lost to West Virginia 20-16. That loss still doesn’t mean Iowa State is out of the Big 12 Championship game in December.

Iowa State is 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big 12, which means the Cyclones are currently tied for third with Oklahoma State and West Virginia. Even though they’re third, they need a win and a small prayer to get into that championship game.

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Iowa State quarterback Kyle Kempt makes a throw in the second half against TCU. Iowa State defeated the fourth ranked Horned Frogs, 14-7.

There are different situations that play into Iowa State’s chances to play in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 2. The easiest way for the Cyclones to reach the Big 12 Championship game is to win out the rest of the regular season and hope for a loss from TCU or West Virginia.

If TCU, West Virginia and Iowa State win out the next three weeks, Iowa State will not be in the championship game. TCU would obviously have the better record and West Virginia would have the same record as the Cyclones, but would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.

If Iowa State defeats Oklahoma State, Baylor and Kansas State, it will need a loss from West Virginia or TCU to reach the title game. If it loses any of the next three games, it could be interesting to nearly impossible for Iowa State to head to the Big 12 title game.

TCU and Oklahoma are on top of the Big 12 standings currently at 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the Big 12, but one will fall this weekend as the two are playing one another this Saturday. That means one will be 6-1 in the Big 12 and the other will be 5-2.

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Iowa State running back David Montgomery breaks a tackle early in the game against TCU.

Along with that game on Saturday, Iowa State (6-3, 4-2 Big 12) and Oklahoma State (7-2, 4-2 Big 12) will be playing one another this weekend as well. That means one team will be 5-2 and the other will be 4-3 in the Big 12.

The 4-3 team will have little to no shot to reach that title game. Now, Iowa State has one thing Oklahoma State doesn’t have this season.

The tiebreaker.

Iowa State has defeated Oklahoma and TCU this season, while the Cowboys have lost to both. Oklahoma State needs this win to stay in contention of going to the title game. As for West Virginia, the Mountaineers have lost to TCU and Oklahoma State this season. West Virginia plays Oklahoma in the last game of the regular season.

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Iowa State junior Matthew Eaton makes a catch in the end zone for Iowa State's first score of the day against TCU.

I still think Iowa State has a very good chance to make it to the title game. The Cyclones are 3-2 at home this season, but the last two home games have been Iowa State wins. Iowa State needs to win this game to have any chance of making the title game and I think they’ll be able to pull it off. Also, I think West Virginia will fall to Oklahoma since it’s in Norman, Oklahoma, and the Sooners are ranked in the top five.

The Cyclones shouldn’t have a problem against Baylor and Kansas State, their last two opponents, so this upcoming game is the biggest game for Iowa State. If it loses, the title game chances fall to the smallest percentage.

The reason it falls is because Oklahoma and TCU have fairly easy matchups the last two weeks of the season. TCU plays at Texas Tech and at home against Baylor, while Oklahoma plays at Kansas and hosts West Virginia. Both the Horned Frogs and the Sooners should be 2-0 over those weeks unless a major upset.

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Iowa State linebacker Joel Lanning celebrates after a tackle to force a fourth down in the first half against TCU.

So to wrap it all up, Iowa State needs to win out these next three weeks and have a little miracle to take a trip to AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

In addition to the possibility of a Big 12 title game, Iowa State fans will enjoy heading to Florida or Texas or somewhere south for a bowl game at the end of December. So, if there’s no title game, at least fans can enjoy the warmth in December at a bowl game.

I hope this makes you breathe a little easier because everything is going to be alright, Iowa State fans.

(1) comment

jason michaels

"The Cyclones shouldn’t have a problem against Baylor and Kansas State, their last two opponents, so this upcoming game is the biggest game for Iowa State."

Do you realize that Iowa State hasn't beat KSU in football since 2007 and Baylor has won the last 4 meetings (which includes the worst loss in program history)?

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