Matt Belinson, sports editor (7-5)
Iowa State 17, No. 19 Clemson 24
This is an odd game to put my thumb on.
Clemson is without its offensive and defensive coordinators, and yet won its last five games and climbed back into the top-25.
Iowa State is playing without Breece Hall, the Cyclones' best player, and will lean on some younger players in critical roles for this game. The Cyclones dominated TCU in their last game, and had just one opt-out for this game.
But I'll take Clemson here.
The Tigers' defensive line has been a wrecking crew in the run and the pass this season. It'll be interesting to watch Jirehl Brock get his first real dose of action, but I don't think it'll be enough for the Cyclones to come out victorious.
Sam Stuve, assistant sports editor (8-4)
Iowa State 32, Clemson 28
With Breece Hall not playing for Iowa State, picking Clemson in this one might be the easy pick. It would be the “chalk” pick. But things don’t always go to chalk.
If Iowa State is going to win this one, it’s going to need a strong performance from the defense and for quarterback Brock Purdy to have a fantastic showing.
It’ll also need running back Jirehl Brock and company to play good in relief of Breece Hall.
For Iowa State, it’ll be the last time that a boat load of its players. This includes Purdy, Jake Hummel, Chase Allen Eyioma Uwazurike, etc.
In this one, I think Iowa State’s experience wins out in a close one.
James Powell, assistant sports editor (7-5)
Iowa State 20, Clemson 31
Bowl games are tricky to really predict, particularly this one. Opt-outs, coordinator shuffles, Cheez-It comas, the lot.
I think Clemson was peaking as the season went on, while Iowa State never really grabbed any serious momentum in Big 12 play. It'll be most interesting to see how Jirehl Brock fares against a stout Tiger defense, but Brock Purdy will go a long ways in where Iowa State finds themselves leaving Orlando.
Overall, I think Clemson is more talented than their Cyclone counterparts, and with no previous matchups to base off of that will be my lone reasoning in making this pick.
Kylee Haueter, Editor-in-Chief
Iowa State 27, No. 19 Clemson 24
I'm definitely thinking we're going to end the season with a win.
Clemson is a decent team, but I think that the Cyclones can take momentum after their last game of the season into this one.
Obviously, the Cyclones are missing Breece Hall, which is significant. But, Hall isn't the entire team. You've got a team with seniors that are ready to go out with a bang.
This will also be a good opportunity for some of the younger players to show their stuff.
I'll be in Orlando cheering on my team for one last time before I graduate in May. Cyclones fans, let's make Florida a Cyclone state and give our boys a big send-off.