The Cyclones are bowl eligible for the third consecutive season. But as is tradition with college fanbases, as soon as a team becomes bowl eligible, speculation begins as to what bowl game their team will land in and who they will face.
The Iowa State Daily Sports Desk will continue that tradition and try to predict where Iowa State could find themselves by season’s end to calm the speculative minds of Cyclone fans.
Here is what Noah Rohlfing, Matt Belinson and Zane Douglas think will come to pass for Iowa State when all is said and done.
This is realistically the highest-rated bowl the Cyclones can appear in. The Alamo Bowl is the best-ranked affiliate of the Big 12 after the New Years’ Six bowls are dealt their selections, matched up against a Pac-12 team. Last year, Iowa State made this game over West Virginia, losing in a 28-26 nail-biter but making a mark with the organization’s fanbase and attendance numbers. Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard said earlier this week that Alamo Bowl representatives would be present at Saturday’s game against Kansas.
Camping World Bowl
Iowa State has been to the Alamo Bowl and the Liberty Bowl in the last two seasons. The Camping World Bowl is in-between the two in terms of prestige with the conference allocation between the Big 12 and the ACC. Taking place in Orlando, this bowl might have the most desirable location and it is generally the next in line bowl after the Alamo Bowl, which the Cyclones made last season. Iowa State is currently in a three-way tie for third in the Big 12, which could either garner them another Alamo Bowl visit or, if Baylor drops to the Alamo Bowl, result in the Camping World Bowl. If Iowa State holds true in its final two games, then this bowl is a plausible landing spot for Iowa State.
The Texas Bowl, which takes place at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas — the home of the Houston Texans — is generally a middle-of-the-road bowl game on the Big 12’s bowl calendar. Last season, the game included two 6-6 teams — Baylor of the Big 12 and Vanderbilt of the SEC. The bowl has the third pick for its bowl selections, so if Iowa State manages to finish 7-5 or 8-4, this is a very realistic option.
Autozone Liberty Bowl
Iowa State was in this bowl after the 2017 season, a 21-20 victory over Memphis in the Tigers’ backyard. The Cyclones were also in the Liberty Bowl in 2013, with a loss to Tulsa. So, if anything, there is definitely a sense of familiarity for Iowa State — like the time the Cyclones drank Beale Street out of beer and their Busch Light tie-in was solidified. In reality, though, this isn’t a super likely bowl for Iowa State to end up in unless the Cyclones falter against Kansas State at the end of the season. It has an SEC tie-in, but often the second spot gets gifted to a mid-major in the midst of a good season.
Everyone’s favorite childhood snack is now a bowl game. Joking aside, this is pretty much the worst-case scenario for the Cyclones. It’s a lower-level bowl with a tie-in for Big 12 and Pac-12 teams. Iowa State was slated to possibly end up in this bowl game before the Cyclones beat Texas, but now in a tie for third place, it’s hard to see a scenario where Iowa State gets put in this bowl.
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
It would take a catastrophic end to the season for Iowa State to end up facing an AAC team in the Cotton Bowl at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 30 in Dallas. We’re only putting it on here because it IS technically possible. This bowl is extremely TCU territory (if the Horned Frogs make a bowl, that is).
Matt’s Prediction: Alamo Bowl
Zane’s Prediction: Camping World Bowl
Noah’s prediction: Texas Bowl (just to be different)