Opponent: Iowa State
Nickname: The Cyclones
Kickoff: September 28th, TBD
Location: McLane Stadium
Conference: Big XII
Head coach: Matt Campbell
Last year’s record: 8-5
Notable outcomes: Beat #6 West Virginia 30-14; beat Baylor 28-14; lost to #12 Washington State 28-26
Key losses: Hakeem Butler, WR; David Montgomery, RB; Willie Harvey, LB
Strength: Safeties. Iowa State returns its leading tackler in safety Greg Eisworth, who had 87 tackles. Safeties Braxton Lewis and Lawrence White round out a stellar group in the reigning number 2 defense in the Big 12, which also returns 6 of its 7 front seven starters.
Weakness: Running backs. Iowa State lost one of the best runningbacks in the country last year in David Montgomery. There is plenty of recruiting talent to fill the void but it is mostly unproven at this point. This group has the potential to be a strength but seems to be the most likely to dropoff from last season.
Prediction: Last year’s game in Ames between Baylor and Iowa State was surprisingly chippy, with a brawl breaking out that neither fanbase has seemed to forget. Iowa State got the better of the Bears with Charlie Brewer getting ejected late as the game was still in contention. Baylor likely has a point to prove through all of that. This could be another aggressive game but I think the home advantage and pain of a loss last year gives Baylor the emotional edge. Iowa State should have a very strong defense again this year. The question will be if the Cyclones’ offensive production drops off from losing its two key playmakers. I think it does enough for Baylor to eke out a close win.