The Ralphie Report sat down with the great Iowa State blog on SBNation, Clone Chronicles, to discuss this week's game in Boulder. Thanks to Paul for some great answers.
You can check out our answers to their questions here.
How is Cyclone nation feeling about the season to this point. Obviously the close loss last week had to hurt, but are ISU fans pleased with how the season has played out so far?
Absolutely, the expectations from Cyclones fans for the season ran the gamut of the drastically pessimistic 2-10 all the way to the ludicrous idea that we could go 10-2. That said, the majority of the fan base was comfortable with 5-7 as the final tally. We desperately wanted to believe we could get to 6-6 but the schedule just didn't seem to make that realistic. Now, we're 5-5 with a winnable game at Colorado and a home game against a Missouri team that doesn't look nearly as monolithic as they did just three weeks ago. Where does that leave us? Proud, certainly. Nervous? Absolutely. Colorado is such a wildcard at this point it's a bit hard not to break down into gibbering fits of pure terror. (Ok maybe that's a slight exaggeration) Either way, I expect a hard fought game fought in thin air tomorrow.
Does it seem like a decent number of Cyclone fans are traveling to Boulder this weekend or will the visitor's seats be pretty empty at Folsom?
I know a lot of the guys that troll (pun intended) the boards over at CycloneFanatic and the readers at Clone Chronicles have been talking about road trips to Boulder. That said, I wouldn't expect their number to exceed 10,000 on the ridiculously optimistic end of the scale. I would guess between 4-5,000 which is pretty decent for ISU traveling parties. Nebraska, we ain't.
Who do Buff fans need to watch out for when Iowa State has the ball?
Alexander Robinson and Colin Franklin. Oh and don't over-look Austen Arnaud. All three of them have been playing some outstanding football this fall. At the same time, all of them have their strengths and weaknesses. A-Rob is a terrific back, but he doesn't have the mass to force out yards the way Demarco Murray or Kendell Hunter can. Still, he's fast and agile, and hits a crease pretty darn fast. Colin Franklin is the guy you want to watch on 3rd and long. He's got an incredible ability to know where the 1st down marker is, stop just on the first down side of it and catch a bullet from Arnaud.
Finally, Arnaud himself doesn't stay in the pocket. He rolls out, he runs, he slides, (he doesn't shine shoes that I'm aware) and is dangerous in more than one dimension. That said, he's prone to mental errors and can sometimes try and win the game by himself, with disastrous consequences.
Speedy Stewart has quietly been the 3rd leading rusher in the Big 12 so far this year. How does ISU's run defense stack up?
The simple answer is: not great. They usually give up 2-3 yards per carry in any given game. That's gotten better over the course of the season as the D-Line has improved. But think about the fact that ISU's two leading tacklers (and leaders in the Big 12) are Linebackers AJ Klein and Jake Knott. That should tell you a lot about the run defense all by itself.
Prediction time. What does Colorado need to do to win? What does Iowa State need to do to win? Final score?
ISU needs to buckle down and not think about the "what-ifs" from last week. If the Cyclones can establish a solid running game, Arnaud is more than capable of picking apart the CU Secondary.
Colorado needs to capitalize on mental errors by the Cyclones. Turnovers and mis-cues could dig Iowa State a nasty hole that we've historically had a hard time climbing out of.
I like the Cyclones to win 28-21.