If you like offense, and a lot of it, last week’s Best Worst Game Of The Week was the matchup for you. Louisiana Monroe was able to get their revenger over Louisiana-Lafayette (predicted by yours truly) in an absolute barn-burner, 56-50.
This week, I’m changing it up a little bit. Both teams are within the top-100 in this week’s matchup, which was something I was going to try to avoid. But, I just can’t resist – let’s take a look at #60 Texas against #72 Iowa State, in what is sure to be another offensive outburst.
There’s no doubting these are the two best teams I’ve previewed in this series so far (not saying much at all). There’s no doubting that this matchup is important, as all interconference games are. I think it’ll be the most entertaining out of games with bad teams this week.
Texas is an interesting case. They were back last year after beating Notre Dame at home. They were back this offseason after hiring Tom Herman. But here they sit, at 1-2 after getting throttled by Maryland and having their hearts ripped out by an underperforming USC team. They also sit amongst a bit of a quarterback controversy between sophomore Shane Buechele (left) and true freshman Sam Ehlinger (right). Both quarterbacks have had flashes of brilliance and both have extremely high ceilings (you may remember my assessment of Buechele last year), but neither have truly grabbed the bull by the horns (no pun intended).
Chris Warren III is a strong option out of the backfield, while Collin Johnson and Armanti Foreman have been a solid receiving tandem. I know Herman is a QB guru, and I know the offense has scored an average of 41 points per game thus far. But they put up 41 in a loss against the 81st best defense in the nation in Maryland, hung 56 against San Jose State, and needed extra frames to get to 24 points against USC. Eventually, if they want to start winning, they’re going to need a consistent voice in that huddle. I’d lean towards Buechele due to his higher completion percentage and his experience, but regardless, it’s necessary.
Iowa State is quietly 2-1; their wins have come against Northern Iowa and Akron, neither of which are reputable teams. They did lose in overtime to Iowa by only 3. In fact, their offense has been more impressive than Texas’s to this point in my opinion, as they’ve scored at least 41 points in each of their games this season. They’re lead by junior quarterback Jacob Park, who might garner more attention if it wasn’t for the play of Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph in the same conference. Park has completed 67% of his passes on the year for 935 yards and 8 touchdowns against 2 picks.
The Cyclones have a balanced offense though, with David Montgomery coming out of the backfield. This is promising for an Iowa State program that just simply isn’t known for being a football powerhouse. Last season, they were a dreadful 3-9, with plenty of blowouts mixed in during the season. I can’t say I know too much about them, but they clearly have a swagger about them because of their start.
Texas has obviously played in much bigger games over the course of their history. The honest-to-God truth is that Iowa State really hasn’t. It’s a night game at home on national television. They’re the only game on that particular night. There’s a lot of attention with this one, and despite having a defense that allows over 400 yards per game, I think they’ll be ready to pull this one out.
If Texas decides to start the freshman Ehlinger, I’m going with Iowa State by 7. I really think they will, given the fact that he played the second half against USC. If they go Buechele, I’m still going Iowa State. Texas has an experienced, but still bad, defense. I don’t think Charlie Strong did a good enough job recruiting guys who are mentally tough.
I have a soft spot for the Longhorns, but I’m really rooting for Iowa State in this one. This game is tomorrow night at 8:00 on ESPN. If you want to make your way to Jack Trice Stadium, you can still get tickets for around $20.
Cover photo from Bleacher Report.
GIFs from Cyclone Fanatic, Pro Football Focus and SB Nation Radio, in no particular order.