Coach: Matt Campbell (fourth season)
2018 record: 8-5, 6-3 Big 12
Big 12 season prediction: Third
“When I first got to Iowa State all of the questions were: ‘What color uniforms are you wearing?’ ‘What’s your entrance song?’ People cared about stuff that really doesn’t matter, and now we’re talking about a football team, we’re asked football questions and we’re concerned about what’s really important, in terms of growing a football culture in a football program the right way.” — Iowa State coach Matt Campbell
Who will run the ball?
After graduating star David Montgomery, Iowa State has not determined its running back rotation, with as many as five players competing for carries.
“Fortunately or unfortunately at times we had to play without David last year and I think the thing that was really good for us is it put some of these guys that are competing for that starting spot in position to have to step up and make critical plays,” Campbell said.
Among those vying for the starting role are returners Kene Nwangwu, Johnnie Lang and Sheldon Croney, and the Cyclones also have freshmen Jirehl Brock and Breece Hall on the roster.
“It will be a great competition through fall camp,” Campbell said. “I think they all have different unique skill sets, but the one great thing about David is David could do everything really well. He could catch it. He could run it. He could block.
“You are looking for that running back that’s the complete running back to emerge as the guy that is the guy in critical moments in that starting running back.”
Defense will be a strength
The Cyclone defense has fewer question marks, with an impressive front seven that includes returning starters Marcel Spears Jr. and Mike Rose at linebacker.
“I think those are great pieces and those are building blocks,” Campbell said. “What we have done is tried to do a great job and ... continue to create great depth around the strength in the middle of us. That’s an area we want to work on in this offseason and excited to see where these guys are at as we enter fall camp.”
Aug. 31: Northern Iowa (FS1) 11 a.m.
Sept. 14: Iowa (FS1) 3 p.m.
Sept. 21: Louisiana-Monroe TBA
Sept. 28: at Baylor TBA
Oct. 5: TCU TBA
Oct. 12: at West Virginia TBA
Oct. 19: at Texas Tech TBA
Oct. 26: Oklahoma State TBA
Nov. 9: at Oklahoma TBA
Nov. 16: Texas TBA
Nov. 23: Kansas TBA
Nov. 30: at Kansas State TBA