It feels like we’ve been waiting to watch another football game for several, but the rematch between the Oklahoma Sooners and Iowa State Cyclones for the Big 12 Championship is finally here. Joining us to discuss the game is Matthias Schwartzkopf of Wide Right & Natty Lite.
With Iowa State playing for its first conference title since 1912, I’m not going to bother asking you if this is the biggest game in program history. Can you describe how much this game means to the Cyclone faithful?
I think it’s just a culmination of different things. We have seen some pretty bad football here in Ames. We have been fortunate to have some decent teams over the years to kind of fuel our hunger but these last four have just been outstanding and the Cyclone fans want more. You can go around and ask anyone who has been a season ticket holder for 10,20 and 30 years plus no matter how bad the teams were they always showed up to Ames and supported the team. You just don’t find that kind of commitment anywhere else that has had the past that we do. Heck even some teams that are perennial winners don’t toss out the support that Cyclone fans do. You can really compare this fan base to the Cubs. No matter what, no matter the heartbreak we were always there and it comes down to this game. I have no doubt in my mind that as long as Matt Campbell is in Ames some more of these opportunities will come.
Oklahoma’s improvement since the last meeting has been a hot topic of discussion, but Iowa State is also playing much better. In what areas has this team been sharper?
I think you can really focus on Brock Purdy. He was highly regarded as one of the top draftable quarterbacks coming into this season and he started off slow and really looked bad. Even against Oklahoma he wasn’t that great. Just happened to be effective enough to pair with some timely plays by others. Go back to the Baylor game and that is when it happened. He was horrendous in the first half throwing three interceptions and right after half time the light came on. Since those three interceptions he has thrown 10 touchdowns and no interceptions and has been completing well over 70% of his passes. While we were able to ride Breece Hall in the time he was “down” lately Brock Purdy has taken this team to another level.
On a scale of 1-10, how confident is this ISU fan base entering the weekend, and why?
I would say we are around a 7. You don’t run through this conference like they did if you are not a good football team. On the flip side we know damn well this Oklahoma team has been the king of the Big 12 since really forever. While it may look crazy on twitter that we may be an overconfident bunch we really aren’t because we know what kind of team we are playing on Saturday.
In your eyes, which matchup in this game will be most vital to Iowa State’s success?
Iowa State’s offensive line. I think Oklahoma secondary is a mismatch for the Iowa State receivers but the defensive line for OU is just a group of studs. Then you add Ronnie Perkins to the mix who wasn’t available in the first game and oof. This is going to be a big test for the offensive line of Iowa State which has been really solid all season long.
ESPN’s Reece Davis didn’t seem to sold on the Cyclones when this week’s rankings were released, so you guys decided to have him on your podcast. How did he defend his position when pressed on the topic?
You know he was actually a really good guy and being in Ames a few times before he knows what our fan base and school were about. We didn’t press him too hard but he just doesn’t think Iowa State is worthy of a playoff spot should the cards fall right. Which is totally fair.
How do you see this one playing out? What’s your final score prediction?
I actually think Iowa State loses and it’s not really anything on the field wise other than my Iowa State fandom and used to nut kicks kicking in. Both teams are vastly improved since that first meeting and this is going to be a close and uncomfortable game for both fan bases. The teams really match up well to one another and really is a toss up but look it’s Oklahoma in a championship game and we are the new kids on the block. I see many ways we can win this one but I am staying with my reverse psychology method and picking Oklahoma 34-20
During the last matchup, I drank Busch Light – a customary favorite in your neck of the woods – and I think I inadvertently gave the Cyclones some positive juju. If I switch to PBR, will the outcome be different?
Make sure you have the label out for all kicks either way. Hey, it is your superstition and I will let you stick to it. Maybe your thoughts of switching it up get you caught in a pickle too. Who knows