Cyclone football remaining confident amid Big 12 uncertainty

Greg Eisworth talks to a teammate during fall camp. (Photo courtesy of Iowa State Athletics)

James Powell

College football is always in movement. Sometimes the change is silent but impactful, and sometimes the moves are seismic. The Big 12 is in the middle of one of those seismic shifts.

Big 12 stalwarts Oklahoma and Texas announced plans to leave the conference and jump ship to the SEC in 2025 once the current media rights agreement ends between the current Big 12 schools and ESPN. 

But this isn’t the first time the Big 12 has faced an overhaul — back in 2012-13, multiple programs went off to the SEC, Big 10 and Pac-12. That realignment didn’t include the major players like this current iteration given that the Sooners and Longhorns combine to be 50 percent of all the TV revenue the conference makes.

Remember Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M in the Big 12? Iowa State tight end Chase Allen sure does.

Allen grew up watching that version of the Big 12 and was certainly sad to see it go by the wayside.

“I grew up with a Big 12 clock on my wall with all 12 teams, with Missouri, Colorado, [Texas] A&M, Nebraska on that, so I was bummed whenever that got split up, and if it continues to go that way, it’s just from a legacy standpoint, not what you want to see from someone who has loved this conference for a long time,” Allen said at Media Day on Monday. 

It’s hard to keep up with how many teams will officially have a shot at a title or who Iowa State may play even two or three years from now. But one thing is easy to see amidst all the murky waters of Big 12 realignment: Iowa State isn’t worried.

The Cyclones have put together an unprecedented amount of success over the last three seasons on the field, going to three straight bowl games, making and winning the program’s first New Year’s Six bowl, earning the best Big 12 record in program history and gaining more national recognition. All that winning worked out to put the Cyclones where they are now.

Iowa State Head Coach Matt Campbell and his well-oiled machine of Cyclone football don’t plan on straying away from that.

“We win. We’ll continue to win. If you want to play for a winning team, come play for us,” Campbell said when asked about how recruiting could be impacted by Big 12 shakeups.

Winning typically solves everything in a binary sport of wins and losses. And Iowa State is coming off its winningest season in program history. Campbell believes there’s a level of certainty to which recruits and current players can latch on.

The Cyclones are in the midst of turning themselves into a team that competes, and their coach and players believe winning can translate anywhere: no matter the conference, no matter the opponents, winning sells.

Safety Greg Eisworth II has played a major role in the come-up of Cyclone football over the last four seasons, and he remains confident in Campbell to continue that legacy after he turns in his cardinal and gold uniform. 

“I trust in Campbell. Whatever he has planned, I know he has it under control. From an Iowa State standpoint, I’m not worried about it,” Eisworth said Monday.