Analyzing our preseason football predictions


Tyler Coe

Xavier Hutchinson celebrates in Iowa State’s 31-14 win over West Virginia on Nov. 5.

Iowa State Daily football reporters Andrew Harrington, Hailey Dohnal and Christian Royston revisit their preseason predictions about Iowa State football after a disappointing 4-8 season for the team.

Breakout Player

Andrew Harrington – Deon Silas

I figured that this take could age poorly with how deep the running back group was for the Cyclones this season. Jirehl Brock, Cartevious Norton and Eli Sanders were each expected to get touches this season, and they all did.

Despite this, Silas played well in his limited touches. Silas took 60 carries for 271 yards and three touchdowns, marking 4.5 yards per carry on the season.

This did not end up being a home run pick. However, Silas carved out a solid season for himself in 2022.

Silas announced that he entered the transfer portal on Monday, looking for an opportunity for increased touches.

Hailey Dohnal – Jirehl Brock

I had high expectations for Brock this season. However, those expectations were not necessarily met. 

Other than the 104 rushing yards against Southeast Missouri and the 100 rushing yards against Iowa in the first two games of the season, it seemed that each game we saw Brock a little less. 

Yes, Brock was battling injuries throughout the season, and injuries are always tough to battle back from so I take that into account. 

However, I definitely thought we would see more of Brock this season and that he would be a highly talked-about player. 

Hopefully, Brock can bounce back strong for next season and show the fans what he is capable of. 

Christian Royston – Beau Freyler

I had high hopes for Freyler at the start of the year given his performance in the bowl game last season.

Now, I don’t think Freyler quite lived up to my expectations, although he didn’t necessarily fall short either. All things considered, he showed great maturity and production throughout the season.

Freyler ended the year with 68 tackles, including one forced fumble and one interception. Pretty good stats, especially considering he missed two games on the year.

I believe Freyler did enough to cement himself as the true No. 1 safety next season after Anthony Johnson leaves for greater ventures. His solid season and possible future success should be enough to deem him a breakout player.

Potential Upset

Andrew Harrington – Oklahoma State

Going into the season, it was a hot take to think that Iowa State could beat Oklahoma State. The Cowboys were one of the favorites to win the Big 12 Championship at the start of the season and spent some time ranked in the AP top 10.

By the time Iowa State took on Oklahoma State, most of the hype was gone.

Facing backup quarterback Gunnar Gundy, it looked as if the Cyclones could pull it off. Starting quarterback Spencer Sanders returned in the middle of the game and put the Iowa State hopes to rest with a 20-14 win.

Hailey Dohnal – Oklahoma

I think it’s safe to say that Iowa State did not have the season that many were expecting. After a 3-0 start, I thought that success would continue. 

However, I think this was a building year for Iowa State, and while almost every game did not end the way the Cyclones hoped, I think each game helped them to grow and learn in some way. 

The game against Oklahoma was just one of two games that Iowa State lost by more than one possession. I think this goes to show just how close the Cyclones were to a win each week and how small mistakes ended up costing them the game. Additionally, Oklahoma only finished two places above the Cyclones in the Big 12 standings with a 6-6 overall record. 

While the Cyclones did not get a win against Oklahoma, they were able to figure out how to improve and hopefully beat the Sooners next season. 

Christian Royston – Baylor

I’m going to go out on a limb and say not a single person picked Iowa State’s upset win correctly. In fact, the only true upset came in week two against Iowa.

I did believe Iowa State had figured out its issues with finishing games, so it was no surprise that I was extremely confident in the team pulling out a win in the Big 12 opener. Not only that, starting the season undefeated, I genuinely believed the Cyclones would upset the previous Big 12 Champions.

Boy was I wrong.

Not only was my pick wrong, but that game shed a light on what would end up being a tragic season. I was close to getting the pick correct, but in the end, close wasn’t good enough.

Record Prediction

Andrew Harrington – 7-5

I did not have high expectations for Iowa State this season. Even writing that I thought getting to 6-6 would be tough. Even my expectations were too high, as the Cyclones stumbled to a 4-8 record.
The interesting thing is that I feel I had an accurate gauge on how well the team would do, but the team could not close out a close Big 12 game all season long.

Through all of the tightly contested games, the only one that Iowa State snatched at the end was against Iowa.

It certainly was not the season Iowa State fans had hoped for, and my poor record prediction reflected that.

Hailey Dohnal – 7-5

Unfortunately, I did not have success in my record prediction for this season. The Cyclones finished with a 4-8 overall record with just one of those wins being in the Big 12. Additionally, they finished at the bottom of the Big 12 standings. 

While the team lost some crucial players this season such as Brock Purdy and Breece Hall, I still thought that they would find ways to get around that and stay consistent. However, that wasn’t the case, and all teams have a rebuilding year. 

Each game was a way for Iowa State to build, and I think that a lot of lessons were learned this year. I am excited to see what they can improve on and what changes they will make to have a successful 2023-24 season. 

Christian Royston – 8-4

I really don’t have much to say about how far off I was on my prediction for the season.

Looking at the talent on the offense and the experience on the defense, I did think the Cyclones would be cruising to a bowl game and possibly a Big 12 title. Turns out I couldn’t have been further off.

The Cyclones decided to mirror my prediction, going 4-8 on the year, en route to a last-place finish in the conference. I should have known this prediction was going to go south as soon as the Big 12 season opened.

The young, raw talent I thought would make an explosive offense stumbled in every game, and inexperience and growing pains seemed to be the storyline of the season. Going into next year, I am going to try to have much lower expectations to hopefully save myself from this kind of embarrassment again.