2017 Gridiron Staff Picks: Bowl Edition

Iowa State receiver Allen Lazard shucks a defender while fighting for yards after the catch against TCU.

Brian Mozey

Every week during the year, Brian Mozey, Aaron Marner, Jack MacDonald and a special guest make their predictions for the Iowa State football game. Here are their predictions for the Cyclones’ bowl game at Memphis, Tennessee, for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl against Memphis at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 30 on ABC.

Brian Mozey, Sports Editor (7-5)

Winner: Iowa State

Score: 45-35

If you want a low scoring game at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, I would suggest sitting at home and leaving the television off because that’s not going to happen. Memphis is averaging almost 550 yards of offense per game and Iowa State is averaging almost 400 offensive yards per game. 

Now, the Cyclones do have a defense and I think that is going to be the key factor to Iowa State’s win. The Cyclones defense can’t shut down the Tigers, but if they can minimize opportunities, the cardinal and gold will be heading out victorious. 

With this being Joel Lanning and Kamari Cotton-Moya’s last game as a Cyclone, they will end it in style by each having a turnover and win the turnover battle, therefore, winning the game. Even though Memphis is the home team in this bowl game, Iowa State will be heading home Liberty Bowl champions. 

Aaron Marner, Assistant Sports Editor (7-5)

Winner: Memphis

Score: 40-31

I have no idea how this game is going to go.

Memphis has a high-powered offense. Riley Ferguson is a really good quarterback and the Tigers can light up the scoreboard with ease. It’s an offense somewhat similar to what the Cyclones faced against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, who scored 31 and 49 points against Iowa State, respectively.

The Cyclones have lost three of their last four games and I don’t think that’s going to stop now. In the end, Iowa State still has a winning record for the first time since 2009, and pulled off two huge wins. But the season is going to end on a slightly sour note in Memphis.

Jack MacDonald, Assistant Sports Editor (5-7)

Winner: Iowa State

Score: 38-31

Much like my fellow assistant sports editor, I have no idea how this game will turn out. In my eyes there are two ways: the Iowa State defense shows up or the Memphis offense shows up. 

The Tigers are a high-flying offense – I mean No. 8 in the nation high-flying. But then there is the Iowa State defense that has showed up big game after big game. My original gut feeling was Memphis because it’s at its home field. However, Cyclone fans have thrown a wrench in that because as of writing this, they have bought over 15,000 tickets. 

The likes of Allen Lazard and Joel Lanning, two blue-collar players born in Iowa, won’t let the Cyclones lose in their first bowl game since 2012. My x-factor is the Iowa State offense. 

If it shows up, boy will Beale Street be poppin’ after a Cyclone win. 

Emily Barske, Editor-In-Chief (0-1)

Winner: Iowa State

Score: 41-35

With little bowl experience in the last few years, it’s hard to tell how Iowa State will perform in the post-season. But if this season’s success with coach Matt Campbell and his team are a crystal ball for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Iowa State is capable of beating any (well, most) teams in the country including the Memphis Tigers. 

For the Cyclones to do this, they’ll need sustainability. The offense will have to work the entire game to keep up with the scoring pace of the Tigers. And the defense will have to keep the Tigers out of the red zone as often as possible. If Iowa State can play with consistency (which means staying away from penalties, which was a flaw against Kansas State), the Cyclones will take the victory.

Emily Blobaum, Managing Editor of Content (1-0)

Winner: Iowa State

Score: 27-21

In case you don’t remember, I had the first pick of the season for the Cyclones’ home opener against UNI. I mentioned that the sideline switch would give Iowa State the boost they needed, because they would have a clear view of the student section. 

Now I’m not sure what side of the stadium the Cyclones will be on in Memphis, but I know for a fact that there will be lots of cardinal and gold in the stadium. The Iowa State athletic director, Jamie Pollard, tweeted that Iowa State sold all of its 15,000 tickets. That’s a lot, folks. 

Prepare for a good game. I’ll see you in Memphis, Cyclone Nation. 

Chris Jorgensen, Visuals Editor (0-1)

Winner: Iowa State

Score: 45-28

Memphis played only two games this year against any real competition- both against 10th ranked UCF. They lost both of those games. I think that Memphis won’t be prepared for a step up to a Big 12 opponent, much less one that has two top five victories.

They don’t seem to be defensive powerhouses, either. Kyle Kempt will be healthy for the Cyclones and Allen Lazard will be motivated to end his college career on a high note. Look for big plays on offense for the Cyclones.

I’ll be on the sidelines with my camera. I’m looking forward to it.

Dani Gehr, News Editor of Politics and Administration (0-1)

Winner: Memphis

Score: 42-35

Hello, it’s your friendly, neighborhood politics editor, ready to make another wrong pick due to lack of sports knowledge and poor luck. Last time I picked against Iowa State, they somehow managed to beat Oklahoma leaving my record a sad, but not so bad 0-1. Who would’ve thought?

Despite their past underdog victory, here I am again picking against Iowa State because of the obvious advantage Memphis will having playing on their home turf. I don’t think this will have such a huge affect on them that the Cyclones will get destroyed, but I think it’ll be just enough to leave them a touchdown away from a bowl victory. 

So, expect the Cyclones to win because the outcome will likely be the opposite of whatever I put here. 

I would like to add that while I, along with all the Daily sports editors, picked wrong for the Iowa State/Oklahoma game, I was the most right since my score prediction for Oklahoma was the lowest. So, take that sports desk. 

Jill O’Brien, News Editor of Student Life (1-0)

Winner: Memphis

Score: 49-36

When I wrote my first pick for the Kansas game, Iowa State had just come off of its win against Oklahoma, a team ranked third, at that moment, in the nation. Soon after, the Cyclones were on a winning streak, beating Oklahoma, Kansas and TCU. 

However, the tables have turned, and the Cyclones have been on a losing streak after falling to Oklahoma State and Kansas State. 

I hate to bet against the cardinal and gold, especially in a bowl game, but betting against the Cyclones is merely realistic, not pessimistic. 

Megan Salo, Opinion Editor (1-0)

Winner: Iowa State

Score: 36-21

If you remember the last time I wrote about my pick, you’ll know that I am not a sports genius. Last time, I had to look up possible football scores to make sure that my predicted score was even possible. This time, I just copied other people’s scores that were above me. (I know how much a touchdown is worth but I don’t want to do the math).

I’m picking Iowa State because I just like Iowa State and I want them to win. I really can’t explain my pick beyond that because there is no other reason.

Tristan Wade, News Editor of Academics (0-1)

Winner: Iowa State

Score: 52-45

Iowa State had a few missteps to close out the year, but at the end of the regular season the team still finished with one of the best seasons of recent memory and the best season I have witnessed from the Cyclones. I believe they’ll end with an exclamation point and beat the Memphis Tigers.

Memphis has a high powered offense, which may look intimidating, but I think the Cyclones will be able to outscore the Tigers. Memphis’ defense won’t be good enough to slow down Iowa State and Memphis hasn’t consistently played the level of competition Iowa State has which I think will show throughout the match-up.

At the end of the game, the Cyclones will prevail and win the Liberty Bowl.

Parker Reed, Limelight Editor (1-0)

Winner: Memphis

Score: 34-21

I hate to be a pessimistic one, but that same pessimism is what earned me my one correct guess of the season.

It’s safe to say that the Cyclones’ regular season didn’t have the best finale. Losing three of the last four games certainly wasn’t the ideal way to close out a season with two wins over top five teams, but here we are.

The Cyclones were thriving on momentum this season, and unfortunately, that steam has run out. Memphis’ high-scoring offense is going to seep right through Iowa State. And while the Cyclones will always have the game within reach, it won’t quite pan out in their favor.

Emily Clement, Digital Editor (0-1)

Winner: Iowa State

Score: 24-21

I still have confidence in the Cyclones.

Although they didn’t end the season in the way they had probably hoped, the Cyclones were a strong team this year. I mean, they beat two top five teams; how many other teams can say they did that?

I don’t think this win will come easy to the Cyclones, as they are playing a ranked team in their territory, but I think they can pull it off and prove to everyone that they really are as good as they looked in those big wins.

Josie Speltz, Assistant Digital Editor of Content (1-0)

Winner: Iowa State

Score: 34-24

I have faith that the Cyclones can pull off one last victory.

The Cyclones have had success playing on the road this year. For example, they beat then-No. 3 ranked Oklahoma while playing them in Oklahoma. The Cyclones will be facing off against Memphis, in Memphis, which means the Tigers will probably have a substantial amount of fans in attendance to hype up their team. However, I think the Cyclones will bring a large fan base to cheer them on too, leading them to a victory. 

Jake Dalbey, Assistant Digital Editor of Social Media (0-1)

Winner: Iowa State

Score: 31-28

I’m 0-1 and that just doesn’t feel well. So, you can count on this pick being correct and putting me at a solid and respectable 1-1. Jeff Fischer would be proud. 

This bowl game means a lot to the fans of Iowa State but I’m guessing even more to the team. It’s no surprise that Iowa State lost a bit of it’s magic that was found throughout the first half of the season, but that doesn’t mean the flame is completely extinguished. Fighting against an offense that can put up respectable numbers the Clones are going to have to be at the top of their game in order to pull out a win. 

But what the Cyclones have is heart and that heart is only to grow over their trek down to Memphis. Give me the Cyclones to come out on top.  

Hannah Olson, Assistant Visuals Editor (0-0)

Winner: Iowa State

Score: 45-36

Disclaimer: my only football knowledge comes from captioning sports photos. However, it just seems wrong to put my faith in anyone besides the Cyclones.

I predict a tough game. Iowa State has been a triumphant underdog before (see Oklahoma game and the homecoming game against TCU). Also, Iowa State has the “G.O.A.T.” Joel Lanning. I’m confident even with the odds against them and the excitement surrounding an ever elusive bowl game, the Cyclones will pull off a win.