Good cop: TCU Gridiron

Mike Randleman

Never once did I imagine I would find myself on a deserted island, but such is the setting for me as I am alone in defending Iowa State’s chances to topple No. 3 Texas Christian.

Sure those within the ISU program likely won’t count themselves out this week. There’s plenty of football left to be played with half the season remaining against a TCU opponent that has walked the tightrope by winning a handful of close games.

Nonetheless, outside of the Cyclones’ locker room most prognosticators aren’t quite so confident in Coach Paul Rhoads’ bunch.

The home-standing Cyclones enter the primetime matchup as a 21-point underdog at the beginning of the week, but, if past history against a top-five opponent at Jack Trice Stadium tells us anything, the Cyclones have a fighting chance Saturday.

In November 2011, when Brandon Weeden and Oklahoma State waltzed into Ames with a perfect 10-0 record and national championship game aspirations, the Cowboys got more they could have bargained for.

Riding a 376-yard performance from quarterback Jared Barnett and the emergence of an unlikely hero in running back Jeff Woody tumbling into the end zone to seal the 37-31 victory in double overtime, Iowa State notched the program’s hallmark win — one that continues to live in infamy today in Ames.

Is it fair to compare the 2011 team to today’s Iowa State outfit that has virtually no remaining players from that upset-minded squad? Perhaps not, but Paul Rhoads, he of the unforeseen upset, is the constant in this equation.

With his job status constantly questioned by fans and media, he likely knows more than anyone how important a victory could be for him and the program.

This Saturday features another night-time kickoff, just like in 2011. A revamped Jack Trice Stadium is still being broken in, and a large crowd should be on hand to urge on a fresh upset that could invigorate the program once more.

So, come join me on Cyclone Island. There’s plenty of space available.

Prediction: Iowa State 28, TCU 27