Iowa State and TCU to play for vastly different outcomes

Beau Berkley

The ISU football team heads into its Dec. 6 game as a heavy underdog against a top ranked conference opponent that is vying for a spot in the national title race. This means a win for Iowa State would have huge postseason implications for teams still in the national title hunt. 

This all seems very familiar. 

Despite all the similarities that this weekend’s matchup with TCU has with the victory against No.2 ranked Oklahoma State back in 2011, there’s not much the current ISU football team can take away from that November night in Ames, including what’s on the line for both teams.

Center Tom Farniok might know this better than most, as he started in that 2011 game as a redshirt freshman. 

“That one [Oklahoma State] was home, we were playing for a bowl game with a couple games left and this is our last one,” Farniok said of the two games. “It’s totally different. They’re three years apart and to me, it’s just totally different situations.”

In terms of what the two teams are playing for, Farniok hit the nail on the head. TCU (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) is ranked third in the College Football Playoff Committee’s recent rankings, which means they would secure the final spot in the playoffs if the rankings hold true through the end of the weekend.

Iowa State (2-9, 0-8 Big 12) has no hopes of playing for any sort of postseason game, a fate they’ve known since the loss to Kansas on Nov. 8. So, what’s left for the Cyclones?

“We get to play one of the best team’s in the nation,” Farniok said. “Obviously they’ve got a ton to play for, and we don’t got a ton to play for, but other than guys like me finishing their careers strong and finishing on a positive note, just ending the season the right way.”

Ending the season with a win against TCU will be a lofty task, but it’s one that ISU coach Paul Rhoads says his team will embrace. And any notion of TCU putting on the brakes or resting guys to prepare for their postseason play can be tossed out the window. 

Rhoads said he believes that TCU will come out on the field with the goal of putting up as many points as possible, and the Horned Frog’s offense is more than capable of doing that. TCU is averaging 46.1 points per game, third best in the country, and has scored over 35 points in eight games, including 82 points in a victory against Texas Tech and 61 against Baylor, the only team to beat TCU. 

“They want to flat out beat the heck out of us Saturday in Fort Worth and leave no doubt that they’re one of the four best teams in the country,” Rhoads said. “Our guys know that, [and] they know they’re going to have to play their best to have an opportunity to match up and compete.”