I'm a native of Maplewood, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul. It was there that I was inflicted with the curse of being a Minnesota Vikings fan. There is still no known cure, though many times I wish there was. I'm also an avid follower of the Minnesota Twins and of course, the Iowa State Cyclones.
If you’re a betting man, how do you not take Iowa State to cover the spread against Baylor this weekend? I’m not talking about the spread offense. It seems unlikely ISU will be able to cover that on the field. But I have to believe the Cyclones will keep the game within 30 points, right? Just like last week, many are pointing to this game as the “Paul Rhoads Upset Special” for 2013. I guess some folks will just keep repeating that for every game against a ranked foe until it happens just so they can be right that one time. I’m not feeling it, though. There’s a flip side to the “Upset” theory. I’ll call it the “Bottom Out Corollary”. In 2009, two weeks after shocking Nebraska in Lincoln, the Cyclones bombed out at home against Oklahoma State, losing 34-8. In 2009, Oklahoma wasted ISU 52-0 in Norman the week before the Cyclones beat Texas for the first (and only) time. 2011 is best remembered for Iowa State’s version of “The Shot Heard ‘Round the Word” as they knocked then 2nd-ranked Oklahoma State out of the national championship picture in Ames. Earlier that season, ISU got smoked at Missouri, 52-17. Last season’s road upset at TCU is getting less surprising with each passing week, but considering the Horned Frogs were ranked 15th at the time, and that they had the longest winning streak in the nation going, we’ll give him credit for the upset. However, ISU also got their butts handed to them at Texas, 33-7 (and it wasn’t that close). As I look at the remainder of this schedule, I see opportunities for upsets, sure, but I also see the potential for a whitewash at the hands of a quality opponent. And no opponent has shown it’s more capable of whitewashing someone than Baylor. I suppose Iowa State’s ability to hang tough in their losses this season should give one hope that they’ll find a way to make this a game, but its hard to imagine. Staying within 30 points is doable but keeping the margin below 20 would be an accomplishment. God speed, Cyclones fans. This could very well be “Bottom Out” week 2013.