The Iowa State Cyclones came up short in their efforts to claim their first conference championship in over a century but they will get a consolation prize in the form of a New Year’s Six battle with the Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday.
Following a season-opening loss to eventual Sun Belt co-champion Louisiana, the No. 10 Cyclones became the surprise team of the Big XII. They won eight of their nine conference games during the regular season to earn their first-ever trip to the league title game. Their bid to win the conference was denied when turnovers doomed them in a 27-21 loss to Oklahoma.
ISU players were showered with league honors after the season with running back Breece Hall (245 carries, 1,436 yards, 19 touchdowns) winning Big XII Offensive Player of the Year, linebacker Mike Rose (90 tackles, four interceptions, 1.5 sacks) winning Big XII Defensive Player of the Year and newcomers like wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson and defensive back Isheem Young also being recognized for their contributions. They, of course, were led by Big XII coach of the year Matt Campbell.
Oregon’s path to the Fiesta Bowl was perfectly indicative of the Pac-12’s bizarre season/state of the conference as they ended up defeating USC 31-24 in the conference title game despite not even winning their division. Despite dropping their final two regular season games, the Ducks were chosen to meet the Trojans after Pac-12 North champion Colorado was unable to make the trip due to COVID-19.
Despite having a turnover differential of -5, one of the strengths Mario Cristobal’s league champion club came on a defensive front that featured dominant sophomore defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (32 tackles, three sacks) and Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year Noah Sewell (37 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble).
Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming
You can watch the Oregon Ducks and Iowa State Cyclones in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, December 2 at 4:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. You can stream it via WatchESPN or the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.
Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends
Point spread: Oregon vs. Iowa State (-4.5)
Point Total: 57.5
Money line: Iowa State -195, Oregon +145
- The favorite has covered the spread in seven of Iowa State’s last eight games.
- Each of Iowa State’s last four games has gone UNDER the total points line.
- Iowa State is 5-3 against the spread as a favorite this season.
- Oregon is 3-1 against the spread in neutral site games under Mario Cristobal as a full-time head coach (since 2018); Iowa State is 0-3 under Matt Campbell (since 2016).
Fiesta Bowl Betting splits
Oregon: (13% of handle, 26% percent of bets)
Iowa State: (87% of handle, 74% percent of bets)
The Best Bet
Even though Iowa State lost to Oklahoma in the Big XII title game, this is still a very good team. Meanwhile Oregon got into their title game on a technicality and barely beat a then-undefeated, though not great USC. I don’t see the Ducks hanging around in this one.
Pick: Iowa State -4.5
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