5th: Big 12
25th: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: Iowa State had one of college football’s best turnarounds in going 3-9 in 2016 to an 8-5 record last year and along the way, the Cyclones defeated TCU and College Football Playoff semi-finalist Oklahoma, along with Memphis in the Liberty Bowl.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: WR Allen Lazard again led the team in receptions , receiving yards, and touchdowns with 71, 941, and 10 respectively after also doing the same in 2016. He was an All-Big 12 performer after both seasons but was not selected in the NFL Draft this past spring. He did, however, sign a free agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Key Player: QB Kyle Kempt took over the starting spot after the fifth game last year including the wins over Oklahoma and TCU. He finished the season with 1,787 yards passing and 15 touchdowns with just three interceptions. The now-senior will look to have a full season this year and despite missing Lazard, should have a good group around him on offense.
Fearless Prediction: Iowa State lost four of its five games by a touchdown or less last year. The key to improving is to turn these close losses into wins. The team has the talent to do this and very well could make a run within the Big 12 this year. Look for Iowa State to be in the running all season long.