Vanderbilt at Iowa State
Nov 29, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers cornerback Brandon Napoleon (20) makes a one handed tackle on Iowa State Cyclones running back DeVondrick Nealy (20) at Jack Trice Stadium. The Mountaineers beat the Cyclones 37 – 24. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
The Match Up: If Baylor at Alabama measures the ceiling, this game would measure the floor. Iowa State can score and Vanderbilt cannot. In our hypothetical contest Paul Rhoads is still the coach of the Cyclones. Whether that is the case remains to be seen but he was given a show of support by Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard.
The Cyclones have shown some pluck during Rhoads’ tenure having beaten West Virginia in Morgantown in 2013 and TCU in Fort Worth in 2012. Iowa State even knocked off its Big Ten in state rival this year with a 20-17 victory over the Hawkeyes who finished .500 in the Big Ten.
The Iowa State offense is ahead of the Vanderbilt defense. Vanderbilt Head Coach Derek Mason, coming over from Stanford, has more work to do to instill a physical culture in Nashville. The edge in this one goes the the Cyclones and Rhoads. Score: Iowa State 33 Vanderbilt 14
Likely or Not: Pollard should get on the phone and make this game happen immediately. Both programs could benefit from what would be a good match up. It would not be a ratings bonanza and not many folks outside of Music City or the Corn Belt would notice, but it would be quality win for whoever prevailed.