Entering the year, it was the Cyclones with most of the major hype. Iowa State went 9-3 last season, finishing with a big Fiesta Bowl win over Oregon. They entered the season ranked No. 8 in the country.
Week 1 didn’t go exactly as planned, however. Matt Campbell’s team squeaked by FCS club Northern Iowa, 16-10. Meanwhile, rival Iowa, the No. 18 team in the country at the time, absolutely pounded No. 17 Indiana at home. The Hoosiers were one of the sport’s breakout teams a year ago, and fell to Kirk Ferentz’s team, 34-6.
Hawkeyes running back Tyler Goodson says that all of the pressure is on the Cyclones entering this weekend in Ames. “This is like their Super Bowl,” he said. He called College GameDay a distraction for ISU, while Iowa will keep their focus on the game at hand.
Iowa RB Tyler Goodson on Iowa State: "This is like their Super Bowl. They haven’t beat us in a couple years (since 2014). I think them being at their home place knowing College GameDay is going to be there is a good distraction for them and allows us just to focus on us."
— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) September 7, 2021
The two teams will play for the first time since 2019, after COVID-19 cost both teams the annual rivalry game. That year, Ames hosted GameDay for the first time, but it was Iowa that came out on top, 18-17.
Iowa State has been close a few times, but Iowa has dominated the rivalry on the field, winning five straight editions of the Cy-Hawk Game. Iowa State’s last win came on the road in 2014.
Adding to the hype, this is now a Top 10 showdown. In the new AP Top 25 poll, Iowa State fell to No. 9, while Iowa surged up to No. 10.
For ISU to have the type of dream season that many anticipated, beating their hated in-state rival is a must.