The Iowa State Cyclones finished last season with a mark of 7-6 and a bowl berth.

In 2024, things are projected to improve in Ames for Coach Matt Campbell and the Cyclones.

In the expanded Big 12, things will certainly look different, but the preseason media poll indicates that the Cyclones will be one of the top teams in the revamped conference.

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Here's a look at the poll released on Tuesday:

It's a newcomer projected to win the conference this year, as Cam Rising guides his Utes into the Big 12 with sky-high expectations.

Beyond that top spot, it's the usual suspects: Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Kansas before we see newcomer Arizona at 5, followed by the 6th place Cyclones.

Rocco Becht returns to the program this year after he was thrust into action last season. Becht was pretty solid last season, starting all 13 games and tossing 23 touchdowns to 8 interceptions while throwing for 3,120 yards.

Here's a quick look at the Cyclones schedule this Fall:

Iowa State Cyclones - ESPN.com
Iowa State Cyclones - ESPN.com
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It's not exactly murderer's row, but certainly isn't an easy slate either for Iowa State.

We will wait and see, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see the Cyclones in the mix for a Conference title with a few games left come mid-November.

Sources: ESPN.com and Big 12 Conference on Twitter

Know Your South Dakota College and University Mascots

The college football experience is an ultimate high for football fans and it takes several other teams to make that happen week after week during the season.
Just think about what goes into gameday? First and foremost, the players and coaching staff who put in hours and hours of practice and training to play in front of their fans. Then there's field prep, game officials, live broadcasts, concessions, and on-the-field entertainment. Yep, entertainment.

Second to the game, who do you watch? The cheerleaders? The band at halftime? What about the mascot? That's a job not many people can do.
I asked Sioux Falls native and former Cagey mascot for the Sioux Falls Canaries and Little Red & Herbie for the Nebraska Huskers Nate Welch about being a mascot:

  • What does it take to be a mascot?
  • "Losing a bet or filling an opportunity!" Welch says, "An internal energized desire to love life. After meeting great performers who are introverts out of costume, they become the center of attention when they take the stage. And also feeding off the performance of others."
  • Why does the mascot never talk?
  • "Know your role and shut your mouth. You are there to entertain. Tell the story with your actions and not your voice."
  • Advice to someone putting on that costume for the first time?
  • "Remember you are now in a costume. Have fun. Otherwise, you're just a dork in tights. If the fur ain't flying you ain't trying."

Nate Welch has moved on from his days as a mascot to Executive Director of the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company in Vermillion, South Dakota.

So, can you name the mascots at our South Dakota Colleges and Universities? Check out the gallery below:

Gallery Credit: Dave Roberts

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