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Photo Attribution: Corie Brianne

Earlier this year, I “met” Chris Williams, the creator of “at Big 12 media days”. What I mean by that is that we found each other on Twitter because he was reporting from Big 12 media days and I was following online. Anyway, we decided to do a little get to know each other (the teams, not me and Chris) via email for Cowboy and Cyclone fans, here’s what ensued:

Kyle Porter: What do Iowa State fans expect going into Friday night?

Chris Williams: I think that most Iowa State fans are going into Friday night’s game with a “nothing to lose” type of attitude. When you’re a home underdog of nearly four touchdowns, that’s really the only way to approach a game like this. Iowa State has a ton of respect for the Cowboys. That offense is scary. Still, it’s a big opportunity for the Cyclones. The second-ranked team in America is in town on ESPN in prime time. The college football world will be watching Iowa State, which doesn’t happen very often. It should be a fun time.

Oklahoma State pasted Tech last week and is heading to Ames on a short week. The Cyclones had last week off. Is there any chance that the Cowboys will overlook Iowa State this Friday? What do Oklahoma State fans think about this game? Any fear at all?

Kyle: I think there’s always that fear, see: OU/Tech this year and even OSU/OU in 2001 when OU was a 27-point (sound familiar?) favorite.

It benefits OSU that the OU game isn’t for another two weeks because I think it’s far enough away that the game of the century of the week hype isn’t in full swing yet.

It also helps to someone with a preternatural ability to block any and all distractions out at the helm in Brandon Weeden.

They won’t be overlooking Iowa State. There’s too much at stake right now and they’ve been focused the last few weeks for the Baylors and Techs of the world.

Which ISU player should OSU fans most fear?

Chris: That’s what’s interesting about this Iowa State team Kyle. The Cyclones don’t have a Brandon Weeden or Justin Blackmon. Here’s an example. We do thing called the “Cyclone of the Week” every Sunday at Fans get to vote on their MVP for the previous game. In nine games, only one Cyclone has won the award twice and that’s All-Big 12 linebacker Jake Knott. He’s a bad dude. Knott has played the majority of this season with a broke arm and a shoulder that pops in and out of place from time-to-time. He’s as tough of a player as I’ve ever seen at any level.

From a defensive perspective, that watch Knott and cornerback Leonard Johnson. He’s one of the best in the Big 12 and knowing Leonard, he’ll be itching for a chance to go one-on-one with Blackmon. Player for player, Iowa State might have the best secondary in the Big 12. The problem has been getting pressure on the quarterback, which I’m not sure the Cyclones will be able to do against that dominating Oklahoma State offensive line. Offensively, watch Iowa State’s freshman quarterback Jared Barnett. He’s only started two games in his career. He won both of them at Texas Tech and at home against Kansas.

So we know that Brandon Weeden is 28-years old. We know that Justin Blackmon is a freak. What are some hidden secrets to this Oklahoma State team that the Cyclone Nation might not know?

Kyle: I think the hidden cheat code to this year’s OSU team is somebody I nicknamed “the closer”, RB2 Jeremy Smith. He’s only had one huge game (Texas) but he’s a beastly, bruising back who comes in to spell Joseph Randle in the 3rd and 4th quarter depending on the opposing defensive scheme.

Also, ISU fans should watch out for my favorite player, Justin Gilbert. He’s a sophomore corner and and already the all-time kick return TD leader for OSU with 4. He’s now chasing down CJ Spiller for the NCAA record (7) and can literally go to the house any time he touches the ball.

I know there was some national love for Steele Jantz at the beginning of the year, but he’s been replaced in the last few games by freshman QB Jared Barnett in the last few games. Have Iowa State fans been pleased with that transition?

Chris: Interesting…You never hear much about Oklahoma State’s rushing attack. Good stuff.

Yes – Fans have been pleased with what they’ve seen from Barnett. I’ve tried to find an Iowa State freshman quarterback that has started his conference career 2-0 and can’t do it. Barnett has done well on the football field, but his poise as a young man is what impresses me the most. He reminds me of a young Austen Arnaud. If you as him a question, he gives you a well-spoken response and looks you in the eye while doing so. He’s mature beyond his years.

Vegas has the spread for Friday night at 27.5 points. What are your thoughts on that?

Kyle: OSU has only had two spreads over 25 points this year. They covered 31 against Kansas and didn’t cover 38 against Louisiana. I think part of the 27.5 is the boomerang effect from throttling Tech by 60 last week.

What usually happens when OSU doesn’t cover is that they get up big in the 3rd quarter, put their reserves in, and relinquish the spread in the 4th. With Bedlam coming up in a few weeks, I could definitely see that happening on Friday.

I’ve seen a few media outlets say this would be the biggest W in Iowa State football history. That seems a little extreme, do you think it’s true?

Chris: Not really. Here’s why. For one, it would give Iowa State its sixth win of the season, making the Cyclones bowl eligible for the second time in three years during Paul Rhoads’ tenure in Ames. That’s a pretty damn big deal at Iowa State. Secondly, this is a nationally televised game against the second-ranked team in the country. People who have never seen Iowa State play football will be tuning in on Friday due to the national title implications. Iowa State has pulled off some big wins in the past, but none with the entire country watching.

Biggest win in program history? Dan McCarney racked up a few back in the day (vs. Iowa) that originally got the ball rolling in Ames. Rhoads’ win at Nebraska in 2009 got him in a bowl game during his first season in town, which was huge considering Gene Chizik went 5-19 before him.

Due to all of those factors, I’d probably agree that this would be the biggest of all-time.

Should the Cyclones lose this one, I’ll be cheering for OSU the rest of the way. I don’t know about you Kyle, but I feel like the two schools (along with Kansas State) have a lot in common.

Kyle: For sure. It’s the Auburn/Mississippi State/North Carolina State syndrome: big, historical brother rules the state and little brother gets his shots in when he can.

Speaking from experience, it’s quite a joyous occasion when the entire thing is flipped on its head and nobody knows who’s rules the roost and who’s trying to infiltrate it.

It’s also not something we’re used to as OSU fans. The Cowboys haven’t toppled the Sooners since 2002 and I don’t think anybody expects much different from this year. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from the game tomorrow, but I think this year feels different.

One last question for you, Chris and we’ll wrap this baby up. Is Hilton Magic confined to the basketball arena or are we going to see a little spillover from Rhoads’ team tomorrow night?

Chris: Ha. There hasn’t been a ton of Jack Trice Magic lately and honestly, I’d be shocked if Iowa State pulled this upset off on Friday. But anything is possible right?

I like Iowa State to cover but OSU to march into Bedlam undefeated. Your pick is?

Kyle: Cowboys by 25.

You guys be sure to follow Chris on Twitter for some good ISU updates the rest of the week.

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