Media Roundtable: ISU vs. NIU

This week, our media panel weighs in on whether or not they believe the Cyclones can rebound effectively against No. 20 Northern Illinois.

Larry Cotlar, KXNO Radio in Des Moines

Almost everybody believes that Northern Illinois will handle Iowa State pretty handily on Saturday, but as you know "the Cotman" is not everybody. Call me crazy (many have), but I have a hunch that the Cyclones will come out rested, healthier and with blood in their eyes after having been slapped around by Iowa two weeks ago. Knowing Dan McCarney as I do, he will definitely play the "no respect" card with his troops. They all know this is gut check time, a game to prove what they are made of. The thought here is that the return of Bob Montgomery, even on a part-time basis, will greatly improve the play of the offensive line and Iowa State will be able to run the ball better than at any time this season. The defense did a good job on limiting Fred Russell and hopefully can do the same to Michael Turner. The pick here is Iowa State 27-20.

Steve Deace, KXNO Radio in Des Moines & CN publisher:

All summer long we thought this week's trip to DeKalb was a trap for the Cyclones. Now they are a touchdown underdog to the 20th-ranked Huskies, who are the only team in America with two non-conference victories against rated foes. The setup to this game reminds me of ISU's trip to Texas a year ago after the thrashing they took against Oklahoma. The Cyclones have had two weeks to get mad, get healthy, and get ready. I think those three factors pay dividends, as well as ISU managing to only get one punt blocked this week. Look for a tough, low-scoring, physical affair. And look for Dan McCarney to get his first road victory against a ranked opponent with a 20-14 victory.

Ron Maly, retired award-winning sports writer:

I don't feel good about this one. I didn't like the matchup before the season began, and I like it even less now. I don't see any way that Iowa State can beat Northern Illinois. Oh, sure, some people think
the Huskies might be in a mood to perhaps take the Cyclones a bit lightly in the wake of their victories over Maryland and Alabama. But Joe Novak, NIU's coach, has busted his butt too long to let that happen. Iowa
State has had an extra week to mend after the loss to Iowa, but I'm not a guy who thinks that off-weeks are particularly good. I'm picking Northern Illinois to win, 28-24.

Keith Murphy, TV-13 WHO in Des Moines

I really like the way this sets up for Iowa State. The Cyclones have had two weeks to prepare, and two weeks to stew over the loss to Iowa. Dan McCarney and staff also know what the schedule is like; the Cyclones must win the games where they have a chance, and they have a good chance in this one. Yes, ISU has never beaten a ranked team on the road under McCarney, but like many firsts over the past decade, you have to start somewhere. Northern Illinois is walking tall, feeling proud, and no doubt still celebrating the
impressive win at Alabama. ISU can't make mistakes – especially when punting – but I like ISU to pull off the upset and re-ignite enthusiasm in the Cyclone Nation.

B.J. Schaben, KASI Radio in Ames:

Who would've thought four years ago Northern Illinois would be this good? Not Gene Smith, not Dan McCarney, and certainly not any red blooded American who loves college football! I believe the two-week layoff will help Iowa State, really I do. But will it be enough? No. But the Cyclones will cover the Las Vegas spread by losing, 27-24.




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