Iowa State will indeed have a 12-game regular season — probably.
Wednesday afternoon, Iowa State announced that it will play FCS Incarnate Word on Saturday, Dec. 1. That matchup will replace the season opener against South Dakota State, which was canceled because of inclement weather.
That December game, though, is dependent on the Cyclones not playing in the Big 12 championship game and the Cardinals not qualifying for the FCS playoffs. As Iowa State has finished above .500 in conference play just once the last decade (5-4 in 2015) and Incarnate Word has never won more than six games in a season, it’s a safe bet that the game will go off as scheduled.
“Although it’s been a challenging process to identify a school that was willing and able to play in Ames on Dec. 1, we are thankful to the Cardinals’ Athletics Director Brian Wickstrom and Coach Eric Morris in helping us schedule this game,” ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard said in a statement. “We explored multiple options to give our student-athletes every opportunity to compete and, ultimately, be eligible to participate in a bowl game. Our student-athletes only have so many chances in their career to play collegiate football. I’m very grateful to the administration at UIW for helping us provide our student-athletes, as well as our marching band and spirit squad another chance to represent Iowa State University.”
ISU will pay the FCS school $300,000 for the game, and will also provide use of a charter aircraft to fly the football team into Des Moines.
Incarnate Word has opened the 2018 season with a pair of losses to FBS teams — 62-30 to New Mexico and 58-16 to North Texas. ISO lost to in-state rival Iowa 13-3 in Week 2.