Peterson: Camping World Bowl actually thought it had Iowa State football team and fans last year – Des Moines Register

Iowa State arrives to their hotel headquarters Sunday afternoon. Randy Peterson, rpeterson@dmreg.com

AMES, Ia. The Camping World Bowl committee liked Matt Campbells Iowa State football team and the thousands of fans that go with it so much last seasonthat it actually thought the Cyclones would be headed to their game.

Selecting second among the Big 12s non-New Years Six bowls,the Orlando-based Camping World figured the Alamo Bowl would use its pick on West Virginia, and then the Camping World Bowl would be picking Iowa State.

We thought that, all the way up to the point where the Alamo picked Iowa State, Camping World rep Kirtus Bocox said after the Cyclones 23-21 victory against Texas on Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium. We thought wed be welcoming Matt Campbell and all those wonderful Iowa State fans to Orlando.

ISU fans gather for the Cyclone Spirit Rally on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018, in San Antonio. Iowa State takes on Washington State in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Friday.(Photo: Brian Powers/The Register)

Something happened on their way to the Magic Kingdom.

Alamo surprised Camping by selecting 24th-ranked Iowa State over No. 16 West Virginia, so the Mountaineers became the pick for Orlando.

Welcome to the bowl business, where Plan Bs and Csare probably more in play than fans think and where the Camping World Bowl just might get the Cyclones a year after they splashed onto their radar.

Assume Oklahoma and Baylor already have been picked on college footballs selection Sunday. Assume the Alamo Bowl picks between Iowa State and Oklahoma State.

Running back Breece Hall #28 of the Iowa State Cyclones breaks away from linebacker Joseph Ossai #46 of the Texas Longhorns as he rushed for yards in the first half of play at Jack Trice Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)(Photo: David Purdy/Getty Images)

The Alamo loved the Cyclones San Antonio invasion last year, an enthusiastic partnership between fan and bowl that reportedly included at least 30,000 Iowa State fans at the game, but would they go back a second bowl season in a row?

Thats the great unknown, so assume its Oklahoma State to the Alamo and the Camping World picks Iowa State assuming, of course, the Cyclones finishes the season with wins at home against Kansas at 11 a.m.Saturday and at Kansas State on Nov. 30.

To be honest, we were excited to watch the big matchup against Texas, and then, as it played out while walking around the tailgate areas, fans told us theyd love to come to Orlando to be part of our bowl, Bocox said. To be honest, that meant a lot.

We judge the fan bases that we see. We see how tight the fans areand the excitement they have for their teams. Iowa State looks to have a very close-knit fan base, and everyone knows the enthusiasm they have for the team.

Iowa State qualified for its third bowl game in a rowafter winning its sixth game of the season Saturday with Connor Assalleys walk-off 36-yard field goal. Campbells team played in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee, after going 7-5 during the regular season in 2017. It impressed Alamo Bowl reps (and the Camping World folks, too) after an eight-win regular season in 2018.

It was an impressive site, walking around the tailgates two or three before the game, Bocox said. Despite the cold weather, I was impressed that many fans were out and about.

The Camping World Bowl is Dec. 28 at 11 a.m. on ESPN at 65,000-seat Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The Big 12 selection faces the ACC champion. Syracuse beat West Virginia in last seasons game before a crowd of 41,125 fans.

Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy (15) celebrates with teammates Parker Rickert, left, and Bobby McMillen III after an NCAA college football game against Texas, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 23-21. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)(Photo: Charlie Neibergall, AP)

Thatd be exciting for us, having a young coach like Matt Campbell thats on the rise and leading a team thats also on the rise, Bocox said. Were looking for an exciting game, from a TV perspective, and a team with players that would create a buzz. Individual starts and great matchups generate eyeballs in the stadium and on television.

Iowa State can offer up quarterback Brock Purdy, third nationally in both passing yards (3,023) and passing yards per game (320.3). Over the last five games, tailback Breece Hall leads all Power Five running backs regardless of age, with 120.4 yards a game. Sophomore Charlie Kolar is among the top three or four tight ends in the country.

We honestly thought we had Iowa State last year, Bocox said. Thats who we thought was coming, but we saw what they did at the Alamo Bowl we heard they ran the city out of Busch Light.

Tell everyone that we will double the supply and make sure that doesnt happen.

Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been writingfor the Des Moines Register for parts of five decades. Reach him at rpeterson@dmreg.com, 515-284-8132, and on Twitter at @RandyPete. No one covers the Cyclones like the Register. Subscribe today at Des Moines Register.com/Deal to make sure you never miss a moment.

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Peterson: Camping World Bowl actually thought it had Iowa State football team and fans last year - Des Moines Register

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