From the moment Matt Campbell became the Iowa State head football coach, he has preached process to anyone who would listen.
Campbell inherited a program that wasn’t used to winning. The Cyclones entered 2017 with 11 wins since the start of the 2013 season.
One of those seasons, 2016, was Campbell’s first season in Ames. He continued to preach process at the start of this year and Iowa State’s players have bought in.
The Cyclones are bowl eligible for the first time since 2012. Don’t talk about that with Campbell though. He doesn’t want to hear about bowl games or six-win seasons.
Campbell wants more.
Iowa State is in a strong position to win more games than it has since going 9-3 back in 2000.
The Cyclones believe. And the process is turning into wins over top-five ranked teams.
Iowa State entered the College Football Playoff standings at No. 14.
With two losses, it’s going to be hard to get into the top four and think about a national championship, but the Cyclones are in play for a Big 12 title.
The biggest talk nationally outside of what the Cyclones’ record is, is how long will Campbell stay in Ames?
He was offended when asked about a tweet by one of the most respected college football analysts in America. Kirk Herbstreit essentially said Cyclone fans should have fun this season because Campbell was gone.
I don’t know what Campbell is thinking. He could make Ames his final stop. He could be the next Bill Snyder at Kansas State. Or Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State. Or Gary Patterson at TCU.
Those are all coaches who have chosen to stay at programs that weren’t one of the best in college football when they arrived. But does Campbell want more?
There will be jobs open that may entice him. Is Arkansas a better job? Or Tennessee? Or UCLA?
Jobs like Florida or Florida State may be enough to get away from Ames. But then there’s that $9 million buyout that another school would have to pay to Iowa State.
If this season ends with nine or 10 wins, Campbell could stay another year and do it all over again. Back-to-back seasons with nine or 10 wins would land an even bigger job in 2019.
Campbell says he wants to stay and build something in Ames. If that’s the case, the Cyclones have a great coach on their hands.
I have no reason to believe he doesn’t want to stay, but he will have opportunies if he wants to jump to a bigger school.
On the other side of the state, the Iowa Hawkeyes have a stiff challenge on Saturday against nationally ranked Ohio State inside Kinnick Stadium.
The Hawkeyes, who defeated Iowa State in overtime earlier this season, is trying to right their ship again. At 5-3, there is a lot left to play for, but most still think Iowa wins just one more game.
I don’t think Iowa beats Ohio State on Saturday, but Purdue, Wisconsin and Nebraska are all winnable games.
Speaking of Wisconsin, the Badgers are just like Iowa from 2015. They are undefeated with a soft schedule. And the 24-10 win over Illinois was not impressive.
The Badgers still have Iowa and Michigan at home, and those could be losses. But the College Football Playoff committee took notice of their schedule, placing them well out of the top four in the first rankings.
It’s not a time to freak out. Texas A&M was in the first release of the CFP rankings last season. They end up being unranked and its coach is still on the hot seat.
There are plenty of games left. The Big Ten and Big 12 Conference still has time to get into the top four. It should be a fun finish to another great college football season.
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