Matt Campbell is quickly becoming one of the hot names in college football.
And why not? Iowa State’s second-year coach has the Cyclones heading into the final weekend of October with a 5-2 record, almost unheard-of territory on the plains of central Iowa.
Since 1978, the Cyclones have started 5-2 only once, in 2000, when they went 9-3 and won the Insight Bowl.
This year’s version already has road wins at then-No. 3 Oklahoma and Texas Tech, sandwiched around a beatdown of lowly Kansas. They’re ranked in the AP Top 25 and in great shape to make a bowl game for the first time since 2012. But now the goals could be higher. A lot higher. And people everywhere are talking about that, even if Campbell wants to tune it all out.
“If you really want to be a good football team, then all you can worry about is what you do,” Campbell said after last week’s win at Texas Tech. “As soon as you start buying into everyone wanting to say nice things about you, bad things happen.”
Campbell is an Ohio guy, with coaching stops at sites like Mount Union, Bowling Green and Pitt. He joined the Cyclones before the 2016 season, leaving his post as head coach at Toledo. He’s discovered a new star at quarterback in former third-stringer Kyle Kempt, who has been at the controls of all three games in the recent winning streak.
Kempt again leads the Cyclones into battle in another full Big 12 slate this week.