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Report: Matt Campbell Would Be The Front-Runner For Ohio State Job

Well that sucks…

Getty Images - David K. Purdy

Yesterday, I said that if Ohio State offers, Campbell has to accept. I also said, that a lot of things would have to happen for Campbell to Ohio State’s target. Ryan Day will most likely get a full season to audition as the Buckeye’s interim head coach, and other names like Greg Schiano and Kevin Wilson would most likely be higher up their list. Not to mention, the job isn’t even available yet.

I said, “It’s way too early for fans to start popping antacids. They might want to drive to the store and pick up a bottle or two to have on hand, but a lot of things have to take place before they should think about breaking the seal.”

Welp Cyclone Nation, I hope you went to the store, because it might be time to break that seal.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Perloff, Campbell would be the front-runner for the Ohio State job if it were to open up, and that’s looking more and more like a formality at this point.

It’s not surprising that they would have interest in Campbell. Along with bringing Iowa State into the Big 12 discussion, he, and his staff, have shown to be successful recruiters in major recruiting grounds by pulling kids from Texas, California, Florida and Ohio in the 2018 class alone.

However, it is surprising that Campbell would be the front runner. For all of Campbell’s merits, he lacks sustained success at a Power 5. And for his recruiting success, he’s yet to have a class ranked in the top 50, though the 2019 class looks like it might break through that barrier. It currently ranks 25th in the country, but that class is far from finalized.

Then there is the little issue of Campbell’s buyout. Coach Campbell and the Cyclones agreed to 6-year contract extension at the end of last season, which was intended to keep him in Ames for a while longer. If Ohio State wants him, they will need to shill out $7 million to Iowa State. The bad news is Ohio State is one of the few schools that could afford it.

For Iowa State fans, this is a gut punch. Their fears of losing coach Campbell were eased with the contract extension. They were supposed to be able to relax, breathe easy, and enjoy football for a couple of years. But just 9 months later, here we are.

If Ohio State offers, Campbell has to accept. I still stand by that. While I would absolutely hate to see him leave Ames, it’s too good of an opportunity for him to pass up. Sometimes, you have to put your feelings aside for a loved one, and encourage them to do what’s best for them. Even if, that means saying goodbye.

The reality is, even if everything went exactly right for the Cyclones for 20 years, they still wouldn’t be able to offer what Ohio State can today. It’s a top five job. Not to mention, coach Campbell is from Ohio.

Cyclone fans shouldn’t lose hope just yet. While Campbell is from Ohio, he’s made it clear that Ames is his home now, and he’s the type of guy that wants to work for it. Everything he says indicates that he is a coach Snyder, a coach Gundy, a coach Patterson, a guy that wants to build something.

“We are just getting started at Iowa State,” said Campbell in November. “To see our culture rapidly developing in concert with some excellent incoming recruits, we are developing a foundation for a program on the brink of success. Most importantly, I want to continue this journey and take Iowa State and its fan base to levels it has never reached.”

When he made those comments though, he had no way of knowing he may be the front-runner for the Ohio State job just 9 months later. However, if at this time next year, Campbell is still in Ames, Cyclone fans should be able to relax for years to come. Because if he doesn’t leave for Ohio State, he’s not leaving for anyone.

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