Matt Campbell has quickly risen up the Big 12 ranks: he’s jumped to third on the league’s seniority list
Randy Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
College football games, thankfully, start in a couple weeks. Maybe we’ll even know Rasir Bolton’s Iowa State basketball eligibility by then. Maybe not.
So while waiting, I’ll clear out a summer notebook that’s been to Big 12 Media Days, to many Iowa State basketball and football functions, and even up to the small northwest Iowa town in which the Cyclones’ four-star quarterback recruit plays home games.
Ranking Big 12 coaches
I played around with ranking the Big 12 coaches, according to notebook scribbling in early July. Then I decided that it’d he unfair to include the four new coaches — at least until they endured a season in the only Power Five conference in which everyone plays everyone.
Here’s what was jotted down about the six who returned:
1. Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma: Hard to pick against the leader of a program that’s favored to win a fourth conference title in a row. Let’s see how he does in 2019 with Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts running the offense. He was 26-2 as a starter at Alabama, but really, what kind of fete is that? It’s Alabama, for golly sakes.
2. Gary Patterson, TCU: Give him Oklahoma-like talent, and the Horned Frogs become a national power.
3. Tom Herman, Texas: The former Iowa State offensive coordinator is coming off a 10-win season. His Longhorns are No. 10 in the USA Today Coaches’ poll. He’s getting his state’s top recruits.
4. Matt Campbell, Iowa State: Someone I respect wondered if Campbell can do with the Cyclones what Bill Snyder did with Kansas State. He’s got a good start, with consecutive eight-win seasons. He’ll eventually move up this list, especially if he can get his team into the Big 12 championship game. That’d be off-the-charts impressive — and so is what he’s done thus far in three seasons since taking over a conference bottom-dweller.
5. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: He’s made the most of existing in the same state as traditional power Oklahoma. He’s done it by making solid recruits better. His teams haven’t been great, but consistently good isn’t bad. Gundy behind Campbell. Campbell ahead of Gundy. They’re really no major difference.
6. Matt Rhule, Baylor: Hired to be not only a program changer, but also a program builder — Rhule has been good at both. Fallout from the previous regime left a very young roster, of which he’s made the most. He’s good enough that NFL GM’s have him on speed dial.
An Iowan replacing a legend
About three-quarters through the notebook was this:
Chris Klieman following Bill Snyder.