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Football

MONDAY MUSINGS: Matt Campbell, bowl games and the silly season

This is one of those Monday mornings where I have no idea what to lead with.

I guess I’ll begin in Manhattan, where Iowa State was robbed of its 8-4 season via a 20-19 defeat from Bill Snyder and Kansas State.

Do I believe that the game was fixed?

No.

Do I believe that the officiating crew on Saturday was utterly incompetent?

Absolutely.

That’s where I have landed.

It wasn’t just the blatant pass interference flag that was picked up and essentially would have ended the game on Iowa State’s final drive.

Flat out missing multiple false starts…How does that even happen? Officials never miss those calls.

That group was jumbled from the start when it came to typical tasks like spotting the football. It was a mess from the opening kickoff. The multiple flag pick-ups just made the whole thing smell fishy to a fan base that has been burned before.

Moving on…

As maddening as it is to accept, it’s hard not to be happy with a 7-5 season from the Cyclones. Besides a few of you Fanatics who were crazy-optimistic heading into the season, Matt Campbell’s program exceeded expectations for the overwhelming majority of fans in 2017.

Even if you had the Cyclones pegged for 7-5 in August, you did not have two wins over top-five opponents in that recipe. Am I right?

I haven’t had time to do it yet but I’m excited to go through and really dissect Iowa State’s stats from the 2017 season. There were some great individual performances but the team growth from year one to year two in the Campbell era will be eye-popping, especially on defense.

The best part about 2017 is that this fun run isn’t over yet. Next year’s team should be better than this one. This isn’t a peak where Iowa State will have to rebuild the next year, like we have often times seen in the past.

Iowa State is currently climbing the mountain, not going down it.

I fully anticipate excitement and anticipation for the 2018 season to surpass anything that we have seen at Iowa State before.

Bowl projections…

One clearly stands out above the rest.

Iowa State vs. Notre Dame in the Camping World Bowl in Orlando? Are you kidding me? Sign me up right now. Iowa State fans would absolutely flood the Sunshine State. It would be the most high profile game in modern day Iowa State history, no?

Even if it isn’t Notre Dame, the pool of potential opponents from the ACC – Virginia Tech as an example – in Orlando are all enticing.

At least these are all Power 5 opponents we are discussing today.

Not to speak for you guys but Iowa State’s last two bowl opponents, Tulsa an Rutgers, didn’t exactly fire me up.

Assuming Oklahoma beats TCU (Sooners are favored by seven) in Saturday’s Big 12 Championship Game, Iowa State should end up in Orlando. That scenario would send the Sooners to the College Football Playoff and TCU in all likeliness to the Cotton Bowl.

I’ve got Oklahoma State heading to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl. Based off of the standings and the fact that Iowa State hasn’t gone bowling since 2012, Orlando looks to be a strong candidate as to where the Cyclones will end up.

— A lot of you have been asking: Cyclone Fanatic WILL have a charter for the 2017 bowl game. I’ll have more details for you in the coming days. Stay tuned!

Five quick hits

It’s weird business and a guy can never be 100 percent sure on these things but at this point, I fully anticipate Matt Campbell to be Iowa State’s coach next season. For the sake of recruiting, Campbell and Jamie Pollard need to get a new deal finalized in the coming days.

A job like Tennessee… I can see why it is appealing to some. There’s a great tradition, awesome fan base and it is located in a fertile part of the country when it comes to attracting blue chip recruits. But after yesterday, I can also see why others wouldn’t touch it in three lifetimes. Passionate fans are great. They are the reason why all of the bowl games, television contracts, packed stadiums and enormous salaries are around. But man, this business can be toxic sometimes too. Forget about the Greg Schiano drama – do you really want to coach at a place where fans stuck in the 90’s wanted you fired for going 8-4? That’s the larger point here.

It’s looking more and more likely that Scott Frost will end up at Nebraska. The is the only hire that makes sense in Husker land. It’s perfect.

Speaking of perfect, Florida fans shouldn’t have been happy with anybody not named Dan Mullen. Now that’s a home run.

We’ve got an unusually quiet week ahead of us here covering the Cyclones. Football won’t heat back up again until Sunday night after the bowl destination is announced. Iowa State basketball doesn’t take the floor again until a week from today vs. Northern Illinois. Having said that, I do anticipate this to be an active week. Have a good one!

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