Was asked this question in his weekly mailbag column: What is the ceiling for Matt Campbell at Iowa State? Obviously they will never get the caliber of recruits that Texas and Oklahoma do, but am I crazy to think they can at least play in the Big 12 title game once every five years? Carl S. The modern high point for Iowa State football, sadly, was a 9-3 season in 2000 behind forever-underrated coach Dan McCarney and future NFL QB Sage Rosenfels. (Seneca Wallace, who took over the next year, was a bigger college star, but he posted consecutive 7-5 records.) Campbell has already posted the first two eight-win seasons since then, and it feels like he’s only getting started. But realistically, the Cyclones are not going to become the next Oklahoma. Campbell, whose program’s culture is rooted in that of his D-III powerhouse alma mater Mount Union, is essentially aiming to turn Iowa State into the Wisconsin of the Big 12. The Badgers have never boasted the same caliber of recruits as conference peers Ohio State, Michigan or Penn State, but through culture and development have managed to compete with those programs for 25 years. They’ve in fact won more Big Ten titles since 1993 (six) than either the Wolverines (five) or Nittany Lions (four). Now, there’s one caveat: Although Bret Bielema’s Badgers won the first two Big Ten title games in 2011 (against Michigan State) and 2012 (Nebraska), Wisconsin has lost in its past three appearances. Which happens to coincide with Urban Meyer and James Franklin elevating their East Division programs. The Big 12 does not have divisions, but it does guarantee that you have to beat the best team in the conference to win the conference. Which, if Lincoln Riley and Tom Herman do what we think they will, is going to be challenging for Campbell. But I see no reason why he can’t cement Iowa State as a perennial upper-half team in that conference and reach conference title games — and occasionally win one. I used the Wisconsin comparison earlier, but perhaps a more apt one would be Kansas State during Bill Snyder’s first run. His Wildcats played in the Big 12 title game three times from 1998-2003 and knocked off an absolutely loaded Oklahoma team in the last one. Just keep building.