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Should Matt Campbell Turn Down the Nebraska Job?

Scott Frost is a goner, but maybe Coach Soup needs to dream a little bigger than Lincoln

Iowa State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

With Nebraska now all but certain to fire skipper Scott Frost on October 1 we’ve now prematurely reached the point of the season where Iowa State fans think they matter, as head coach Matt Campbell is almost certain to be one of the names on the top of Nebraska’s shortlist. Let me just rip this band aid off for you now, Cyclone fans: if offered, Matt Campbell is 100% taking the job.

I know there’s nothing you love more than lying to yourselves about why “Iowa State is a better job than X” but if that were actually true, Iowa State would’ve been good at football decades ago instead of just for the last 5 years.

Now, I’m not here to advocate for who Trev Alberts should hire to replace Frost. He restructured the terms of Scott Frost’s contract for one reason: to be a coward and punt having to fire a school hero a few months down the road. I’ve got to think that Alberts spent his summer whittling down a list of candidates to interview when the time comes.

What I am here to say is that while Matt Campbell is almost certainly going to accept the head coach job in Lincoln, he should avoid doing so at all costs. I know you’re thinking I sound crazy, or possibly day drunk, but hear me out before passing judgement.

James Franklin’s job is going to be open in a year or two anyway.

If Matt Campbell can stomach living in Ames for like a year, two at the most, the Penn State job is going to be his for the taking. Anyone halfway paying attention knows Franklin’s number is coming up soon. Penn State’s record over the last two seasons sits at 11-11. The way I see it, Franklin has two paths forward:

  1. Plod through this season before taking a job that’s essentially a lateral move so he can save face
  2. Try to right the ship and get fired in two years after he fails.

It doesn’t matter which path Franklin chooses, what’s important is that Matt Campbell needs to play the smart game and hold out for Penn State’s phone call.

I conclude this article with a brief open letter to Coach Campbell:


I know how desperate you are to get out of Ames. We all know the town is a dog hole. I’m sure you’re sick of pretending Hickory Park is good “barbecue” and lying to the locals about how connected you feel to the community. I get it.

I know everybody in that town drives 5 miles under the speed limit. I know you and your family must be losing your minds because there’s nothing to do but listen to people talk about a neat pig they saw. I know the water tastes like shit. Listen man, I’ve driven through there and I get it.

But for some reason people think you’re a hot commodity on the coaching carousel, and you need to leverage that for everything it’s worth. There’s no way you can finally get your wish to leave Ames and then just end up living in Nebraska instead.

Penn State can give you everything you need. You’ll have the blind loyalty of fans who will never turn on you no matter what you do. You’ll have a job that puts you in a media market with multiple NFL GMs. You want to hype the fans up by trying to throw shade at a “team out east”? Your teams out east are Rutgers and Maryland, basically glorified bye weeks.

Thank you for your time, Coach. May you never have to face the digestive consequences of eating a Runza

Your friend,