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Fact or Fiction: Iowa State's Matt Campbell is a top 10 coach

In today’s Fact or Fiction national columnist Mike Farrell looks at three big recent topics in college football and decides whether each statement is indeed FACT or if it’s FICTION.


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1. Matt Campbell should be ranked as a top 10 coach.   

Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell (AP Images)

Farrell’s take: FICTION

I recently ranked my top 20 college coaches (top 10 listed here and 11-20 here) and Matt Campbell just missed the top 10 and checked in at No. 11.

However, many said I was crazy not to have him in my top 10 and they make a strong argument based on how bad the Cyclones were before he arrived. Bill Seals, the publisher of our Iowa State site, feels Campbell is a top 10 coach. But I thought I’d ask some others in the Big 12.

Dustin McComas, who covers the Texas football beat for, doesn’t feel Campbell is top 10 coach, while Carey Murdock, the publisher of our Oklahoma site, feels differently. Based on his evaluation ability and as one of the few teams beating OU, he feels Campbell is top 10.

It’s an interesting debate, but I’m in the minority, it seems, keeping him at No. 11. Campbell went 3-9 in his first season, but has been 31-18 since, with wins over Oklahoma, Texas and Oregon last season alone.



2. Najee Harris will be a bust.

Najee Harris
Najee Harris (AP Images)

Farrell’s take: FICTION

I saw this a few times this week as Harris was compared with Trent Richardson, and I chuckled a little bit. But I had to ask around. So I went to the Notre Dame message board Rockne’s Roundtable at and to the Ohio State message board The Horseshoe Lounge at to ask those fans. After all, they are the two teams that Alabama and Harris rolled over in the playoff.

The majority of Notre Dame and Ohio State fans were beyond impressed with Harris and think he will be very good as a late first-round or early second-round pick, and I agree. He is so different from Richardson that I found the comparison comical. He’s a taller Mark Ingram at worst and could be a Marshall Faulk-ish talent in the right system.



3. Tennessee is the biggest underachiever in the SEC in the last decade.  

Jeremy Pruitt
Jeremy Pruitt (AP Images)

Farrell’s take: FACT. I went to The General’s Quarters at to ask this question and it seems most fans agree with me — the Vols have been the SEC’s underachiever. Some mentioned UGA, based on the talent the Dawgs recruit and the fact that they haven’t won a national title, but overall the Tennessee fan base is beyond disappointed in the direction this program has taken.

The Vols had only 66 wins in the decade, which is amazing when you consider they were national title contenders the decade before and won it all in 1998. When I was looking at SEC wins in the 2010-2020 era the Vols were barely ahead of Kentucky and Arkansas, and had fewer (zero) 10-win seasons than either of those programs.