Yesterday, Iowa State head football coach and Bear-Bryant-in-training Matt Campbell released a "public service announcement" to Iowa State -- excuse me, ISU -- students about buying football tickets for this coming season:
In the 35 second video, Campbell refers to The University of Iowa as "The team out east," which is precisely as childish and petty as something coming out of the mouth of a guy who lost by 39 last season should be. That's fine. We will continue to refer to you as Iowa State.
Which is more than we can say for Matt Campbell.
Because watch the rest of the advertisement. Despite numerous opportunities, Matt Campbell never says the word "Iowa." He talks about "this program" and "our football program" without ever naming it. He welcomes "students" back to campus without ever actually naming the school they attend. It's "our campus" rather than the Iowa State campus. He refers to "the game versus UNI" rather than calling them Northern Iowa. Even his jacket, hat and backdrop don't include the word 'Iowa,' opting instead for that generic 'I-State' logo which could be used at Illinois State or Idaho State, probably with better on-field results.
It goes beyond the video, too. Campbell's Twitter handle is @ISUMattCampbell, not referencing the state of Iowa. He won't even mention Iowa in his tweets:
Honor to meet Coach Hoiberg! Loved him as a player & humbled to lead at the University he has brought greatness to! pic.twitter.com/LwhKUYpg4c— Matt Campbell (@ISUMattCampbell) August 5, 2017
The team that plays together stays together!Thanks to Aaron Wendel showing us how special it is to represent CycloneNation. #FarmStrong#AHF pic.twitter.com/g7vj5OjeKU— Matt Campbell (@ISUMattCampbell) July 23, 2017
Also can't thank the former players and guest coaches enough for coming back today. You all are what truly make this place special!! pic.twitter.com/B062DC0rSS— Matt Campbell (@ISUMattCampbell) April 8, 2017
Coming back where?
One of the best weekends since I've been in Ames! Our team is growing! Frosh in n the future here all weekend! pic.twitter.com/py2ztPg4HW— Matt Campbell (@ISUMattCampbell) June 17, 2017
And in what state is Ames located, sir?
In fact, Matt Campbell has not authored a tweet with the word "Iowa" in it since June 8, and that tweet was only because it referenced the "Iowa Stater" restaurant ("Serving up Ls since 1932!"). If you want to find the last time Campbell tweeted "Iowa" as part of a regular sentence and not a proper name, you would have to go back to January 27.
It's been an incredible couple of weeks finishing this recruiting class! Excited to finish where this class started! The Great State of Iowa— Matt Campbell (@ISUMattCampbell) January 27, 2017
That's 119 tweets by the head coach of IOWA STATE that don't have the word "Iowa" in them.
And that's weird, right? He has tweeted "Cyclone Nation" or some hashtagged variant of that 32 times since January 27, so you can't say it's a matter of keeping things under 140 characters. He's used "Ames" a half-dozen times, so it's not that he doesn't have at least some understanding of his geographic location. He just doesn't write or speak the word "Iowa."
Why won't Matt Campbell say "Iowa"?
- Matt Campbell came from Ohio. He played football for two schools in Ohio, he coached in Ohio, he won five national championships and ten conference championships in Ohio. Sometimes dumb people mix up Ohio and Iowa. Is that what has happened here? Did Matt Campbell take the Iowa State job thinking it was Ohio State, and now cannot square that particular circle in his head?
- Iowa State is best known for its basketball program, which long ago stopped even considering players from Iowa so that it could give scholarships to guys thrown out of their original schools (usually Marquette) and somehow enroll them in graduate school for a semester. Perhaps Campbell, seeing how Fred Hoiberg and Steve Prohm have abandoned the state, is just taking things to the next level?
- Maybe he got some bad Advocare that has thrown off his sense of location?
- Perhaps Campbell has yet to fully awaken from his tire-flip and khaki-squat-induced nap and believes he's coaching in an actual Cyclone Nation? That's some true Wizard of Oz shit right there. Follow that yellow brick road all the way to 2-10.
Of course, there is one final theory that probably makes the most sense: Campbell is embarrassed at getting pulverized by the Hawkeyes last year, and in a self-made Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind sort of way, has excised all vocabulary about Iowa -- the state, not just the team that beat him by 39 points last season -- from his brain. That has left him with vague bromides about "Ames" and "Cyclone Nation" as placeholders for the language he no longer has. For as Wittgenstein said, "Whereof one cannot speak, one must be #CyclONEnation."
Maybe Campbell will snap out of it. Maybe he'll start using the name of his adopted home state again soon. Maybe he'll do it at, say, 2:18 this afternoon. Until then, we hope he enjoys mixing his Advocare in that pure, clean Ames tap water.
Wait, where is Ames again?
Oh yeah, right.