Matt Campbell's arrival to Division I football coincided with mine. Same time, same place. It was 2007 at Bowling Green, a school Campbell refers to now only as the "team down south." He was a fiery offensive line coach, me a clueless scribe weeks removed from filling in circles on his last college final.
I'm still clueless, but Campbell never was. Everyone from his players at BG to his colleagues to his administration forecasted he would become a head coach someday. He was 27. Someday figured to be 10 or 15 years.
We meet again, our paths intersecting five years later at Toledo, where Campbell holds the distinction as the nation's youngest head coach.
(Prediction: 10-2 regular season. Losses to Cincinnati and Northern Illinois. A rash of injuries on either line and all bets are off.)
Campbell has the best job in the MAC. Photographs commemorating the program's formidable tradition adorn updated facilities that leave nothing to be desired. Plus, it helps not having to recruit to a cornfield. The right coach can experience yearly success. The objective, Campbell says, is to take UT from good to consistently great. He'll have unlikely support. Not even people with the team down south want to look clueless.