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Tommy Birch and Randy Peterson recap the Cyclones’ win on a Saturday and successful October.
Cody Goodwin / The Register

AMES, Ia. — I can’t imagine there’s a better positive college football story going on after the eighth week of the season, this surprising roll Matt Campbell’s second Iowa State football team is on.

Two wins against Top 5 teams in the same calendar month — and that’s not been done anywhere since LSU did it in 2011…

An unbeaten and untied month of October for the first time since this school beat Luther, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Marquette in 1937…

And one of just 12 unbeatens nationally this month…

With a walk-on third-string quarterback who’s 4-0 as a starter…

Throwing to a bunch of receivers that comprise the best position group in the Big 12…

All of whom play on a team that’s tied for first place in the Big 12 Conference…

And one that has clinched its first trip to a bowl game since 2012.

Need more compelling storylines?

There’s Campbell, the 37-year-old mastermind whose 21st game as a Power Five coach is at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at West Virginia.

There’s Joel Lanning and Allen Lazard and all those loyal fans who stuck with the program when it was bad.

Go ahead, find me a better college football story than this team that beat then-No. 4 TCU 14-7 Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.

More: Our favorite reactions to Iowa State’s win over No. 4 TCU

Alabama?

Coach Nick Saban’s team isn’t ever supposed to lose — and it hasn’t.

Notre Dame?

The Irish are always supposed to be good.

Ohio State?

The Bucks lost against the same Oklahoma team that Iowa State beat in Norman.

Don’t over-think it: There are none right now.

“All you want to do is get your team to the month of November with a chance to be playing for something,” Campbell said. “That’s where we’re finally at.”

They’re there, all right.

After this program’s first 4-0 October in 80 years, the Cyclones are one of four teams sharing the Big 12 lead — along with TCU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

They’re ranked 16th in the Amway Coaches Poll, 14th by the Associated Press, and 14th on the weekly National Football Foundation-Football Writers Association of America Super 16.

They’ll fall somewhere between No. 10 and 15 (probably) when the first College Football Playoff poll — the poll that really counts — comes out Tuesday.

“We knew from the first practice of the season that we could hang with anyone in the country,” star receiver Lazard said.

Ending the dreams of finishing the season unbeaten for Oklahoma and TCU proves that that statement wasn’t pre-season player-speak — it’s become reality. And that’s another reason this Iowa State story would make a neat College GameDay for ESPN someday.

Just saying…

“Best month of my life,” tailback David Montgomery said of the Cyclones’ fabulous past four weeks. “We’ve got to flip the calendar and perform at a higher level to accomplish our goals.”

After this 6-2 team plays at 5-3 West Virginia on Saturday, its back home to take on Oklahoma State — and maybe make that ESPN GameDay appearance. Then the team travels to Baylor and Kansas State to finish out the season.

And a Big 12 title?

It’s out there bigger than ever now — 22 months and 20 games after Campbell inherited a program that won two, zip, two, three, three, three, three, zip, two and one conference games during the 10 seasons before he took the job.

More: Iowa State defense delivers another big dagger in win over No. 4 TCU

“We’ve got to stay focused more than ever now,” Lazard said. “We’ve done great things. We’ve still got things to do.”

Like winning a fifth consecutive conference game for the first time in modern program history.

And then there’s this:

Before Campbell pumped life into the program, Iowa State had beaten just one Associated Press top five team — second-ranked Oklahoma State on that famous Friday night in 2011.

Suddenly, the number’s three.

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Iowa State fans storm the field at Jack Trice Stadium after the Cyclones beat TCU on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in Ames.
Kelsey Kremer / The Register

“Sometimes when you come up the rough side of the mountain, it allows you to learn really valuable lessons,” Campbell said. “When you fall in love with the process, the process will love you back.

“That’s what’s starting to happen with some of these guys.”

It’s only starting to happen. His work is far from complete.

“Honestly, we’re not done here,” Lanning said. “We have other games that we’re going to go and try to win.

“We want to win championships here and change this program.”

And that would be the most captivating Iowa State football story of them all.

Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been with the Register for parts of five decades. Randy writes opinion and analysis of Iowa State football and basketball. You can reach Randy at rpeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter at @RandyPete.

More from Peterson: A bowl game? Sure. But why stop there?

  • Iowa State fans storm Jack Trice after the Cyclones beat No. 4 TCU
  • Matt Campbell talks about Iowa State’s successful October
  • Iowa State coach Matt Campbell talks about what’s coming in November
  • Rapid Reaction: Iowa State 14, No. 4 TCU 7
  • ‘This is happening because of player ownership’
  • ‘Attitude, effort and discipline still matter’
  • Joel Lanning talks about ISU's most important win since 2005
  • Matt Campbell discusses his defense’s performance against TCU
  • Iowa State’s defense continuing to grow
  • Marcel Spears Jr. on his big pick in the Cyclones' win over No. 4 TCU
  • Iowa State Knocks Off No. 4 TCU in Ames