OSU football: Mike Gundy for Big 12 coach of the year
The Big 12 coach of the year will be announced this week, and some really sharp people think Bill Snyder is an automatic winner for the award. I have a long and distinguished history of building up Bill Snyder. I have called him the greatest coach in the history of the sport.
But he’s not the Big 12 coach of the year in 2011. Mike Gundy is.
What Snyder has done at K-State is amazing; 10-2, the No. 8 national ranking, a great Cotton Bowl showdown with Arkansas. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.
But in case you haven’t heard, the Oklahoma State Cowboys won the Big 12 championship. It was not a fluke. It was not winning a weak division, then catching lightning on a conference title game. The Cowboys clearly were the class of the league. They had just two close games all season. Won one, lost one. Otherwise dominated.
This at a school that had never won a conference championship, except for the Missouri Valley in the first half of the 20th century, when Valley football was more exhibition, without extensive conference play. Truth is, OSU’s Valley titles were mythical.
2011 is not mythical. The Cowboys won the Big 12, and reached their first major bowl since World War II, and contended for the national championship game, to the point where they were edged by Alabama in the closest 2-3 finish in BCS history.
That trumps Bill Snyder. Snyder’s Manhattan Miracle is the greatest college football story ever told, and his sequel is equally enchanting. And what Gundy has done this year, Snyder has done. Won the conference. Reached a major bowl. Contended for the national title. Snyder just didn’t do it in 2011. Gundy did.
If OU had won Bedlam, relegating the Cowboys to a 10-2 finish and (maybe) a Sugar Bowl appearance, or even a flop with the Sooners to send OU to New Orleans and OSU to the Fiesta, then fine. I’d vote for Snyder.
But OU didn’t win Bedlam. Gundy’s Cowboys kicked the snot out of the Sooners. Gundy’s Cowboys in 2011 did more than knock on the door of college football’s elite program. They kicked down the door and said we’ve arrived.
I don’t know how long OSU will stay. Maybe forever. Maybe not so long. I think the future is awfully bright in Stillwater. But forget the future. In the present, the OSU story is amazing. The Cowboys are kings in the Big 12. A lot of people contributed, from ballplayers to benefactors to administrators.
Put Mike Gundy at the top of the list. He is the Big 12 coach of the year.
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