Mike Gundy flirted with two SEC openings after last season. Officials from both Tennessee and Arkansas talked with Gundy.
Was Gundy serious about either job, or was he trying to leverage the threat into concessions from OSU?
Gundy now downplays the discussions with Tennessee and Arkansas.
“I'm very happy in Stillwater,” Gundy said. “To a certain extent, at times … I wish that my name wouldn't have come up or I wish that it wouldn't have been as much smoke or fire. At times I'm to blame for that.
“But I'm very happy, always been very happy in Stillwater. And the honest answer is is that from day one when we took this over, our coaching staff going into nine years now, we felt like the most important thing that we could do for the players on our team is make a commitment to them, if they would buy in, that we would have a chance to have success.
“For me personally, I have to feel comfortable knowing there's a commitment to the young men on our team to give them the best opportunity for success in the classroom and on the football field, and if there's not, then it's hard for me to sell.
“So at times, whether we all like to admit it or not, there's a business aspect to this profession, probably more so than we would like to think. But I have to feel comfortable myself personally -- and I don't use ‘I' myself very often when we talk about Oklahoma State football -- that there's a commitment in all different areas for our young men to have success.”
Gundy's primary complaint has been scheduling. OSU opens the 2013 season with Mississippi State and the 2014 season with Florida State. He would prefer a non-conference slate of automatic victories.
But Gundy also must admit that OSU has given him, and thus his players, the tools to win, including state-of-the-art facilities and a big budget for coaching salaries.
Truth is, OSU affords a better chance to win big than does Tennessee or Arkansas, who have slipped down the food chain in the rugged SEC. The Cowboys came within a whisker of reaching the national title game when they won the Big 12 in 2011 and now are picked to win the league in 2013.
Tennessee has not won an SEC football since 1998; Arkansas still seeks its first SEC football title. Tennessee is picked to finish fifth in the seven-team SEC East Division. Arkansas is picked last in the seven-team SEC West.