With Missouri now in the SEC, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has watched the Tigers' 2013 surprise season from afar.
Still, he's been impressed with Mizzou's 11-2 record and SEC East title, calling it “one of the best stories for turnaround seasons.” So while filling out a ballot for one of the national coach of the year awards, Gundy's pick went to Missouri coach Gary Pinkel.
“Coach Pinkel has been there a long time and built a steady program,” Gundy said “ … I thought he was very deserving of the award.”
Missouri, like OSU, was one game away from playing in a BCS Bowl — the national title game, actually — before losing to Auburn 59-42 in the SEC championship game. That came after the Tigers finished 5-7 a year ago, with just two wins in the SEC.
OPPONENT WATCH: MISSOURI'S SAM EARNS HONOR
OSU ranks as the Big 12's best in protecting the quarterback, allowing just 10 sacks in 12 games.
The Cowboys' Cotton Bowl matchup with Missouri could present a challenge.
Tigers senior Michael Sam has 10 1/2 sacks on his own.
Sam, who leads the SEC in sacks and tackles for losses (18), was named the conference's Co-Defensive Player of the Year in a vote of the league's coaches. He shares the honor with Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.
As a team, the Tigers have 38 sacks on the season for 217 yards in losses. Their 2.92 sacks per game average ranks 13th nationally.
MEACHAM NAMED O-COORDINATOR AT TCU
Former Cowboys assistant coach Doug Meacham was officially hired as TCU's offensive coordinator Thursday, following one season in the same position at Houston.
Meacham, who also played at OSU, left Stillwater for Houston in early 2012 following eight seasons as the Cowboys' tight ends and inside receivers coach.
“Our goal is to remain a physical football team,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said in a release. “Coach Meacham was part of an Oklahoma State system that was highly successful throwing the football, and he continued that in his one year at Houston. I'm real excited about the kind of person Coach Meacham is and how well he fits our staff. We haven't talked to anybody who doesn't think the world of him as a person and coach.”
CHEERLEADER REMAINS IN THE NEWS
It's been a long week for OSU cheerleader Jarid Atkinson.
First, he was caught on tape extending a leg — as if to trip Oklahoma's Eric Striker — in the back of the end zone at the end of the Bedlam loss.
Then he was reprimanded by both the school and the Big 12, ultimately leading him to release a public apology.
Well, Wednesday night, Atkinson received airtime on Keith Olbermann's late-night ESPN2 show, during a segment titled “World's Worst Person in Sports.”
And it gets worse.
The segment features three categories — “worse,” “worser” and “worst.” Atkinson rated as worst.