Mike Gundy Wins Coach of the Year Trophy, Does He Deserve It over Nick Saban?

Will PuenteContributor IIIJanuary 21, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02:  Head coach Mike Gundy of the Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrates with the trophy after the Oklahoma State Cowboys won 41-38 in overtime against the Stanford Cardinal during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Here is a quote from Oklahoma State's coach Mike Gundy after winning the Paul "Bear" Bryant coach of the year trophy for 2011:

"It's been an unbelievable season, I don't know that Oklahoma State's ever been perceived the way we are now from coast to coast all through the country. I'm so proud of our team and the administration and coaches for getting to this level and continuing to work hard."

Now imagine Nick Saban saying this quote after a season like Oklahoma State's. Would he even be considered? Would the Crimson Tide fans agree with him getting a coach of the year trophy without winning a national championship?

This year Saban became the greatest coach in the BCS era by raising his third crystal trophy. On top of that, he's having one of the best recruiting years of his career with another No. 1 class recognized by websites like ESPN.com and Scout.com.

It seems that college football is beginning to grade Saban differently than the rest of the coaches in the industry today. His success has raised a standard, but only for himself to beat. The only other coach that is close to getting to his numbers would be Urban Meyer, who can reach a third BCS National Championship with a good Ohio State season.

But also remember that Saban wins these championships in the middle of the toughest division of the toughest conference. If being coach of the year means that it should go to the coach with the best results with smaller resources, then Gundy has an argument. But you also have the achievements of Kevin Sumlin and Chris Petersen, who have a lot fewer resources than Oklahoma State.

But we all know coach of the year is just that—the best coach all-around. What would Paul "Bear" Bryant say about who that should be this year? Let's just say LSU was 60 minutes away from being considered the greatest team in college football history, but a certain strategist stood in its way.

With all things stated, Saban did win the Bobby Bowden Coach of the Year Award. That legendary coach is alive and well to see what is going on. His opinion would have been heard against the voters, even with his well-known Birmingham bias.