Morning. Going to put this up early because I have a lot to do before gametime. Heck, I still don’t know what beer I’ll be enjoying with the game. Just a lack of preparation on my part.
Here’s some alt-history to consider. After Pitt fired Foge Fazio as coach in 1985, the first place they looked was to Oklahoma St. head coach Pat Jones.
“I don’t know what would have happened,” [present OSU head coach Mike] Gundy said. “I liked Pat Jones. He was the reason why I came to Oklahoma State. If he takes the Pittsburgh job, he probably would have taken me up there with him.”
Rewind to November 1985, a few days after Gundy led Midwest City to the Class 5A state title:
Jones was OSU’s second-year head coach. Pittsburgh fired coach Foge Fazio. As OSU prepared for the Bedlam game (the infamous Ice Bowl), Jones was contacted by a Pitt representative about the Panthers’ job. At the time, the Cowboys were 8-2 and ranked 17th. Jones’ two-season record as the OSU head man was 18-4.
“I told the Pittsburgh people, ‘I don’t want to even think about it until after this OU ballgame,’ ” Jones recalls. “I did let them know that I would be interested and I did want to talk, but I didn’t want to talk yet. I told them to call Myron Roderick (then the OSU athletic director) because I didn’t want any under-the-table stuff going on.”
Jones admits to having been “intrigued” by the Pittsburgh possibility. Before moving to OSU with Jimmy Johnson in 1979, Jones had been a Jackie Sherrill assistant at Pittsburgh for one season.
After the Ice Bowl (a 13-0 Cowboy defeat), Jones met with the Pittsburgh athletic director in Dallas.
“My head was spinning,” Jones says. “ We were getting ready to play Florida State in Gator Bowl, we were recruiting and now we had this Pittsburgh thing. I was worn down. I was thinking, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ ”
OSU was having a run of coaching instability. Jimmy Johnson had came and went, and Jones was only in his 2d season. That prompted the OSU President to step in with a new contract for Jones and keep him in Stillwater.