CONFERENCE PLAY BEGINS IN EARNEST
Much like jumping into the cold tub head-first, the Missouri Tigers (2-1 overall) won't be easing their way into the Big 12 Conference portion of their schedule in 2011. Instead, they get a chance to take on the #1-ranked team in the nation, in the Oklahoma Sooners (2-0), in the league opener for both schools. The game in Norman, Okla. is set for a 7 p.m. (central) kickoff, and will be televised live on the F/X Network.
Mizzou has won 2 of 3 to open the year and is coming off a record-setting 69-0 win over Western Illinois of the Football Championship Subdivision. The Tigers set numerous records in the win, including posting a massive 744 yards of total offense, while allowing only 44 yards all night to the Leathernecks.
The Tigers began the season ranked 21st in both polls, and got things started with a workmanlike 17-9 win at home over Miami (Ohio) as its new-look offense got its feet wet while the veteran defense led the way. The next week saw the roles reversed, as the Tigers posted 501 yards of offense at #23 Arizona State, but it wasn't enough as the Sun Devils staved off a late MU rally and claimed a 37-30 overtime win in Tempe to knock Mizzou off.
Oklahoma has played just two games thus far, as they opened with a 47-14 home win over Tulsa, and after a bye week, followed with an impressive 23-13 win last Saturday night at #5 Florida State. Oklahoma held a 13-3 halftime lead in Tallahassee, but the Seminoles forged a tie midway through the 4th quarter on a 56-yard TD pass. Undaunted, OU responded with an clutch 83-yard TD drive to regain the lead, and sealed it with an interception and field goal with 2:01 to play.
The Sooners have won 37 straight games at Gaylor Family-Memorial Stadium, and are an eye-popping 72-2 at home under Coach Bob Stoops.
STADIUM: Gaylord Family/Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (82,112 - Natural Grass). Opened in 1923). OU has won 37 straight and is 72-2 there under Bob Stoops.
RADIO: Tiger Network. Mike Kelly (play-by-play), Howard Richards (color), Chris Gervino (sidelines), Scotty Cox (producer), Matt Winegardner (director). Carried on over 50 stations across the Midwest, and on the Internet at mutigers.tv.
TV: F/X. Gus Johnson (Play-by-Play), Charles Davis (Color Analysis) and Tim Brewster (Sideline Reporter) are on the call.
RANKINGS (AP / Coaches): MU - RV / RV. OU - 1st / 1st.
SERIES: OU leads, 66-24-5. Mizzou broke a 7-game losing streak to OU with a 36-27 win in Columbia in 2010. OU has not lost to MU in Norman since 1966 (won 17 straight).
COACHES: MU:Gary Pinkel (Kent, `75), 79-50 at MU (11th year) and 152-87-3 overall (21st year). Pinkel is 1-6 vs. Oklahoma and Bob Stoops. OU: Bob Stoops (Iowa, `83), 131-31 at OU (13th year) and overall. Stoops is 7-1 vs. Mizzou and 6-1 vs. Gary Pinkel.
TIGERS SHATTER RECORDS IN 69-0 WIN OVER WESTERN ILLINOIS
Smarting from a heart-breaking 37-30 overtime defeat at Arizona State the previous week, the Missouri Tigers took out their frustrations on Western Illinois of the Football Championship Subdivision last Saturday in Columbia, Mo. Mizzou scored touchdowns on 6-of-8 first half possessions, led 42-0 at halftime, and cruised to a 69-0 whitewashing which was the largest margin of victory in school history.
The Tigers amassed a school-record 744 yards of total offense (almost 100 yards more than the previous mark of 665 vs. Kansas in 1949), and held WIU to just 44 yards of offense (the 3rd-lowest single-game output by an opponent in MU history). The 69-point outburst also tied the MU single-game scoring record, accomplished twice previously (1969 vs. Kansas and 2008 vs. Nevada).
Mizzou's output broke down to 428 yards rushing and 316 yards passing. The rushing total was the 8th-highest single-game total in MU history, and was the most since getting 469 yards on the ground in 2003 vs. Texas Tech.
It was over quick, as the Tigers sped to a 21-0 lead on their first three drives, thanks to a 37-yard TD pass from QB James Franklin to WR Wes Kemp, followed by TD runs of 6 yards and 21 yards by Josey. After two more Franklin TD passes in the 2nd quarter (30 yards to T.J. Moe and 10 yards to Kemp), Josey broke off a 68-yard TD scamper to give MU a record 42 points just before halftime.
Josey, the only tailback remaining healthy among the top four who started training camp, took over primary rock-toting duties, and made quite a splash as he turned in the single-highest rushing total in the NCAA this season. Josey went for 263 yards and 3 TDs on just 14 first-half carries (an average of 18.8 yards per carry), and he was given the second half off. His one-half total was the 4th-highest single game rushing total in Mizzou history, and was only 56 behind the single-game record of 319 yards by All-American Devin West against Kansas in 1998.
Mizzou's offense turned in 10 plays of 20 yards or more from scrimmage vs. Western Illinois, giving them 18 plays of 20 yards or more in the last two games, after the Tigers were held to just one play of 20 yards in the opener against Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 3rd.
DEFENSE RESPONDS WITH SHUTDOWN PERFORMANCE VS. WIU
After a rough outing at Arizona State one week prior where the Sun Devils scored 37 points and totaled 492 yards of offense, the Tiger defense - which led the Big 12 Conference and ranked 6th in the NCAA in 2010 in points allowed (15.17 ppg) - returned to its previous form as it pitched a shutout Saturday night against Western Illinois.
Mizzou's defense was just as dominant as their offensive teammates, holding the Leathernecks to just 44 yards of total offense and only 1 first down on the night overall (via a rush in the second quarter). Western Illinois' 16 possessions went like this: 12 ended in three-and-out punts (with five of those drives netting negative yardage); 1 ended in a five-play and punt; 1 ended on the first play with a Tiger interception; 2 ended in 2 plays to end both the second quarter and fourth quarter.
The Tiger defense allowed just 24 yards rushing (on 31 attempts, for an average of 0.8 yards per attempt) and 20 yards passing (on 4-of-15 with 1 interception). The 20 yards allowed passing was the lowest by an MU opponent since Iowa State passed for just 6 yards in 1991 (somehow ISU won that game in Columbia, 23-22, with a QB who wore gloves in the game).
The longest rush allowed by Mizzou Saturday was a 9-yarder. Through 3 games, Mizzou's rush defense has been very consistent, and ranks 11th nationally allowing just 68.00 yards per game to opponents. The longest rush this year against MU is just 12 yards. Opponents are averaging just 2.1 yards per attempt on the ground to this point.
2,463 (205.3 - 17th)
2,694 (224.5 - 53rd)
5,157 (429.8 - 24th)
1,943 (149.5 - 46th)
3,590 (276.2 - 10th)
5,533 (425.7 - 8th)
2,467 (176.2 - 38th)
4,397 (314.1 - 9th)
6,864 (490.3 - 5th)
2,153 (153.8 - 52nd)
4,625 (330.4 - 4th)
6,778 (484.2 - 8th)
1,651 (127.0 - 85th)
3,711 (285.5 - 14th)
5,362 (412.5 - 32nd)
2,033 (162.9 - 48th)
3,292 (238.2 - 43rd)
5,325 (401.1 - 45th)
772 (257.3 - 10th)
764 (254.6 - 42nd)
1,536 (512.0 - 12th)
TIGER OFFENSE AS BALANCED AS THEY COME
Since going to the spread offensive attack prior to the 2005 season, the Tigers have built a reputation for having one of the more potent passing games in the country. Through 3 games in 2011 however, it would be difficult to find a more balanced offense through than Mizzou's, as the Tigers have totaled 772 yards rushing and 764 yards passing.
Mizzou's scores have been similarly balanced, with 7 passing TDs to go with 6 rushing TDs thus far.
At right is a look at the yardage total for Mizzou each season since going to the spread (w/per game average and NCAA ranking in parentheses):
JOSEY NETS NCAA SEASON-HIGH 263 YARDS; WINS BIG 12 AWARD
Sophomore TB Henry Josey entered the pre-season listed third on the tailback depth chart after a solid true freshman season in 2010, when he was 2nd on the team with 437 yards rushing and 5 TDs. Three weeks into the season, Josey now is the lone tailback of the top four who's still available, as senior De'Vion Moore (ankle sprain vs. Arizona State), junior Kendial Lawrence (cracked fibula in practice before ASU game) and sophomore Marcus Murphy (shoulder sprain just before camp started) are all on the DL.
Thrust into the starting role for the first time this season against Western Illinois (he started one time in relief in 2010), Josey looked to make the most of his new-found opportunity. And did he ever do just that.
In a performance for the record books, Josey played only one half before retiring for the night, but not before he blistered Western Illinois for 263 rushing yards and 3 TDs (6, 21, 68) on just 14 carries - good for a rather salty per-carry average of 18.8 yards. His 68-yard scoring burst just before halftime ended up being the last carry of the night, as the Tigers led 42-0 and Tiger Coach Gary Pinkel called off the dogs. It was the 4th-highest single-game rushing total in MU history, and on Monday, Josey was named the Big 12 co-Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts. He became the first MU tailback since Devin West in 1998 to win the league's weekly award.
Moreover, Josey's yardage is the highest single-game output in the NCAA through games of Sept. 17th, and his big game propelled him to #1 in the Big 12 and #6 nationally in rushing, with a per-game average of 133.33. Additionally, his per-rush average of 13.8 yards is tops in the nation among those with 15 or more carries on the year.
The top rushing performances through Sept. 17th are:
Henry Josey, Missouri vs. Western Illinois (14-263, 3 TDs, 18.79 avg.)
Marcus Lattimore, S. Carolina vs. Navy (37-246, 3 TDs, 6.65 avg.)
Malcolm Agnew, Oregon St. vs. Sacramento St. (33-223, 3 TDs, 6.76 avg.)
LaMichael James, Oregon vs. Missouri St. (12-204, 3 TDs, 17.00 avg.)
Ray Graham, Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo (29-201, 3 TDs, 6.93 avg.)
MORE INDIVIDUAL NOTEABLES FROM WESTERN ILLINOIS WIN
Henry Josey wasn't the only standout Saturday evening, of course. Here were some random notes culled from the festivities:
Junior DE Brad Madison, playing just over two quarters, was a constant disruptive force who helped key Mizzou's dominance on defense, in the Tigers' 69-0 win. Madison, who was pulled early in the 3rd quarter, was credited with 4 tackles, a forced fumble and a QB hurry. Three of his tackles went for loss, including a QB sack. Madison leads the Tigers in both TFLs (5.0-21) and QB sacks (3.0-14) through three games, and he ranks 2nd in the Big 12 (11th in the NCAA) with his per-game sacks average of 1.00, and he also ranks 3rd in the Big 12 and 25th nationally with his per-game TFL average of 1.67. Through 3 games, Madison has 8 total tackles, and 5 of them have been for loss, including his 3 QB sacks. He led Mizzou as a sophomore in 2010 with 11.0 TFLs and 7.5 QB sacks...
Sophomore CB E.J. Gaines returned his only punt return of the night 44 yards for a 4th-quarter touchdown to put the final stamp on Mizzou's 69-0 win over Western Illinois. It marked only the 2nd return of Gaines' career, and it was the first MU punt return for a score since Jeremy Maclin took one back 75 yards in the 2008 Alamo Bowl against Northwestern. Gaines was also credited with 3 tackles on the night...
Sophomore QB James Franklin continued his stellar play, as he threw for 246 yards and 3 TDs with no interceptions, on 18-of-25 passing in 2 ½ quarters of play. His single-game passer rating of 194.26 was a season best and he now ranks 6th in the Big 12 and 40th nationally with a season passer rating of 147.42. In his last 2 starts, Franklin is a combined 44-of-67 passing for 565 yards, 5 TDs and no interceptions - good for a QB rating of 161.13. Franklin enters Saturday's game at Oklahoma ranked 5th in the Big 12 and 24th nationally in total offense, averaging 283.67 yards per game...
Twelve different Tigers caught passes Saturday night, with T.J. Moe having the most, with 4 receptions for 68 yards and his first TD of the season (30-yarder in the 2nd quarter). Redshirt freshman WR Jimmie Hunt caught his first career pass in the 4th quarter, and that went 54 yards for a TD from QB Jimmy Costello, marking Costello's first career TD pass...
With three of Mizzou's top four tailbacks on the shelf due to injuries (Sr. De'Vion Moore [ankle], Jr. Kendial Lawrence [leg] and Soph. Marcus Murphy [shoulder]), Mizzou turned to newcomers to the scene after Henry Josey, and junior walk-on Jared Culver and redshirt freshman Greg White both produced nice nights. Culver (who had 1 carry for 2 yards before this season), ran 11 times and netted 86 yards and his first career TD, on an 8-yard score in the 3rd quarter. That score was set up by his own 60-yard run on the first play of the 3rd quarter. White got his first career carry in the game Saturday, and he ended with 10 carries in all for 36 yards, including a long of 17 yards...
Sophomore LB Andrew Wilson led Mizzou with 8 tackles against Western Illinois, and he now leads the team with 21 tackles through 3 games, including 3.0 TFLs...
Due to Mizzou's prolific offensive output, junior P Trey Barrow was called into action just once Saturday night. He punted for 37 yards, but it was downed at the WIU 9-yardline, giving him his 5th punt downed inside the 10-yardline this season. Through 3 games, Barrow leads the Big 12 and ranks 5th in the NCAA with a punting average of 48.50...
Some random musings that might have everything or nothing to do with the overall state of Tiger football. We still think they're pretty interesting to note (most of these have been gleaned from the outstanding website www.cfbstats.com, we recommend it highly):
TB Henry Josey's 6 runs of 20 yards or more is tied for most in the nation through Sept. 17th, along with Ronnie Hillman of San Diego State, Taylor Martinez of Nebraska, John White IV of Utah and Eddie Lacy of Alabama. With 29 attempts on the year, that means Josey is going for 20 yards or more once every five carries...
Josey has 339 of his 400 yards in the 1st half, which is the most 1st-half rushing yardage in the nation through Sept. 17th. Next-most in the 1st half is Bernard Pierce of Temple, who has 309 yards...
QB James Franklin has just 1 TD pass in the 1st quarter, but he's still been very effective in the opening 15 minutes, as his 1st-quarter passer rating of 190.29 is the best of any quarter (16-of-18 for 178 yds., 1 TD, no INTs), and that number ranks 12th-best in the nation for 1st-quarter passer rating. He's also been equally good in the 4th quarter so far, as his QB rating in the 4th quarter is 187.43 (9-of-16, 132 yds., 3 TDs, no INTs)...
SERIES HISTORY (OU Leads, 66-24-5)
Last 10 Games
at San Antonio
at Kansas City
at Norman: OU leads, 32-8-5
as part of Big 12 Conf.: OU leads, 7-2
MIZZOU, OKLAHOMA SERIES HISTORY
The series history between Mizzou and Oklahoma has been decidedly in favor of the Sooners over the years, but that really shouldn't come as a surprise, given that the Sooners are one of the more successful programs of all time.
The Sooners hold a 66-24-5 lead in the previous 95 matchups, but the Tigers had a monumental win in their last meeting, when Mizzou claimed a 36-27 upset win in Columbia, Mo. on Homecoming, to break a 7-game losing streak to Oklahoma.
Prior to last year's Tiger win, the two previous meetings between MU and OU came in the Big 12 Championship Game, with a BCS bowl bid on the line. The Sooners prevailed both times, dashing MU's hopes for a first-ever BCS berth.
The 2007 Big 12 title game defeat was especially painful for Tiger faithful, as it came with Mizzou ranked #1 in every poll, and had MU won the game, it would have played in the ensuing BCS National Championship Game. The teams were tied in San Antonio at halftime, 14-14, and MU drove near the OU 30-yardline to start the 3rd-quarter and appeared poised to take control, before a sack of QB Chase Daniel pushed the Tigers out of field goal position. A long Sooner gain led to an OU touchdown and a 7-point lead, and that quickly grew to 14 points on MU's ensuing possession when a deflected pass was intercepted and ran back inside the MU 5-yardline. That would be all OU would need in its 38-17 win, but the Tigers would recover to throttle 25th-ranked Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl (38-7), and go on to finish 12-2 and ranked 4th in the final polls.
Oklahoma has won 18 of the last 20 games in the series, and if you take it back to 1970, they've won 31 of the last 35 meetings. Since 1946, the series stands in OU's favor by a whopping 50-8-1 margin - that's when the separation really began between the two programs, as in 1945, a Mizzou 14-6 win over OU evened the series at 16-16-1 at the time.
4TH-QUARTER HAS DECIDED LAST TWO MU-OU REGULAR-SEASON MEETINGS
The last two times that Mizzou and Oklahoma have met in the regular season have had familiar settings and similar results - one going in favor of both teams.
Last year in Columbia, Oklahoma held a 1-point lead going into the 4th quarter (21-20). But the Sooners were forced to punt to begin the quarter, and Mizzou drove for a TD to take the lead on a Blaine Gabbert-to-Jerrell Jackson 38-yard TD pass. Mizzou LB Zaviar Gooden intercepted Landry Jones on his very next snap and the Tigers got a field goal, and after another punt, punched in a 3-yard TD run by QB James Franklin to pull away for the 36-27 win. Mizzou held a massive time of possession edge in the 4th quarter over Oklahoma, 12:52-to-2:08.
That had an eerily similar feel to the previous regular-season meeting, although the outcome was flip-flopped. In 2007 in Norman, Mizzou (ranked 11th coming in) held a 1-point lead (24-23) over 5th-ranked OU early in the 4th quarter and looked to be on the verge of getting its first win in Norman since 1966. But the Sooners took a 29-24 lead with 12:26 left just two plays after MU safety Pig Brown lost a would-be interception in the lights in the Tiger endzone to keep the drive alive. Then disaster struck for MU as a botched handoff between QB Chase Daniel and WR Jeremy Maclin was recovered by OU's Curtis Lofton and return 12 yards for a touchdown for a 35-24 lead. The Sooners would later intercept Daniel on the MU 24-yardline, and punch it in for a game-clinching score.
LAST YEAR REWIND: MIZZOU 36, OKLAHOMA 27
Here's a recap from Mizzou's 2010 game against Oklahoma: COLUMBIA, Mo. - Missouri made a statement that it has intentions of being a player in the national title race, and did it with flair as it posted a 36-27 upset of the Oklahoma Sooners, the #1 team in the BCS standings. The Sooners' hold on the top spot in the BCS will end, thanks to a ferocious effort on both sides of the ball by Mizzou, as well as on special teams. Jerrell Jackson spun free from a knot of tacklers on a 38-yard reception for the go-ahead score that sparked a 16-point fourth quarter over the third-ranked Sooners and put a sellout crowd of 71,004 in a celebratory mood.
Mizzou's improved defense forced Oklahoma (6-1, 2-1 Big 12) into three turnovers, out of character considering OU had only five giveaways the first six games. Two of the turnovers led to 10 points and the other squelched a drive deep in Missouri territory.
An 86-yard touchdown return Gahn McGaffie on the opening kickoff put the Tigers (7-0, 3-0) on their way to ending a seven-game losing streak in a lopsided series dating to 1998. They beat the Sooners for only the second time in the last 21 meetings.
Missouri is 7-0 for the first time since 1960 when the school ended 11-0 and finished No. 5 after beating Navy in the Orange Bowl. This one was especially satisfying, coming against a school that beaten them the last three meetings, including ending the Tigers' one-week stay at No. 1 with a 38-17 victory in the 2007 Big 12 championship game and hammering them again 62-21 in the 2008 conference title game.
Jackson had nine catches for 139 yards, both season bests. He totaled 18 catches the first six games, playing the pre-conference schedule wearing a cast from a broken left wrist.
Landry Jones threw three touchdown passes but was intercepted twice for Oklahoma. Aldon Smith returned one 58 yards to set up a touchdown in the first quarter and Zaviar Gooden's pick in the fourth quarter led to a field goal.
Jackson's touchdown gave Missouri a 26-21 lead with 12:43 to go. Gabbert was lined up as a wide receiver on backup James Franklin's 3-yard scoring run with 6:36 left.
Trey Millard's 3-yard run cut the gap to nine for Oklahoma only 30 seconds later after Mossis Madu's 77-yard kickoff return, but the conversion pass fell incomplete and a subsequent onside kick failed when a Sooners player touched the ball before it went 10 yards.
The Oklahoma giveaways helped Missouri take a 17-14 lead, the first time the Sooners trailed at the end of a quarter all season. Grant Ressel kicked a 36-yard field goal on the final play of the half after the Tigers called timeout with one second to go after a short gain.
Missouri twice led by a touchdown earlier in the game, opening with a bang on McGaffie's kickoff return TD and capitalizing on Smith's 58-yard interception return that led to De'Vion Moore's 1-yard run early in the second quarter.
James Winchester recovered Carl Gettis' fumble on a punt, giving Oklahoma a second chance after going 3-and-out on its opening possession. Kenny Stills was wide open on a 27-yard touchdown pass to cap a four-play, 45-yard drive.
DeMarco Murray, scored on a 4-yard swing pass to cap a 14-play, 89-yard drive that tied it at 14 late in the second.
With OU leading 21-20 at the start of the 4th quarter, MU asserted control and outgained the Sooners by a 192-to-16 margin in total offense. Mizzou's defense held OU to 0-of-7 passing in the quarter, with the one interception, and the Tigers possessed the ball for 13:15 to just 1:45 for Oklahoma in the period.
4TH QUARTER COMPARISON - 2010
Time of Possession
DOMINANT 4TH-QUARTER LED TO TIGER WIN OVER OU
In its thrilling 36-27 win over Oklahoma last season, Mizzou was solid all night long against the BCS #1-ranked Sooners, but the Tigers were most impressive down the stretch, as they turned a 21-20 deficit entering the 4th quarter into a 36-21 lead to pull away for the win. The 16 unanswered points consisted of a Blaine Gabbert 38-yard TD pass to WR Jerrell Jackson early in the quarter to give MU the lead for good, (the two-point try failed following the score), followed by a 23-yard field goal by PK Grant Ressel (his 3rd of the night) and a 3-yard TD run by freshman QB James Franklin.
Only a long kickoff return which set up a short TD drive late in the game kept the Sooners from being shut out in the final period.
The Tiger defense was excellent in the entire second half, not solely the 4th quarter. OU racked up 301 total yards in the first half, but the Sooners were limited to just 101 total yards in the final 30 minutes. Landry Jones was limited to just 60 yards passing in the second half after throwing for 248 in the first. In the decisive 4th quarter, MU's defense held Jones to 0-of-7 passing with 1 interception.
PINKEL THIRD ON MU WINS LIST
Mizzou Head Coach Gary Pinkel is in his 11th season at MU (21st overall as a head coach) and touts a career record of 152-87-3 (63.4%).
Pinkel, who has led MU to a combined record of 57-25 (69.5%) over the past 6 seasons, and to bowl games in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, has a 10-year record in Columbia of 79-50 (61.2%). Dating back to the 2005 Independence Bowl win over Steve Spurrier and South Carolina, Pinkel has gone 51-20 in his last 71 games overall (71.8%). MU's win in the 2008 opener against Illinois gave Pinkel his 50th MU win, and he now ranks 3rd on the coaching wins list at MU, with 79. The win over Kansas in 2010 was the 150th of his career.
Pinkel is in a select group of Mizzou coaches that includes College Football Hall of Famers Don Faurot and Dan Devine, as well as Warren Powers, to be the only coaches to have an MU record of above .500 (with at least one full season coached) dating all the way back to 1935.
In 2007, Pinkel guided the Tigers from unranked in the pre-season to a team which won a school-record 12 games and a final ranking of #4 in the Associated Press Top-25. Mizzou ascended to #1 in the BCS rankings following the regular season, and stood just one half away from playing in the BCS National Championship Game (before Oklahoma pulled away from a halftime tie to win the Big 12 title game). For his efforts in 2007, Pinkel was a finalist for several national coach of the year awards, including the Robinson, Bryant and Munger awards. He was also named the National Coach of the Year by FieldTurf in 2007.
Mizzou's bowl appearance in 2010 meant that Pinkel has led MU to 7 bowl games overall, and that is the most bowl games by any MU coach.
Pinkel has directed Mizzou to 7 winning seasons (8-5 in 2003, 7-5 in 2005, 8-5 in 2006, 12-2 in 2007, 10-4 in 2008, 8-5 in 2009 and 10-3 in 2010), with those representing 7 of MU's 9 winning campaigns dating back to the 1983 season.
The Big 12 North Division titles won by Mizzou in 2007, 2008 and 2010 represent the only football conference titles of any kind Mizzou has won since 1969 - the last time it claimed a share of the old Big Eight Conference crown. In April of 2011, Pinkel agreed to a two-year contract extension, meaning he'll patrol the Tiger sidelines through the 2017 season.