Malzahn, Pinkel Finalists For Coaching Award

Auburn's turnaround season has Gus Malzahn under consideration for an award as the coach of the year in college football.

Auburn, Ala.--Gus Malzahn's second season as a college football head coach has been a truly impressive one so it is no surprise he is one of three finalists for the Maxwell Football Club's Collegiate Coach of the Year Award.

Malzahn and fellow finalist Gary Pinkel of Missouri will be matching wits on Saturday at the Georgia Dome in the SEC Championship Game. Both of their teams will come into the contest with 11-1 overall records and 7-1 marks in SEC play.

David Cutcliffe, who has led Duke to the first 10-win season in school history, is the other finalist. His Blue Devils will play No. 1 ranked FSU on Saturday in Charlotte at the ACC Championship Game.

The winner of the award will be announced on Dec. 19th and he will be honored at an awards dinner in March.

Gus Malzahn is shown during Auburn's 34-28 victory over Alabama, a game that earned the Tigers a spot in the SEC Championship Game.

Including last season at Arkansas State, Malzahn has an overall record of 20-4 and his Auburn Tigers are riding an eight-game winning streak as they make their fifth appearance in the SEC Championship Game. AU's last appearance in the contest was in 2010 as the Tigers defeated South Carolina on the way to winning the BCS title.

Auburn is ranked No. 3 in this week's BCS standings and is also No. 3 in the AP poll and USA Today Coaches poll behind FSU and Ohio State.

Inheriting a team that finished 3-9 last year with no SEC victories, Malzahn has orchestrated the biggest single-season turnaround in college football this season as well as the biggest season-to-season improvement in Auburn football history.

Gary Pinkel and Missouri are in there second season in the SEC after leaving the Big 12 Conference.

His Tigers will look to put another game in the victory column when they take on a Missouri team that is also having a major turnaround season after finishing 5-7 last year. The Tigers vs. Tigers matchup is set for 3 p.m. CDT on Saturday in Atlanta and will be the first meeting between the two teams since the 1973 Sun Bowl in El Paso, Tex.

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