Meeting of the Minds: Bobby Petrino’s comeback

Bobby Petrino
I took my mistress for a ride on my hog and all I got was this lousy neck brace.

Bobby Petrino went on ESPN last week for an interview in which the disgraced ex-Arkansas coach vowed that he had seen the light after a sex scandal forced him out of Fayetteville. Believe him or not, Petrino was clearly stumping to get back into coaching sooner than later.

What's next for Petrino? Will there be an FBS-level school that's willing to take him on as head coach next year? How quickly could he move back up to a gig in a top-tier conference, if ever?

Andrew Coppens: If I was an AD anywhere and Petrino's resume came across my desk it would go into the proper filing area, also known as the recycling bin.

Why? The guy has done more damage than good his entire career as a head coach. Sure he made Louisville back into a good program, but he bolted for the first chance at the NFL despite assertions to his players otherwise. He left that team high and dry mid-way through season one and landed at Arkansas and the rest is history at this point.

The old saying "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" keeps coming to mind.

Yes, I believe in second chances and the ability to change, but you can't honestly expect that to happen in a few short months. He's still clearly driven by his ego more than his want to do good if you bothered to really pay attention to his interview.

To be sure there are literally hundreds of jerks and a-holes in college football coaching and Petrino isn't alone, but if you're asking me to take a leap of faith in a guy that's about to lead a group of young adults after what has just happened you're out of your mind.

There is just no way in hell I'd allow him around my program, not anytime in the next three years at least. Not if I were an FCS, D2, D3, or NAIA program either.

Prove to me you've changed because you want to not because you want something and then maybe we can talk.

Allen Kenney: I heard some of the talk yesterday that Petrino could surface at a place like Kentucky in 2013 if Joker Phillips has the kind of season that is being predicted for the Wildcats. I don't buy it.

I honestly think Petrino is as good of an offensive mind as you will find in football on any level. I'd put him among the top three or five college head coaches in – or, in this case, maybe it would be better to say "around" – the game today. It's easy to understand why a rabid fan would want to roll the dice on him.

Yet, I can't imagine many administrators would see it the same way. Fact is, Petrino got caught with his hand in the cookie jar at Arkansas and still kept lying about it to his superiors. If it was just him having an affair, that would be one thing. But this went beyond Petrino's private life and implicated the school. The stuff about interviewing for Tommy Tuberville's job on the sly or walking out on the Falcons pales in comparison for anyone considering hiring him.

I could see a school on a lower level such as the Sun Belt or Conference USA taking a chance on him come January. It will be a good while, if ever, before he's back in a conference like the SEC, though.

Kevin McGuire: I will preface this by saying I have not yet seen this segment, but going off of what I have been told I would agree that it is nothing more than a pr stunt to get back in to the big college ranks at an accelerated rate. I have no issue with that of course, although I do not necessarily know if it was needed.

The question asks if there will be an FBS school out there willing to take him on their staff, and I say absolutely there is. When it comes to football his mind is among the best available. I would guess that at some point he will sign on somewhere as an offensive coordinator at a relatively decent sized program as he rebuilds his image. He will work there for a year before taking a job at a school as a head coach, probably within a conference like Conference USA or Mountain West Conference. Beyond that, I am not so sure we see Petrino taking over a big name program any time too soon, but if he is successful and presents an image of a changed man then we will absolutely include his name in every hot rumor out there.

Of course, the question will linger whether or not he really is a changed man.

Aaron Torres: First off, Kevin, you are right. While I wrote right here at CBR that it's unfair for us to be moral arbiters, it is hard for me to feel much sympathy for Petrino. In the interview, he never really answered any question directly and left us with just as many questions as we had when we started. I feel bad for his wife and his kids, but have little sympathy for him.

Now, with all that said, I agree with Allen: If he wants to coach in 2013, Bobby Petrino will coach. Given that Allen made most of my points for me, I won't expand much here. But I agree with the sentiment that he is one of the five best minds "around" college football right now, a guy who took Arkansas from non-bowl eligible to 11 wins in four years. Frankly, I think he was in line for another 11-win season as well if he hadn't ridden into the sunset (and then a ditch) with Jessica Dorrell.

While we're here, I find it hard to believe that any AD who is seriously considering Petrino would have THAT much more trepidation in hiring him now than when Jeff Long took him aboard four years ago. Look, at this point, you know what you're going to get with Petrino: He's not a very good or trustworthy person and certainly not the kind of guy who you want to invite to a family barbeque (or apparently, bring around your 25-year-old daughter). You need to watch him, monitor him and put a massive buyout in his contract.

At the same time, he does win ball games, lots of them, and not in the most ideal of conditions either. I would argue that in the SEC West he competed in, Arkansas was maybe the fourth best job (behind Alabama, Auburn and LSU) just in the division alone. That makes it all the more incredible that he won 21 games over the last two years.

In the end, someone will hire him, for the same reasons that Arkansas did a few years ago: You worry about the problems later and the wins now. He will get you wins, even if he'll give you headaches in the process. At a place like Florida, Alabama or Texas, you might not need to take a chance on a guy like him. But most places aren't like Florida, Alabama or Texas. Remember, at the end of the day, ADs have jobs to keep, too, and for most, their jobs are based on how well their football programs perform. Bobby Petrino does perform on Saturdays, even if he's a headache the other six days a week.

I'll finish here by saying what I did to start: If he wants to be, Bobby Petrino will be a head coach somewhere in 2013.