The regular season is over for most college football teams, which means coaches are getting fired and the hunt for a replacement is taking place. Enter Bobby Petrino, the former head coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks, Atlanta Falcons, and Louisville Cardinals. While Petrino is without a doubt one of the best coaching candidates available this year, his past indiscretions will make it difficult for a college football program to hire him. He was fired fromArkansasafter crashing his motorcycle with his mistress on the back of it (and tried to cover it up), he left the Falcons 13 games into his first season as head coach to take theArkansasjob, and he took theAtlantajob shortly after signing a 10 year extension atLouisville.
He has shown a lack of loyalty and poor judgment at each of his past head coaching spots, so why would anybody hire him? It is a simple answer, Petrino wins games. And if you are a program looking to regain the glory and prestige of years past, winning is all that matters. A 4-3 bowl record, combined with two BCS bowl appearances, a 75-26 head coaching record, and several top 10 finishes in his eight year college coaching tenure will make Petrino one of the most sought after coaches of the offseason.
So where should he coach next? Here is a list of schools Petrino should show interest in coaching.
The Volunteers are fresh off of their third straight losing season under former head coach Derek Dooley and are hungry for a return to national relevance. Offensively the Vols are one of the most talented teams in the nation, ranking in the top 25 nationally in passing yards, points per game, and total offense. If he can convince players like Justin Hunter and Cordarelle Patterson to forgo the NFL draft, then the Vols will bring back one of the most talented offensive units in the nation. Something that should make the offensive minded Petrino happy. His offenses have routinely been able to outscore opponents, so the transition atTennessee should be easier than another coaching position.
Everyone knows that Petrino interviewed for theAuburn job a few years ago and did not get it. Now, thanks to the recent dismissal of Gene Chizik,Auburn is looking for a coach and Petrino would be an excellent candidate. True Chizik is just two years removed from a national title, but this season’s 0-8 SEC record along with the fact that he had a 15-17 conference record meant that a change had to be made. The development of quarterbacks after Cam Newton left was one of the biggest issues that Chizik could not seem to figure out. Petrino does a great job improving his quarterbacks (see Ryan Mallet and Tyler Wilson for example) and he will get the best out of Kiehl Frazier if he is hired as the head coach atAuburn.
North Carolina State
This is one of two programs looking for a head coach that has a winning record for the 2012 football season (Purdue is the other school). Yet, the reason why N.C. State is a good fit is mainly because it is the best available job not in the SEC. Which means an easier road to a BCS Bowl, and that means more money and possible opportunities for a coach who is known to jump ship at the sight of a better job. There are only two ACC teams ranked in the BCS poll (Florida State and Clemson) and Petrino should be able to win games and compete for a conference championship sooner here than at any other location.
A trip to the west coast might not be a bad idea either, especially at a program likeCal. The Golden Bears are hungry for a winning season and might be willing to overlook Petrino’s past mishaps. It is not necessarily a rebuilding job inBerkeley, although this year’s 3-9 record indicates otherwise. Thanks to the job that formerCal coach Jeff Tedford did in his 11 year tenure, the Golden Bears are now a respectable program and a good coaching fit for Petrino’s offensive genius. Fans are yearning for the glory days when Aaron Rodgers was the quarterback and the Golden Bears had one of the most potent offenses in the nation, and if there is one thing Petrino can do it is coach a high powered offensive attack.
Sure they fired him, but now the Razorbacks faithful know how much they need Petrino. The Razorbacks administration should amend his firing to a one year suspension and bring him back. After all, everyone deserves a second chance. Just make sure to put a motorcycle clause in his contract.
CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from different college football games throughout the Mid-South.
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