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Who Will Hire Petrino?

One of the best coaching minds is unemployed

Who Will Hire Bobby Petrino?

On Thursday Bobby Petrino sat down with ESPN's Joe Shad to do his first full interview since being dismissed as Head Hog. Petrino turned around the Arkansas program and produced the first back to back 10 win seasons for Arkansas since 88 & 89. His overal record of 75-26 in college is very impressive, especially when you consider he only went 13-12 in his first two seasons at Arkansas while rebuilding the Hog program. Petrino is also the only man to lead two different schools to their first BCS Appearances. Petrino's interview with Schad is the first step in reshaping his image. No one will question his ability to coach, but what program will take a chance on Petrino next?

Here's a list of 10 schools I think could end up with Bobby Petrino as their coach in 2013.

1. Maryland- Randy Edsall is only entering year two at Maryland, but he's probably already worn out his welcome at College Park. Kevin Plank, the owner of Under Armour, has plenty of influence with his alma mater and would love nothing more than for Maryland to bring in a coach that is as high profile as Petrino. Maryland isn't a college football powerhouse that is typically going to attract a big name coach, so this could be there one chance to land a proven winner. With all the athletes in the D.C. area, Petrino could attract some top tier recruits to College Park. The D.C. area is known for its scandals with its politicians, so Maryland fans might be more willing to accept Petrino's past than a school in the deep South would.

2. Texas Tech- Tommy Tuberville just isn't the right fit for what Texas Tech wants. Tuberville is a defensive coach who has won with a power running game in the past. He has tried to please Texas Tech fans with a spread offense, but this just isn't something he's all that comfortable with and it shows. While Petrino's offense is much more prostyle than what fans in Lubbock were accustomed to under Leach, it is high profile enough to gain the interest of Red Raider fans. Texas Tech gave Bobby Knight a second chance, so why not give Petrino a second chance? Petrino would make sense at Texas Tech, but former TTU Coach Spike Dyke's son Sonny might be the choice when Tuberville is gone.

3. Tennessee- Attendance is way down, the Vols have a QB who can't stay out of trouble(even if it's minor), and Dooley isn't winning enough. The once proud UT program is now below South Carolina in the SEC East, something many thought would never happen. Unless things turn around, the Vols are likely looking for a new coach for 2013. Petrino would make an immediate impact in Knoxville and I believe would have Tennessee competing for a National Championship by year 3. UT is a much bigger name than any other school and has more resources than anyone else on this list, which means they could land a big name coach without having to go after someone with some baggage.

4. Central Florida- This program has underachieved more than any non BCS program in the country in my opinion. The school has seen some success under O'Leary, but it isn't consistent. This school has one of the largest enrollments in the country, a new football stadium, and tons of local talent. UCF is joining the Big East, making it a more attractive job than it is while in Conference USA. The school was just put on a 1 year bowl probation by the NCAA and if O'Leary(who has some baggage himself) has another down year then it's time to look in a new direction. Petrino could take this job and make UCF the Boise State of the Southeast.

5. Kentucky- Joker Phillips will not coach UK in 2013 unless Randall Cobb decides to sneak into Commonwealth Stadium and play for UK. Petrino knows The State of Kentucky very well after spending 4 years at Louisville where he went 41-9 as head coach. Kentucky could use a boost to its program and landing Petrino would do so right away. There is plenty of bad blood between UK & Petrino though and Rich Brooks(who doesn't like Petrino) still has some influence at this school. Would UK be willing to forgive its past with Petrino and hire a former Cardinal? Well, U of L had no problem hiring a former Cat to lead its basketball program.

6. Idaho- Petrino was an assistant at Idaho from 1989-1991. Rob Akey is 19-43 at Idaho and probably wouldn't be given another year if he can't produce a winning season in 2012. Idaho had no problems hiring Dennis Erickson, a man who had plenty of baggage with the NCAA. The only problem for Idaho is that they currently are a part of the WAC, a conference that will likely only have 2 members in 2013. Could Petrino fall this far and hide out a year or two before being picked up by a bigger program?

7. Nevada- Chris Ault, a CFB Hall of Fame Coach and inventor of the Pistol Offense, is now 65 years old. Ault retired from coaching in 1996 and is in year 8 at his second stint at Nevada. If Ault would retire, then Petrino could find a good landing spot in Reno. Petrino was an assistant in 1994 at Nevada and did start using some of Ault's Pistol Offense while at Arkansas. Petrino even hired Kris Cinkovich from the Nevada staff a couple seasons ago. Nevada has appeared in 7 straight bowl games and has won 20 games the last 2 years. This is a good Non BCS Conference Job and could attract Petrino.
8. Wyoming- Former Missouri Offensive Coordinator Dave Christensen is doing a fine job at Wyoming and could be looking at a move up in the College Football Coaching ranks with another successful year. Wyoming has 3 bowl appearances in the last 20 years and 2 of those have come in Christensen's first 3 years. Petrino has never coached in Wyoming before, but being a Montana native you would have to think Petrino is familiar with The State of Wyoming.  This might just be a comfortable place for a man that loves small towns, wants to work on his marriage, and wants to coach football.   

9. Oregon State- Mike Riley is 8-16 the last 2 seasons at Oregon State and things have started to become stale in Corvallis. Riley is actually a pretty good coach, but it's probably time for a change for the Beavers. Petrino could have the type of impact at OSU right away that Washington State had when it landed Mike Leach as coach. Oregon State is never going to land top 20 recruiting classes, so it needs a man like Petrino to develop middle tier talent. OSU isn't going to be able to land a bigger name than Petrino if Riley is fired.

10. Arkansas- Probably not likely, but many Hog fans aren't giving up hope. Fact is that when Spring Practice started in March Bobby Petrino was the most popular man in Arkansas since Nolan Richardson in the mid 90s. Many Hog fans still love Petrino and feel that if he can rehab his image and marriage that he may be able to come back to being the Head Hog. Petrino's staff is still in place and so are the player's he recruited. Arkansas departed ways with its best basketball coach ever a decade ago, something many fans regret to this day. Departing ways with one of its best coaches ever is something a decade from now many might regret as well. I wouldn't count on Petrino returning to Arkansas, but nothing would shock me. 

Matt Barber

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