So Marshall’s date with College Football Darth Vader, aka Bobby Petrino, doesn’t come next season. The Herd likely will have to wait until 2016. Though, knowing Petrino, even that’s not a guarantee.
Reports out of Louisville have Petrino, the current (for now) Western Kentucky head coach and former (for now) Cardinals head coach, headed back to Louisville. I believe this explains the sub-zero temperatures in the area, because hell has indeed frozen over.
To truly delve into Petrino’s warts would necessitate a novel. I’ll just let the fantastic Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports do the talking for me in this brilliant column right after Petrino deserted the Atlanta Falcons mid-season to take the Arkansas job, and this one during his flame-out with Arkansas, where he flouted state hiring laws and lied to his employers.
(On a more personal note, Petrino once went on a press-conference rant about how awful and scurrilous rumors get started after my best friend asked him about rumblings of him interviewing for the Oakland Raiders job. A couple days after that, we all learned that Petrino had interviewed with the Raiders … days before my best friend asked that question.)
Look, Louisville AD Tom Jurich is among the best in the country. And, considering he watched Petrino slither out the door the first time, he knows what he’s getting into. He also has to know that if this blows up in his face — and let’s be honest, there’s a really good chance of that happening — he’s going to look foolish. And I know Petrino has said all the right things since returning to gainful employment, but I don’t know if one year out of football and one year in the Sun Belt is enough time in purgatory to truly get this guy to turn over a new leaf.
Yet, personal and professional sins aside, the dude can coach some football. And that’s what makes his departure from WKU a bit disappointing. He walked right in and, with Willie Taggart’s players, won eight games, finished in the top 30 in total offense, beat Kentucky to open the season and beat bowl teams Arkansas State and Navy. And with the Hilltoppers entering the C-USA East Division next season, how would that WKU team versus a stacked and veteran Marshall squad not be one of the most anticipated conference games of the year?
Now, if Marshall fans want to see the Herd face the sport’s Dark Lord of the Sith, they’ll want to mark their calendars for 2016, when the Cardinals are scheduled to meet the Herd at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
If Petrino’s still around by then, that is.