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Thursday, November 8, 2012
Bobby Petrino interested in Kentucky

By Edward Aschoff


It sounds like former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino is interested in coaching in the SEC again and according to his father, he's interested in making his home at Kentucky.

"I just know this, that he's interested in Kentucky," Bobby Petrino Sr. told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Wednesday. "He wants to stay in the SEC. That was his life's goal was to go to the SEC."

Kentucky announced on Sunday that coach Joker Phillips would not be back next season and that the coaching search would begin immediately. While Petrino might want to throw his name into the mix, he might be a long shot for the job.

Yahoo! Sports already reported that Kentucky wouldn't be interested in pursuing Petrino, who was fired from Arkansas after he lied to athletic director Jeff Long about an affair he was having with a woman he hired.

Yes, Petrino knows the state of Kentucky well. He went 41-9 at Louisville from 2003-06, and even won the Orange Bowl. His Cardinals teams showcased some of the most exciting passing games in college football at the time. Then, he had a ton of success at Arkansas, getting back-to-back double-digit-win seasons and taking the Razorbacks to their first BCS bowl game.

He even thought his 2012 team was his best one and labeled it a legitimate national title contender. He would put a bunch of people in the seats at Commonwealth Stadium and bring some much-needed excitement back to Kentucky's football program.

But is he worth all the baggage for athletic director Mitch Barnhart? Is he really worth the public relations nightmare for Kentucky and the mounds and mounds of criticism that will be hurled Barnhart's way? And will he even stick around Lexington long enough to make the Wildcats any sort of contender in the SEC East? He really doesn't have a very good track record with staying at places very long (just ask the Atlanta Falcons).

There are plenty of good potential candidates for Barnhart to seek. There are qualified SEC assistants and up-and-coming coaches around the country that would surely be interested in this job.

Expect to hear Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes' name more and more. Louisiana Tech is currently 8-1 and owns the nation's No. 2 scoring offense (52.4 points per game) and the nation's third-best offense (570.9). Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who is a former Kentucky assistant, has shown interest in the job as well.

Duke's David Cutcliffe could also be a candidate. He has the Blue Devils bowl eligible for the first time since 1994 and has plenty of SEC experience as both a longtime assistant at Tennessee and as Ole Miss' head coach. He went 44-29 during his six years with the Rebels.

Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart, whose Hilltoppers beat Kentucky earlier this year, and current Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter's name has also been lumped in with potential candidates.

So there are plenty of options for Barnhart not named Bobby Petrino, and I think it will stay that way.