After a one-year hiatus from college football following a scandal that cost him his job and left the Arkansas Razorbacks program in rough shape, Bobby Petrino is back as head coach of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
There are four new head coaches in the SEC this year, which means four schools in the conference had an opportunity to hire Petrino and passed even knowing the job he did at Arkansas, turning the Razorbacks into a top-10 program.
Ironically, Western Kentucky is playing two of the schools that passed on Petrino to begin their season, giving him a chance to get some revenge against those schools as well as show the SEC that he is still a top-notch coach who deserves another chance in the nation’s best conference.
Petrino has already won the first game of his mini-SEC revenge tour, as the Hilltoppers beat in-state rival Kentucky for the second consecutive season. Western Kentucky beat the Wildcats comfortably, with Petrino proving that he could put aside his reputation of coaching a pass-heavy offense.
He gave the ball to star running back Antonio Andrews, who was the catalyst for the Hilltoppers putting 35 points on the scoreboard and beating the Wildcats. Petrino going to Kentucky during the offseason made a lot of sense, but Kentucky ultimately passed on him in favor the defensive-minded Mark Stoops.
Up next for Petrino and the Hilltoppers is Tennessee, another team that could have hired Petrino during the offseason but opted for Butch Jones instead. Taking down Tennessee should be a lot harder than beating Kentucky as the Volunteers looked impressive in their blowout win over Austin Peay.
But if Petrino can lead the Hilltoppers to victory over its second SEC opponent in as many weeks, he would definitely raise a few eyebrows and captured the attention of the conference.
Petrino may get a little extra satisfaction from beating a pair of SEC teams after the conference turned their back on him, but he really has nothing extra to prove. Despite his off-field trouble, everyone in the SEC and around the country knows that he’s a great coach.
However, knocking off two straight SEC teams to begin his tenure at Western Kentucky will not only be a little sweeter for him personally, but provide further evidence that despite his baggage, he belongs in the SEC and should get another chance to coach in the nation’s top conference.