Is Bobby Petrino Auburn’s only option?

Published on Dec. 3, 2012, at 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

Who wants the Auburn job? In terms of elite coaches, there is only one.

Everywhere this guy goes, he acts like an idiot. Check that, idiot is not the right word. In fact, ‘asshole’ is a much better choice.

Anybody like this guy? Not Louisville AD Tom Jurich, nor Falcons owner Arthur Blank. Tommy Tuberville sure as hell doesn’t like him, nor does Arkansas AD Jeff Long, at least not anymore.

His wife might abhor the man more than anyone. Yes, you know who I’m talking about, the one and only, Bobby Petrino.

In the prime of his career with his best team poised to compete for an SEC title in 2012, Petrino literally ran his career into a ditch in rural Arkansas. When stories like this one hit the wire, the media pounces with furious intensity.

This story was the gift that kept giving. Long had no choice other than to jettison the disgraced Petrino out of Fayetteville.

No need to rewind all of the details of Petrino’s indiscretions, that’s old news. The new news is that he’s legitimately in play for an SEC job less than a year later.

For any institution not in the Sun Belt or Conference USA, very special circumstances have to exist to even consider Petrino. Fortunately for BP, those conditions are present on The Plains.

Since the whole Cam Newton saga two years ago, the people at the NCAA have been salivating at the prospects of nailing Auburn for future violations. On the eve of Thanksgiving according to a Yahoo Sports report, the NCAA is back on campus interviewing players and coaches.

Gene Chizik has already been given a pink slip 23 months after winning the school’s first national title since the 1950s. Tuberville was run out of town within hours of losing to Alabama for the first time in seven years.

Auburn’s current AD Jay Jacobs will be on his way out soon enough, and we all know what they say about an AD having a coach he didn’t hire. That will be the scenario for the next Auburn coach, who will also have to deal with Nick Saban and an Alabama program that could win its third national title in four years next month.

When the Crimson Tide is enjoying that sort of success, the misery at Auburn is unfathomable.

So to review, Auburn might be looking at NCAA problems in the very-near future, it will have a new AD in the next 12 months, it is known to fire coaches with the quickness and it has to compete with Alabama, not to mention LSU and some dude named “Johnny Football.”

Therefore, again I ask, “what elite coach would want this job right now?”

There’s only one. His name is Bobby Petrino. And this really might happen.

We all know the negatives that come with BP. Like I said when he bolted Atlanta for Arkansas, it was an excellent hire by Long and the Razorbacks. But by the same token, it was a situation where you knew Arkansas was getting in bed with fleas. And at some point, the Hogs would get bitten. Did they ever!

But before the flea bites and the road rash emerged, there were many victories for the Razorbacks. And the NCAA boys never showed up in town.

Wins galore without issues from the NCAA? The potential for that scenario means more than anything at Auburn right now, much more than 48-72 hours of national media backlash if AU hires BP.

Hell, Auburn thumbed its nose at the entire country throughout the Cam Saga in 2010. You could argue that AU fans have never had as much fun as they did from November of 2010 to that night in Phoenix in early 2011.

Did it matter that most of the country felt Auburn cheated to get Newton? Of course not! Will it matter if most of the country ridicules Auburn for hiring a man with such baggage? Not if he does what he’s always done, which is win football games at a frenetic pace.

Now this isn’t to say it’s definitely going to happen but if Auburn wants a coach to have it competitive again in the SEC West in the next 2-3 years, Petrino might be the only hope on The Plains.

We should know before the week is over.

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