In case you haven’t heard, Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino crashed his motorcycle on Sunday. Then he lied, saying he was the only person riding the motorcycle. And on Thursday it was revealed that he was with a 25 year old woman who he was having an affair with. Not only that, but he had promoted the woman the week before to be his direct subordinate.
Petrino isn’t just in trouble with his wife, he’s in trouble with the University of Arkansas as well. He promoted his mistress, then lied about her involvement with him. He has been placed on a paid leave while the administration investigates (another word for taking time to contemplate firing a really good coach). Former lawyer turned sports blogger Clay Travis breaks down Petrino’s future HERE. Mr. SEC gives his take HERE.
So what does this have to do with Mississippi State? Well, it could deal a massive blow to one of the best teams in the SEC West. Even if Petrino is not fired, he is likely to be suspended – either by the university or the SEC. Even if Petrino is only suspended two games, that is enough to throw off the entire season. The turmoil alone could throw a wrench into what is supposed to be a possible run towards a SEC/national championship for the Hogs.
As usual, MSU will play Arkansas on the penultimate game of the season. The game is in Starkville, where State took a 10-2 Hog team to double overtime in 2010. If Petrino is suspended for any amount of time, that fact plus the home game has to give everyone a little more confidence about the matchup.
What if Petrino is fired? This opens up a whole new level of optimism for the 2012 Dawgs. We were already looking at the first seven games of the season as winnable. Going 6-1 or 7-0 heading into the Alabama game is a realistic goal. After that, it looked like murderer’s row: at Bama, vs. A&M, at LSU, vs. ARK.
If Petrino is fired they might just name an interim coach for 2012 instead of going through a coaching search. If they do that, who will be the coach? They have a new offensive and defensive coordinator for 2012. And would it be any better if they hired a new coach after spring practice? The same thing happened to Alabama in 2003 – Mike Price went strip club crazy and Mike Shula was hired. The result: a 4-9 season, and that was after a 10-3 year in 2002.
Now you look at that four game stretch and mark Arkansas as a W. Then you’ve got Bama, A&M and LSU. Let’s go ahead and mark road games at Bama and LSU as losses…I can live with that. The Texas A&M game is in Starkville, and doesn’t seem so bad when it’s part of a tough 3 game stretch instead of 4 tough games in a row.
I hate this for Mrs. Petrino and his family. It’s an ugly situation for all involved. Bobby Petrino is a real scum bag – always has been. He has been caught in several lies over the years. But as far as MSU goes, this could be a good thing. Dare I say 10-2?