A year ago, Louisville had beaten Syracuse 56-10. Said athletic director Vince Tyra: "I don't think our talent slipped that far down and theirs slipped that far up ... If you want to say culture equals effort, there's something screwy going on there."
(Part of Louisville’s thinking surely involves Jeff Brohm, who played at Louisville and who worked at U of L and Western Kentucky under Petrino. He’s now at Purdue, having been hired by the former Georgia Tech AD Mike Bobinski. After starting 0-3, the Boilermakers have beaten Boston College, Ohio State — by 29 points! — and Iowa. One question, though: Is Louisville the best offer Brohm is apt to get?)
This marked the second coach in six years to have gotten fired with the peripatetic BVG as defensive coordinator. Gene Chizik was the first, having been axed at Auburn two years after winning the BCS title. (VanGorder had no role in that; he was coordinating Mike Smith’s Falcons defense.) The same BVG came close to taking down Brian Kelly at Notre Dame two years ago, but Kelly dumped his DC after a September that saw the Irish yield 50 points to Texas, 36 to Michigan State and 38 to Duke. Today Notre Dame is ranked No. 3 by the College Football Playoff committee.
Back to Petrino. As esteemed former colleague Mark Schlabach, now of ESPN, noted: Louisville also dumped three members of Petrino's staff, all of whom were related to the head coach. One was Petrino's son; the other two were sons-in-law. In the history of sports, has hiring within the family ever brought a happy outcome? (Hold on a second. I believe that's Jim Harrick on Line 1.)
I’d say it will be difficult for Petrino to land another head coaching job at a Power 5 school, but I’d have said the same about VanGorder getting hired to run another major-college defense, and that keeps happening. (Though I’m thinking it mightn’t happen again.) If Petrino has indeed sunk to the level of toxic, it’s not because he’s a bad guy; it’s because he has also become a bad coach.