TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 24: Head coach Bobby Petrino of the Arkansas Razorbacks wipes his forehead during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
I've been out of the main posting loop for a few days, so I haven't commented here yet on Bobby Petrino's scandal and firing. I think cocknfire has done a fantastic job keeping me and all of you up to speed on all the messy details.
Despite all the mess, I don't think Petrino is done coaching. He's just too good a coach to stay out of the game for long. He's apparently going to have a chance at some NFL position coaching jobs, but I wonder if his raging ego would let him fall below the coordinator rank. I suspect he would take something below head coach only begrudgingly, but the way he left the Atlanta Falcons probably burned that particular bridge. The NFL is the perfect place for him in some ways, as they really and truly don't give a flip about nearly anything but winning on that level. He might someday be a head coach there again, but he's going to have to work his way up.
I can say with confidence that Petrino is done as a major college head coach, however. A smaller school might take a chance on him; think something in the range of UTEP picking up Mike Price at a discount. Again though, that would require Petrino finding enough humility to take such a job (or finding himself cornered into taking it with no other options).
You can be a duplicitous, job-hopping scumbag and get a big time college job if you're a big time head coach. It's implied right there in the description, as you can't be a job-hopper if no one is offering you new jobs. Big time ADs have egos too, and they can easily talk themselves into such a person: "Well, he's not been here, and he's not worked for me. If I can just get him here, he'll change. I know it."
What such a head coach can't do is hire his mistress in the athletic department and use his work phone to conduct the affair as Petrino did. Any athletic director thinking about hiring Petrino would not just be his boss. He'd have to be a baby sitter too. Every single hire Petrino would make in the athletic department would have to be triple-checked for conflicts, and everything he does with university resources would have to be gone over with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it's all just business being conducted on the business equipment. Plus, even though Petrino's $20,000 payment to Jessica Dorrell was not with athletic department money, that would probably stick out in the AD's mind too. Could you trust this guy with an expense account either?
It's more trouble than it's worth for a government institution. After all, you can get Bobby Petrino's offense without Bobby Petrino's baggage. The two best ways to do that are to go get his brother Paul or Garrick McGee, the latter of whom is almost certainly a serious candidate at Arkansas right now. Poor Paul might have some kind of a reverse halo effect for a while thanks to sharing the Petrino name, but keep in mind he was at Illinois when the affair apparently started last September and, as far as I know, he doesn't have a reputation like his brother's.
Time heals a lot of wounds, but I just can't see Bobby Petrino getting another premier college job. He's 51 years old right now, and after the many, many years it will take for this ordeal to truly blow over, he'll probably be too old for a big time job. He's going to slink away into hiding for some time and likely wind up on an NFL staff somewhere. He may resurface in a non-BCS conference if he can stand to stoop so low (note: that's sarcasm), but he's done coaching in the major conferences of college football.