--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
For yet another week, the Louisville Cardinals lost big. The worst part, however, is the loss was expected.Wake defeated Louisville 56-35. Saturday’s loss, like the others, is on Bobby Petrino.
There is a real possibility Louisville doesn’t win another game this season. If that happens, Louisville will need to decide about making a coaching change.
Louisville’s decision will need to come quick.
While Petrino is known as an offensive-minded coach, the defensive coordinator hire, and ultimately the 36.3 points allowed average, is on Petrino. 22.3 points per game also doesn’t prove offensive capability.
Bobby Petrino, and Brian VanGorder’s defense has allowed more than 50 points three times. Teams are converting close to 50 percent of third-down tries. 50 against Alabama isn’t bad. 66 against Georgia Tech and 56 against Wake Forest is unacceptable.
Louisville also has not recruited top-tier talent. Most recruits are in the 3-star range. Petrino hasn’t been able to attract a 5-star prospect.
The main thing keeping him in Louisville, however, is his near- $14 million buyout. The payout also becomes more expensive as time goes on. If Louisville were to terminate the contract on December 1st, 2018; they would owe him around $14.1 million.
$14.1 million dollars may look appetizing, however. Attendance has been on the decline. While there were 49,603 tickets sold in Week nine, the actual attendance was much less. In fact, the stadium appeared to be less than 50 percent full. Fans are voting their decision on Petrino’s future.
It may be some time before the loss of revenue becomes significant.
The coach many wish would replace Petrino may also become a hot name on the coaching carousel. Jeff Brohm’s Purdue Boilermakers are 4-4 so far this season; are 2-0 against ranked teams, and have won four of their last five. One of the wins was a shelling of No. 8 Ohio State.
Brohm took a 3-9 team to bowl eligibility in his first year, and probably his second. While he has ties to Louisville; up and coming Purdue will open the checkbook to keep him there.
If the wins stack up for Brohm, the former Louisville quarterback may receive calls from other, larger programs.
The worst part is, however, Brohm is the only name being mentioned as a potential new head coach. Many have seen him as the next Louisville coach since he had success at Western Kentucky. The backup is to keep Petrino.
If there is one silver lining, this is the only highly-mediocre year Louisville has had under Petrino. Petrino has not lost more than five games in a single season. There is a chance that VanGorder’s defense will improve with time, and that the current youth at certain positions becomes strength and experience in one or two years.
Louisville will need to decide quickly on whether to hire the only name on their list; or retain Petrino and risk losing him.
Fans are voting their opinion. It’s up to the athletic department on what to do.