Generally, the hiring of a new head coach at the University of Idaho would barely cause a ripple across the college football universe. Especially so far from the Mountain West down in the SEC.
But very little about the Petrino family’s decisions have not affected the SEC over the last year or so.
Paul Petrino, the brother of the one and only Bobby, had come aboard at Arkansas prior to the start of the 2012 season after spending two years in the same capacity at Illinois.
What was supposed to have been a family reunion in Fayetteville, ending in Atlanta for the SEC Championship game at least — if not Miami and the BCS National Championship — turned into a one-man show. Head coach Bobby’s decisions to first maintain a mistress, then take her out on an ill-fated motorcycle ride, and finally his choice to try to cover up his actions all ended in a massive public relations disaster for both the Petrino family and the school.
Without Bobby at the helm, Paul guided an offense for a rudderless team under interim head man John L. Smith.
With all apologies to Razorbacks fans for rehashing the gritty details, but Arky finished the year 4-8 after opening the season ranked No. 8-nationally.
However, Paul Petrino’s offense was not nearly as culpable as the team’s defensive unit. Tyler Wilson, the team leader and quarterback, threw for 3,387 yards and 21 scores on the season. Overall, the team’s 301.5 passing yards per game was good for 22nd in the nation. Granted, the team was playing from behind the majority of the time, forcing throws, but the point remains.
Now, Petrino moves far away from the train wreck his brother left behind in Fayetteville to inherit the train wreck that is the Idaho football program.
Idaho fired coach Robb Akey in October with the team 1-7 and coming off a blowout loss. The Vandals finished 1-11 and 1-5 in the WAC under offensive coordinator Jason Gesser, who had been promoted to interim coach.
Akey had been hired on as the program’s fourth coach in a 37-month span back in 2006 and led the program to an 8-5 record and a Humanitarian Bowl win in the 2009 season.
However, Akey’s overall record would end at 20-50 with his firing, and the schools’ membership in the Western Athletic Conference would end with the culmination of the Vandals’ 1-11 season.
Decimated by departures brought on by conference realignment, the WAC no longer has enough schools to field a legitimate football league.
Thus, Paul Petrino, brother of the personality that is Bobby Petrino, heads out into the snowy, mysterious winter wonderland of Idaho at the same time that his team embarks into the great unknown of the Independents.
Remaining independent, of course, has worked for Notre Dame, but it would take a Touchdown Jesus miracle for Paul to pull off that type of success at Idaho.
Statistics from ESPN were used in this report.
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