Auburn and Tennessee finished the year at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference standings. Tennessee finished the year with one conference win, while Auburn went winless inside the SEC.
Shortly after the season concluded, the Tigers and Volunteers fired their head coaches and began the search for a new leader. With a major spark needed to recharge these football teams, Bobby Petrino is a great fit for both programs.
Petrino would bring a new life to either program and could restore these teams to the top of their divisions. The record speaks for itself, and Petrino has won everywhere he has been. If given the resources of these top programs, he would excel.
As these teams continue the search for a head coach, here are the five reasons that the Tigers and Volunteers should be battling to sign Bobby Petrino.
When 2012 kicked off, the Volunteers and Tigers had bowl aspirations. Both teams were facing modest expectations entering the year, but securing six win seasons appeared to be well within reach.
Instead Auburn finished 3-9 and the Vols finished 5-7. Neither team looked good consistently, although there were some points of success that peered through the darkness from time to time.
What both teams lacked this year was on-field discipline.
It was easy to spot with players giving up on plays and not finishing games when they got out of hand. A huge loss to Vanderbilt sealed Derek Dooley’s fate, and consecutive shutout losses in rivalry games dropped Gene Chizik from the top of the Auburn program.
Both teams looked lost and undisciplined with their approach to football this season. Petrino is a hard-nosed coach that will return these teams to top of the conference.
Watching Auburn and Tennessee football this season was a chore at times. The Tigers were by far the worse of the two teams, but both had issues finding offensive consistency. Those problems came from a lack of basic fundamentals.
Auburn showed up week after week looking unprepared and unable to put together more than five plays in a row with a major breakdown. By seasons end the Tigers were using true freshman Jonathan Wallace because he was making the most fundamentally sound decisions of all three Auburn quarterbacks.
Tennessee has looked like an SEC elite offense at times this year, while at others the Vols looked like the 5-7 team that they are. Tyler Bray was too inconsistent and his mechanics appeared to be flawed with a number of throws.
Bobby Petrino is the offensive guru that could turn these programs around offensively. Petrino is known to be a quarterback developer and one of the best offensive play-callers in the game.
To survive in the SEC these teams have to find a surge on offense, Petrino is the key to the turnaround.
To survive in the SEC you have to have great quarterback play. The conference title game featured the two most efficient passers in the country this year.
When you look at the past success for Auburn and Tennessee, great quarterback play has directed the winning seasons of the past. These teams have to find a quarterback developer, and Petrino has a history of finding them on his roster.
Tennessee has a stable of quarterbacks to pull from, but the Tigers are in a much more difficult situation. Jonathan Wallace stepped up to be a major player as a freshman, but whether he is the future is still unclear.
Whether it is a player currently on roster or a JUCO transfer, Petrino will get his guy and turn around a signal-caller in a summer.
When Auburn and Tennessee hired their last head coaches, both schools picked coaches with losing records.
Derek Dooley was 17-20 at Louisiana Tech, and Gene Chizik was 5-19 with Iowa State. Dooley never had a winning season at Tennessee, while Chizik managed three winning years and a national title.
Bobby Petrino has been a head coach in college for eight seasons and has only had one losing year—his first at Arkansas.
He also took two teams to their first BCS bids in school history—Louisville and Arkansas.
The Tigers and Vols have to find a proven winner with this next hire, and Petrino is the obvious coach waiting in the wings.
This will be the end of a long coaching road for Petrino. After his misgivings that occurred at Arkansas, he knows that this is his last shot to get it right at a major program.
Petrino did leave Atlanta and Louisville under clouds of controversy, but there is nothing to indicate that his next stop won’t be his last. Petrino is 51 and will have the chance to spend the next decade at one of these schools if he wins.
Tennessee fans are begging for him to come to Knoxville, creating this Facebook page to show support. Auburn fans have shown an equal level of support for the coach to land on the Plains.
There is also a divide in the fanbases as they question the morals of the coach, but if he wins those concerns would disappear.