Bobby Petrino to Western Kentucky: What Will It Take to Get to the SEC?

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterDecember 10, 2012

Western Kentucky head coach Bobby Petrino
Western Kentucky head coach Bobby PetrinoUSA TODAY Sports

Bobby Petrino didn't land an SEC job, but you wouldn't know it by the first two opponents he'll be squaring off with in his new gig.

The former Arkansas head coach, who was dismissed by the Razorbacks shortly after his affair with a staff member—whom he hired—surfaced, will be the next head coach of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, according to the Bowling Green (Ky.) Daily News:

Western Kentucky will announce Bobby Petrino as its new head football coach at 4 p.m. today.

— Chad Bishop (@MrChadBishop) December 10, 2012

Who are the first two teams on Western Kentucky's schedule in 2013? SEC members Kentucky and Tennessee.

Talk about a rough road.

Petrino's father stated earlier this fall that his son wants to coach in the SEC again. But SEC commissioner Mike Slive probably wouldn't have been too fond of Petrino reemerging in the SEC after what he put the Arkansas athletic department through.

So, what would it take for Petrino to get back into the top conference in college football?

It would take at least two seasons of sustained success, an athletic director who's willing to put his job on the line and—most importantly—no off-the-field drama to make that happen.

Success shouldn't be an issue. He'll be taking over a team that finished 7-5 and will play in the Little Caesars Bowl. The Sun Belt is a competitive conference, but there's no doubt that Petrino will be the best coach in the conference.

Finding a landing spot in the SEC might be tricky. Twenty-nine percent of the jobs in the SEC turned over this offseason. While college football is a "win now" business, the pressure isn't exactly that high.

Staying out of trouble may be easier said than done for Petrino.

Petrino has never really been in the NCAA's crosshairs, but lying to your boss, hiring your mistress and covering up an affair is arguably worse than any potential NCAA violation. It puts the entire athletic department in danger of multiple lawsuits.

Plus, let's be honest, do you get caught the first time you speed on the highway?

Of course not.

Petrino can change, but he's going to have to prove it to get back to the SEC.

Both on the field and off.