Sometimes you wish teams would listen to sportswriters. Not so much because sportswriters are always right or even often right. Rather, because you want to see some one try out whatever crackpot idea a sportswriter threw out there in a column trying to be provocative. Case in point: this piece from the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley.
Cowley posits that Illinois should fire first-year head coach Tim Beckman and, wait for it, hire Bobby Petrino. As an Indiana alumnus, I cannot express how much I love that idea adequately or with enough volume.
I’m sure Petrino would turn Illinois into a winner fairly quickly. He has definitely shown above-average ability as a turnaround artist and offensive mind. But then, right after Illinois fan got comfortable, WHAM, the other shoe drops. Or, based upon Petrino’s history, the NFL/better college job/attractive female coworker, drops. It would only come after a couple of years of pretty good football, but oh man would it be sweet. Unless you’re Illinois, that is.
Cowley asks Illinois, “What do you want to be, Illinois? It’s a simple question.”
I don’t know what they want to be, but I would very much like Illinois to be a football program that fires its coach after one year. ESPECIALLY if that one year is directly following Ron Zook going out in a blaze of mediocrity. Two wins isn’t great, though things like that happen in the first year for new coaches. Zero Big Ten wins, well, that’s Indiana territory, friend.
To heck with all the turnover involved with switching coaches yet again. Forget the recruiting mess it would cause. Petrino is totally worth it to fix this mess. Forget the fact that Petrino is the football equivalent of cancer for a football program. His last two college jobs turned out okay. Louisville finally got it together, right? And Arkansas might be a total shambles this year, but hey, last year was fun, right?
Look at Tennessee. They had Lane Kiffin for only a year and then hired Derek Dooley and they’re fine. Better than fine, even. Whole SEC is afraid of ‘em.
So yes, please listen to this sportswriter, Illinois. He probably wants you to keep Bruce Weber too. An idea with which I wholeheartedly agree as well. Go Illini!