Bobby Petrino recently completed his 10th season as a Head Football Coach in College Football. Six of those seasons have ended in the AP Top 25 (60%) and all but one season has finished with 8+ wins (90%). 5 of 10 seasons have finished in the Top 20 (50%), and 3 of 10 have finished in the Top 6 (30%), along with 3 Bowls Associated with the New Year’s Six and the College Football Playoffs.
Year 1 in the ACC went about as well as could be expected. The Cards dropped an unexpected game to Virginia early in the season on the road, typical of programs coming off a coaching change, a Quarterback change…and even a conference change.
But when you take a look at Petrino’s teams and the results he has been able to achieve throughout his career against Scout.com’s Recruiting Rankings, you can really see the VALUE of Bobby Petrino. Using 4-year averages (2 years for 2003 Louisville, 3 years for 2004 Louisville because historical data prior doesn’t exist) Bobby Petrino’s highest 4-year average recruiting ranking was 2011’s 25.25 with Arkansas. In 2011 with Petrino’s Razorbacks won the 2012 Cotton Bowl and finished #5 in the Nation. The 4-year stretch for the 2011 Arkansas team was also the best average Player Star rating that Petrino has had prior to last season, at 2.825.
In 2014, Louisville’s Average 4-year star rating was the Highest Petrino has ever had at 2.9425, but his average team recruiting ranking was 42nd. For 2015, Petrino’s average star ranking will bump up to 2.9500, with his average team recruiting ranking at a similar 41.75. But in looking at Petrino’s history, it is important to note the improvement in recruiting but also the improvement in results on the field from Year 1 to Year 2.
Some of these ratings are difficult to really place value upon. Recruiting rankings & evaluation has expanded among the scouting services and so has Louisville’s place within the landscape in college football. When Petrino took the helm at Louisville in 2003 the Cards were a Conference USA school and since that time the program has elevated to the Big East, the American, and now the Atlantic Coast Conference. It’s quite a rise.
Also, like it or not recruiting rankings and player evaluations can be influenced by reputation. Players from well-known areas and high schools going to traditional College Programs will be rated higher than an unknown Safety who didn’t camp very much, from say a place like Port St. Joe?
Bottom line, scouting is more important than recruiting rankings. John L. Smith understood that, Charlie Strong exercised that, and Bobby Petrino knows that today. In the end, Louisville has recruited VERY well the last 5 seasons and thanks to some small class sizes in 2012 & 2013 the Rankings are down……but the stars are UP! And Bobby Petrino has never had a roster with as many average stars in his career as the one he will coach in 2015.
What’s the expectation for the 2nd year Head Coach for the Cards? Who knows. But I’d bet on Petrino winning 8+ games, lighting up the scoreboard, and absolutely obliterating whoever has the courage to jump on the bird.
|Year||Team||4-year Avg Recruiting Ranking||Avg Stars||Final AP Rank||Record||Bowl/Result|
|2003||Louisville||57th *2 years||2.365||NR||9-4||Lost GMAC Bowl (Miami OH)|
|2004||Louisville||56th *3 Years||2.300||#6||11-1||Won Liberty Bowl (Boise St.)|
|2005||Louisville||52.75||2.3925||#19||9-3||Lost Gator Bowl (Virginia Tech)|
|2006||Louisville||42.75||2.465||#6||12-1||Won Orange Bowl (Wake Forest)|
|2009||Arkansas||27.75||2.755||NR||8-5||Won Liberty Bowl (East Carolina)|
|2010||Arkansas||29.5||2.7825||#12||10-3||Lost Sugar Bowl (Ohio State)|
|2011||Arkansas||25.25||2.8525||#5||11-2||Won Cotton Bowl (Kansas St)|
|2013||Western Kentucky||105.5||2.1025||NR||8-4||No Bowl|
|2014||Louisville||42||2.9425||#24||9-4||Lost Belk Bowl (Georgia)|
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