Now, I'll preface this right off the bat by saying that I may not exactly be the best advice-giver on coaching personnel matters. I was one of the few Georgia fans who was actually upset when we fired Jim Donnan almost exactly six years ago (though I quickly recognized it was the right move in hindsight once we picked up Mark Richt), and also met with speculations of insanity after suggesting that Georgia hire Rick Neuheisel as offensive coordinator. So, like, take everything I'm about to say with a grain of salt.
But if somebody from the University of Alabama athletic department isn't on their way to Louisville, Kentucky, right this very instant carrying a suitcase full of $100 bills they plan on dumping on Bobby Petrino's desk, everybody in Tuscaloosa is a fucking retard.
First, a tear for Mike Shula, who's a good upstanding Catholic boy and maybe even a good coach in certain circumstances but rarely looked like he was prepared for the buzzsaw that is coaching at the Capstone. As someone who's demonstrated himself to be quite conservative in the matter of firing coaches, and who almost always errs on the side of giving so-and-so another year before dropping the hammer, I thought Shula might actually do pretty well next year with a team that was pretty young at a lot of important positions in '06. That said, I won't spend a lot of time arguing with anyone who'd made their minds up that Shula just wasn't the guy. Shula spent his first two years in Tuscaloosa looking like the picture you'd expect to see on the Wikipedia page for "deer in the headlights," looked like he'd snapped out of it during last year's 10-2 campaign, then appeared to regress right back into the old deer pose this past season. Shula may deep down be a great coach, but at the same time it wouldn't surprise me at all if we never heard from him again, at least on the sideline of a major college football team.
"It's not you. It's me."
But anyway. Alabama, you need to hire Bobby Petrino. Stop chasing after Steve Spurrier, whose last two seasons at South Carolina haven't been that much better than the one that just got Mike Shula fired; stop chasing after Nick Saban, whose ego is getting fed by the NFL these days and hasn't demonstrated any desire to step back into the college ranks; stop chasing after Rich Rodriguez, who's coaching at his alma mater for Christ's sake (and doing a damn fine job of it to, last week's loss to South Florida notwithstanding). There are three major things going for Petrino, and they are, in no particular order:
1. He would bring the kind of wide-open offense Alabama hasn't seen in . . . well, maybe ever. Even when Mike DuBose and then Dennis Franchione were putting together 10-win seasons with the Tide, they weren't exactly slinging the ball all over the field. Part of the reason Shula got fired is because his offenses were mind-numbingly conservative. You want to open it up a little? Pass for 300 yards in a game for once? Petrino's your man. Spurrier's Spurrier, but he's not the Spurrier of the mid-'90s anymore. Petrino's the closest thing to that you're gonna find right now.
2. He's made it quite clear he wants to be coaching in the SEC. Guys like Saban, Rodriguez, and Rutgers's Greg Schiano are in cushy situations they know they'd be stupid to leave. But anyone with half a brain should know by now that Petrino, for all the success he's enjoyed in Louisville, sees it as only a pit stop on the way to someplace bigger. He interviewed for the LSU job; he promoted himself for the Ole Miss job before thinking better of it. And we all know what happened with Auburn. Which brings me to the third (and maybe the biggest) reason:
3. For the first time in six years, it would make Alabama look smarter than Auburn. Look, let's not sugarcoat this: Auburn has been eating Bama's lunch for years now, and not just in the Iron Bowl; the Tigers have been stringing together 9-, 10-, and even 13-win seasons while Alabama craps their pants with delight if they so much as make it to a New Year's Day bowl. Auburn is enjoying consistency and unity on their coaching staff while Alabama has turned coach-firing into practically a biennial ritual. But if Alabama were to snag the coach that Auburn nearly humiliated themselves on a historic level trying to hire . . . that'd be like the Punk'd of the decade in the SEC. You'd have a guy who knows Tommy Tuberville's secrets and can get his goat. This hiring would make the Iron Bowl exciting again before Alabama even wins one -- and it'd make Bobby Lowder spontaneously combust with rage, which is all the reason somebody should need to do anything.
Knows where Tuberville's bodies are buried; also would apparently sell his own mother into white slavery to become an SEC coach.
Come on, Alabama. We know you've got money; give Petrino as much of it as he wants and bring him to T-Town. He's good, he's available, he's feasible, he'd drive your biggest arch-rival fucking nuts. I'm offering you this exclusive consulting work free of charge; just throw me some tickets to the Georgia-Alabama game at Bryant-Denny next year and we'll call it completely even. Now go!