Can Bobby Petrino’s team beat Tennessee?

When I think about Bobby Petrino and what an unbelievable job he did at Arkansas with talent that was not as good as Georgia, Florida, LSU and Alabama then it leads me to believe that he can get the most out of his players. When he was at Arkansas he won 5 games the first year with a victory over a ranked LSU team to finish 2008. Then in 2009 the Hogs won 8 games and then in 2010 they made it to a BCS bowl and that included a victory along the way over a top 10 LSU team and a heartbreaking loss in the fourth quarter to #1 ranked Alabama. Finally in 2011 the Razorbacks won 11 games for the first time since 1977 and finished ranked #5 in last poll of the year.

Who can question Bobby Petrino’s coaching record? However, at Western Kentucky he has inherited another coach’s players and I doubt very seriously he can pull off a miracle against Tennessee in Knoxville. I do predict that if his team has a good year that he will jump ship and go to a big time program like Gus Malzahn did last year!!!! Actually many teams on this level lose coaches like this all the time. Ask Ark State about that.

John Adams: Western Kentucky would be worst loss for the Vols

John Adams
  • By John Adams
  • Posted August 4, 2013 at 5:56 p.m., updated August 4, 2013 at 8:08 p.m.
New Western Kentucky head coach Bobby Petrino smiles during an NCAA college football news conference, Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, in Bowling Green, Ky. The 51-year-old was fired by Arkansas in April for a 'pattern of misleading' behavior following an accident in which the coach was injured while riding a motorcycle with his mistress as a passenger but now wants to make the most of his second chance. (AP Photo/The Daily News, Joe Imel)

New Western Kentucky head coach Bobby Petrino smiles during an NCAA college football news conference, Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, in Bowling Green, Ky. The 51-year-old was fired by Arkansas in April for a “pattern of misleading” behavior following an accident in which the coach was injured while riding a motorcycle with his mistress as a passenger but now wants to make the most of his second chance. (AP Photo/The Daily News, Joe Imel)


Which would be Tennessee’s “worst” loss of the season?

vs. Western Kentucky on September 7
vs. Vanderbilt on November 23
at Kentucky November 30

See the results »

View previous polls »

If you asked Tennessee fans which team they would most like to beat this season, the consensus answer would be obvious.

How could they pick anyone else other than Alabama?

Imagine what an upset over the defending national champions would do for UT’s image.

While that’s an obvious choice for the best victory, the worst possible loss would spark more debate.

You might pick Vanderbilt since the Vols haven’t lost back-to-back games to their in-state rival since 1926. Or maybe you would choose Kentucky, which hasn’t won consecutive games against UT in Lexington since 1959.

But my pick for the worst loss would be Western Kentucky.

UT isn’t physically capable of losing its opener to Austin Peay or at the end of September to South Alabama. So I eliminated them from consideration.

Maybe you regard Western Kentucky in Week 2 as a sure thing as well. It’s not.

UT should be a solid favorite against the Hilltoppers. However, the gap between the two programs has narrowed since Tennessee beat them 63-7 four years ago.

The image gap is just as significant, though. It’s still the Sun Belt vs. the SEC.

That’s not the only reason a loss would be devastating to new coach Butch Jones’ program.

Western Kentucky also has a new coach — a more famous new coach, in fact.

If not for an ill-advised motorcycle ride with a questionable blonde passenger, Bobby Petrino would still be the coach at Arkansas.

No one questions Petrino’s coaching ability. He had great success at both Louisville and Arkansas. He’s one of the best offensive coaches in the country.

And he clearly makes Western Kentucky a more dangerous team than it might have been with a lesser coach.

Petrino won’t have nearly as much to work with offensively this season at Western Kentucky as he did with his last Arkansas team in 2011.

But he didn’t have many offensive weapons in 2008 when he took over the Razorbacks. Nonetheless, an offense severely lacking in talent averaged better than 25 points during the last seven games.

His first Western Kentucky team has to find a new quarterback, but returns three starters on the offensive line and has an exceptional all-around running back in Antonio Andrews.

Defensively, the Hilltoppers must replace their front four, but their starting secondary and linebacking corps return intact.

And they will play UT right before the Vols play back-to-back road games against nationally ranked Oregon and Florida.

No matter what looms ahead, the Vols would be foolish to overlook anyone after three consecutive seven-loss seasons. If they compare scores from last season and add the Petrino factor, Western Kentucky should hold their attention.

The Hilltoppers were good enough to beat Kentucky in Lexington in overtime last season. Tennessee downed Kentucky by 20 at Neyland Stadium.

Western Kentucky defeated conference-rival Troy 31-26 on the road. Tennessee topped Troy 55-48 at Neyland Stadium.

Almost losing to a Sun Belt team was bad enough. Losing to one would constitute a new low.

© 2013 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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