Just one offseason ago, there was quite a lot of hype surrounding the Louisville football program. With substantially less hype this offseason following a relatively disappointing 2017, the reputation of Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino has seemingly taken a hit.
CBS Sports is releasing a ranking of all Power Five coaches this week, and Petrino popped up at No. 29 on the list. While that’s above average, it’s 16 spots behind where he was last season.
Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports placed Petrino at No. 13 among all Power 5 coaches heading into 2017. Here’s his explanation behind the much lower ranking this offseason:
Taking tumble following an 8-5 season in 2017 and a 4-4 mark in ACC play, Petrino is barely inside the top 30. Personally, I wonder if Louisville has reached its ceiling in the ACC Atlantic under Petrino considering it only went 17-9 with one of the most electric players in the sport at QB the last two seasons.
Petrino has won at least 10 games four times in his coaching career, including twice at Louisville, but none of them have come since 2011. He led the Cardinals to 11 and 12 wins during the 2004 and 2006 seasons, respectively, but since returning to Louisville for a second stint in 2014, he’s either won eight or nine games every year.
While a program such as Louisville shouldn’t take for granted winning seasons and appearances in the Belk or Music City Bowl, Fornelli is correct to question where the program is headed next without quarterback Lamar Jackson. Dating back to the end of 2016, the Cardinals went just 8-8 in Jackson’s final 16 games.