Well, here we go.
After months of Internet speculation, we finally have some hard evidence that former Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino could become Joker Phillips' replacement at Kentucky.
The Courier-Journal's Adam Himmelsbach spoke with Petrino's father on Wednesday, and Bob Petrino Sr. confirmed that his son is both aware of the situation at Kentucky and interested in the position.
"I just know this, that he's interested in Kentucky," the father said. "He wants to stay in the SEC. That was his life's goal was to go to the SEC."
If it happened, the Petrino-to-Kentucky storyline would be eerily reminiscent of Louisville's hiring of former UK basketball coach Rick Pitino a little over a decade ago. Pitino spearheaded one of the most memorable periods in the history of Wildcat basketball, while Petrino was the frontman for Cardinal football during the program's most successful stretch to date.
From 2003-2006, Petrino went 41-9 at U of L and led the Cards to their only BCS appearance, an Orange Bowl victory that capped a 12-1 season in '06. Louisville finished No. 6 in the AP poll in both 2004 and 2006.
Petrino Sr. believes his son could have similar success at Louisville's arch-rival.
"I think he'd win there," he said. "He can win. He's proven that. He went to Arkansas and I don't think he ever had, by the experts, a class of recruiting that was in the top 10. And the last year he coached there he won 11 games, and the year before that he won 10, so he has his own way of recruiting and judging people."
If this were to happen, some bad blood from the past would have to be pushed aside by both parties.
Many people at UK voiced displeasure when Louisville scored a meaningless touchdown late in their victory over the Wildcats in Petrino's first season. He defeated Kentucky three more times, and never made too many friends in Lexington.
As for Petrino's thoughts on UK during his stint in the Derby City, who could forget these stories from the CC archives.
Coach Petrino's second year, week 2, I am grabbing a package for him from UPS, and he wants it inside his office. I run it up, set it down, and turn to walk off and he says "wait, open it up." So I turn and open the box and pull out a poster-sized frame with a picture of the Louisville-Kentucky scoreboard from the previous week. He had me hold it up, walk back to the wall, and then yelled for Paul Petrino to come into his office.
This thing was heavy and I am holding it up and waiting. Paul comes in and they stand at his desk where Bobby reads the score out loud: "Louisville 28, Slapdicks nothing. I f*&$ing love it, those little smurfs didn't even score a point." They looked at me and said, "that is what winners do, kick their ass." He told me to set it down where he could look at it and as I was leaving he grabbed me and said "get used to it, we are going to kick their ass every year."
Bobby Petrino's record against UK: 4-0.
And of course...
Coach Petrino absolutely hates UK.
His first game as head coach for UofL is against Kentucky and in Lexington in 2003. He is already not happy because the game has been delayed for an hour and a half because of rain. It was a back and forth game, but we pulled out ahead in the fourth quarter. We go on a long drive to end the game. We get to UK's two yard line with I think about 6 seconds left. A timeout is called (I can't remember which team called it.) UK thinks we are going to kneel it because we already had a lead. This doesn't happen.
I worked up in the coach's box with the headsets that year and I always set up a headset so I could listen to what Coach Petrino was saying. At this particular moment he tells Paul Petrino and the rest of the offensive coaches, "Let's punch it in on these mother f------ers!!" Coach P calls a running play and Lionel Gates runs it in for a TD to end the game.
That would certainly be an interesting job interview.