By Conner Farrell —
The burning question that has remained the talk of the 2018 Cardinal football season has been: Is it time to cut ties with head coach Bobby Petrino?
U of L football currently sits at 2-7 and without a win in the ACC. The team was also dealt a 77-16 shellacking by the No. 2 Clemson Tigers.
The Tigers’ 77 points were the second most points scored on Louisville in school history, following only a defeat suffered in 1932 to Murray State when the Racers hung 105.
In addition, the 61-point margin of defeat is the largest since 1941 when U of L lost to Vanderbilt.
Aside from a loss of historic proportions, it seems as though Petrino has fumbled not only the locker room but his hold on recruiting as well.
Louisville’s 2019 recruiting class currently ranks 70th and may fall further after two recruits dropped commitments this past week. This fast-sinking ship in the recruiting world puts at stake the Cards’ chances to excel in an improving ACC conference.
One of the biggest knocks on Petrino this season is putting together a seemingly inept staff. The 2018 stint is the third season in a row in which the Cardinals have a new defensive coordinator on the sidelines and the lack of production is clearly shown on the field.
U of L’s final three games each feature opponents that are currently top-25 in the college football playoffs rankings: No. 19 Syracuse, No. 21 NC State and No. 9 Kentucky.
It is highly unlikely that Louisville secures anymore victories this season, and it seems that they will finish with their worst win total since 1997 when the program eked out one victory.
With the writing on the wall for the school to move on from its head coach, the other biggest question of the issue is Petrino’s contract buyout.
In 2016, Petrino signed an extension through 2023 with contract stipulations set in place in terms of a buyout. In the simplest of terms, if Petrino is fired without cause (i.e. losing too many games and not having a hold on the production of play on the field) U of L could owe him up to 14.1 million dollars.
In a radio interview on 790KRD this past week, athletic director Vince Tyra said he wants to make a decision on a coaching change before Dec. 19.
“Yes, I think you have to,” Tyra said.
Football’s final matchup of the season comes at home on Nov. 24 against the Wildcats. Based on Tyra’s statement, Cardinal fans will find out the fate of Petrino less than a month after the rivalry game.
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File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal