Death, taxes and Bobby Petrino

I had a friend in college whose confidence was rivaled by his utter lack of self-control. He could talk to anyone, said outrageous things, and acted on behalf of his own self-interest without repercussions. At the time I thought he was pretty cool, but looking back, it was clear the guy was a dick.

He didn’t stay that way, of course, with age and added wisdom most of us learn to shake off the veil of our obnoxious youth. Still, there remains a few who maintain this entitled mantle, given chance after chance despite acting like Peter Pans of douchebaggery.

Bobby Petrino is such a person.

It was announced today that Petrino, a winning college football coach who is a proven loser in just about every other aspect in life, will return to Louisville to coach the program he spurned eight years ago.

How can . . . what did they . . . did they not . . .

Someone needs to tell Louisville officials the last 10 years of Petrino’s life actually happened, that it wasn’t a dream. His name is not Bobby EWING.

Is this where we’re at in college football, where a BCS-winning football program re-hires a scoundrel who has left nothing but embarrassment in his wake? Is there a finite allotment of football coaches allowed? Have we reached it? Does that mean Lane Kiffin is coming back to Tennessee?

Let’s see. In the past decade Petrino:

• Interviewed in secret for the Auburn job after his first year at Louisville in a bid to take the job held at the time by Tommy Tuberville, Petrino’s mentor and the man who hired him at Auburn several years earlier.

• Bolted Louisville for the Atlanta Falcons six months after signing a 10-year contract extension with the Cardinals. “For me and for my family, Louisville is home,” Petrino said after signing the contract.

• Compiled a 3-10 record during his season with the Falcons, slithering to Arkansas after 10 months on the job. He told Falcons players he was leaving by placing a laminated note on their lockers.

• Was fired from Arkansas after he lied about the details of a motorcycle accident, which revealed his affair with a former Razorback volleyball player who was offered preferential treatment in the Arkansas football program. And a $20,000 gift. Insert joke here.

• Managed to get another coaching job in Western Kentucky, where he said “I hope it can be as long as possible,” before leaving 13 months later to return back to Louisville.

It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. It’s a shame the Southern Cal job was filled, Petrino could have applied for it next week.

(Sigh.)

I watched plenty of games during the bowl season, which as it turned out was one of the better ones I’ve seen in recent years, and perked up when the universities showed off their commercials. Each 30-second spot touted the school’s academic prowess, and as strong as some of these schools are (Stanford, Michigan, Duke), this year the commercials felt wildly out of place. College football is not a higher calling where athletics and academics meld together in a perfect stew: College football is a factory built on dollars and wins and littered with broken bodies and hollow promises.

Which makes Bobby Petrino right at home.

So good luck Louisville, maybe you finally found your coach (again). But from here you look like a former volleyball player holding on for dear life on the back of a motorcycle, hoping the road doesn’t start to turn.