TONY VANETTI: National Signing Day came and went, and even though it looked like it was going to be a pretty bad day for yâ€™all, Stoops pulled out a pretty good class. Louisville did the same. Of course the misstep with the gray shirt kid added to the excitement for the week.
MATT JONES: Itâ€™s odd because the fan base seemed to have almost no expectation. Two weeks out Kentucky looked like it was going to get the 25th ranked class and Louisville the 45th ranked class. Then in the last few weeks Kentuckyâ€™s class got worse, and Louisvilleâ€™s better, and they essentially have the same class. There were fans who were happy, and those who were upset and it just goes to show you how much life is based on your expectations. People have a different view of the classes, simply because of how they thought it was going to be before.
VANETTI: Well there is no doubt. I am as good a husband as my wife expects me to be. The problem with your analogy, and also why itâ€™s right on, is because in the ACC that class is going to perform better than your comparable class is going to perform in the SEC.
JONES: Thatâ€™s true, but I could also look at it and say that youâ€™re coming off a 9-3 season and Kentucky is coming off two straight 2-win seasons and a 5-win season, so itâ€™s kind of amazing that anybody wants to go there. But let me ask you this. Were you surprised how big the â€œBobby Petrino Pulls A Scholarshipâ€ story got? Iâ€™m a big major league Bobby Petrino disliker, but I was a little surprised at how huge that story got.
VANETTI: I was shocked at the outcry over the gray-shirt story. Iâ€™m totally with everyone, it was bad timing, it was a misstep by the administration, but I was shocked that every single news outlet in America took a shot at Bobby and UofL over a gray-shirt situation. It did not help that the high school coach for this kid came out swinging at the coaching staff.
JONES: It hasnâ€™t stopped. Today it was on the front page of CNN.com and it has now transcended the realm of sports to news. Hereâ€™s what I think though. The fallout is always going to be worse when people think that it corresponds with your personality. Like Brian Williams for example, people like Brian Williams, but theyâ€™ve always thought that he was maybe a little too cute for a news anchor. Then this story comes out and people jump all over him. Same thing with Bobby, heâ€™s not the first person to do it, but the cause corresponds with the vision of him, which is that heâ€™s a jerk and that makes it go even further.
VANETTI: Look, in no way am I comparing him to Petrino to Cal, but the media love to have punching bags, and they love to go after guys when they misstep. There are plenty of Calipari haters out there, and youâ€™ve spoken about this for years. The second that it smells that Calipari is doing something fishy, they are out in droves.
JONES: The difference though is that there are people who like Calipari. But who likes Bobby outside of Louisville? He has no defenders, which is amazing. Have you seen anybody outside of the Louisville home media defend him even a little bit?
VANETTI: No, because itâ€™s so competitive right now. When youâ€™re signing players itâ€™s pretty competitive. But you donâ€™t see a lot of coaches or former players going out against him. Former coaches like coaching with him. Heâ€™s an old school football type guy.
JONES: Well, this is a good dose of karma because I didnâ€™t think the outrage was big enough when he got hired. It should have been much more. It was unbelievable to me that Louisville did that, and they are getting now what they probably deserved when Petrino was first hired. But Iâ€™ll say this â€“ at UofL as long you win nothing else I donâ€™t think matters.
VANETTI: But thatâ€™s true across the rest of the United States.
JONES: No, I donâ€™t think so and there is a reason why Bobbyâ€™s first job after Arkansas was Western Kentucky. Because I think he was toxic. I donâ€™t think there was a major program who would hire him. Just like with Rick Pitino, he would not have survived his scandal anywhere else except Louisville.
VANETTI: There are some parts of that I would agree with, and UofL is now, whether we like it or not theyâ€™re Second Chance U. Rick, Bobby, Michael Dyer, the Fields kid, Louisville are Second Chance U.