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Coaching WKU is part of his punishment, administered by the Football Bowl Championship schools that had openings but passed. Their hesitancy is a lack of nerve more than anything else. They’ll be much more courageous after Petrino exhibits good behavior with the Hilltoppers.

They know he will, and we know he will. He would do likewise in the SEC, starting today, considering the public humiliation he’s been through. “At this point in my career, it’s about getting back and coaching players,” he said.

Soon enough, he’ll do that at the highest level. Big-time schools that make him wait a few years aren’t fooling anyone.

They’re just not as open about their priorities as Western Kentucky.