Jurich talks about BIG EAST, Petrino rumors

Tom Jurich spoke candidly Wednesday afternoon about moving to the BIG EAST in 2004 and also addressed rumors about Coach Bob Petrino and the still occupied job at Auburn.

Tom Jurich spoke candidly about the possibility of Louisville's move to the BIG EAST next year and addressed rumors concerning Bobby Petrino being connected with the potential opening at Auburn.

Jurich indicated that a scenario in which Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida would join the BIG EAST beginning next season is a distinct possibility, while Marquette and DePaul would remain members of C-USA until 2005.

"I think you can look at this as maybe the football's only the first year simply because they're losing three football programs," Jurich said. "And then maybe the two basketball schools the following year because I don't think it's as immediate a concern for them like it is for us."

If U of L were to move to the BIG EAST conference next year, matters of scheduling would need to be addressed and worked out satisfactorily. But Jurich indicated those details aren't an immediate concern.

"I don't think anybody can say you have to have it [scheduling] done by December 1, January 1," Jurich said. "I think if this thing can move ahead as quickly as possible then I think you could make it work. If both leagues would get together and make the scheduling work out then smarter heads will prevail. The good thing is they have three open spots next year and you could maybe just fill those voids and jump in and the schedule is already made."

In recent days, rumors linking Louisville's Bobby Petrino with the potential job opening at Auburn have intensified. But Jurich said it's not so much about the sweetening the deal as it is about the security and support Louisville can provide to both Petrino and his family.

"It's not sweetening his deal," Jurich said "Bobby knew the deal. He was going to be rewarded regardless. I'm hoping that our community is what Bobby wants. I'm hoping the family is excited as we are to have him. And I'm hoping that he loves his job as much as he seems to. And I think all those things come into play. I just want to make sure this a great job for him and we'll do everything in our power to keep him and he knows that. I'll stand with him every inch of the way."

What's it say that Auburn is ready to put Coach Tommy Tubberville on ice following three strong years in which the Tigers won or finished second in the SEC's Western Division?

"Well I can't imagine they're very bright down there if they're going to let this guy go after what he's done the last three years," Jurich explained. "And they're talking about him being expendable? That's rather strange. It wouldn't intrique me, I can tell you that."

With John L. Smith leaving for Michigan State less than a year ago and considering the rumors now involving Petrino, the question begs: Can Louisville ever be more than a stepping stone to a bigger job.

"I think we can get there," Jurich said "Am I going to say this is the best job in the country? Well I think it is right now. Certainly Bobby recognizes our commitment to it or he would have never come in the first place. I don't beleive he's looking to move. I think that he wanted a place to come to raise his family and put his name behind a program. And he certainly can do that. He can put his signature on this program."

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