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UCLA Football Loves Chris Petersen, But They Should Be Cautious

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The UCLA Bruins coaching position will be a fascinating one to follow these next few weeks. There'll be lots of names bandied about, and of course the most prominent one will be Chris Petersen of the Boise St. Broncos.

Yes, there's Mike Leach, but Leach has no chance to last in Westwood, and everyone outside of the big UCLA dreamers knows he has no chance.  In terms of practical options, Petersen is as pragmatic as they come. He scrounges the best talent out of California that no one else finds, looks all over the rest of the country for the remaining parts, and dominates almost every team not named TCU during the regular season. He has a pedigree that's just too tough to ignore.

Still, UCLA might want to temper their Petersen love-fest just a bit. If the Rick Neuheisel-led Bruins played in the MWC they'd probably win a majority of their games too (except the road ones. Those scared them.). Also, the difference between recruiting for Boise and recruiting for UCLA are about as different as Persephone and Hades. Petersen couldn't accept just anyone into his program; he'd have to adjust for academic services and stronger compliance programs, he'd have to do all the things that Chris Petersen didn't do to make him successful at Boise. It's a bit of a stretch to think he can make that leap accordingly.

Most noticeably is that the Boise syndrome has already claimed two strong candidates. Dirk Koetter and Dan Hawkins enjoyed great success with the Broncos, then both went onto prominent West Coast jobs and failed, failed, failed. There's no reason to think Petersen won't do the same if he leaves. He might have performed better than his contemporaries and has some good bowl success to his name, but it'll be a drastically different lifestyle.

Petersen probably recognizes that history too. Why take the risk when he's already well-compensated at a program that will keep him for life if he keeps on churning out those undefeated/almost-undefeated seasons year after year? He's turned down high-priced opportunities at other major Division I programs to stay at Boise. What would make the Bruins drastically different from the other programs Petersen turned down?

UCLA could use a high-profile hire, but perhaps missing out on Petersen (as is likely to happen) would be a blessing in disguise. Clashes of cultures don't tend to gel out immediately, especially in college football.