But the UCLA community is also a bit anxious about the prospect of UCLA missing on Petersen. What happens then?
The current list of candidates, the ones we listed in the Coaching Hot Board: Edition #1 (which are the ones that are currently under consideration legtimately, not just a random list fabricated by the media), doesn't seem very developed in terms of other big-named coaches that would be considered if Petersen doesn't happen.
I believe there's an explanation for that.
I think UCLA is focused right now strictly on getting Petersen. At this time, it's taking up all of UCLA's concentration and energy, and understandably so.
If, then, the deal doesn't happen with Petersen, I think UCLA re-boots the coaching search. For what it has to offer now, upward of $4 million a year, $2 million for assistants, facility upgrades, etc., they'll be able to attract some pretty reputable and proven coaching candidates. And I think the word is just starting to get out in the college football coaching community that UCLA is, actually for the first time, ready to step up to the financial and commitment plate. So, I think the approach would be to re-boot, work on developing a list of real candidates, and go from there.
I think the first guy they'd want to interview would be Houston's Kevin Sumlin. I know the UCLA powers-that-be like Sumlin, but I dont think, if they missed on Petersen, they'd immediately turn around and offer Sumlin and take him without some due process, vetting, interviews, etc. If Sumlin doesn't want to wait during a name-and-interest-gathering and interview period (since it does appear that he's he's a hot commodity right now), I don't think UCLA would hastily take him without checking out the candidate landscape.
So, the list is short, and falls off precipitously after Peterson. But I really believe that if UCLA missed on Petersen, the list would expand considerably -- and quickly.