The ugly reality. Hope I'm wrong.
Ask yourself question 1. After Chianti Dan announced that UCLA was ready to pour millions more dollars a year into our football program for coaches and better facilities, has any top tier coach (fill in the blank) stepped forward or hinted in any way that he is the least bit interested?
As far as we know, even in the rumor mill, not one. How can that be? This is fricking UCLA, right, a sleeping giant, right? We know it is, but that doesn't mean others know it.
How can that be? What is the problem? The 800 pound problem in the room is obvious. It is Chianti Dan. This Humpty Dumpty has fallen down and crashed the UCLA football and basketball programs with him. Based on his ten years of non-performance and outright stupidity, nobody wants to work for him or trusts anything he or our Chancellor says about truly committing to the program. So even with millions of filthy lucre on the table for a Head Coach we are begging for any top tier guy to come, and so far none have. And none probably will.
At least as long as the Vespa Clown is still around, which is why the most important thing UCLA can do to get a great next coach is to fire Chianti Dan. Replace him with an interim AD immediately, perhaps someone with a passion bucket and a former football coach, and the message will ring out loud and clear. We are, not we want to be, we are, a football school with a football AD.
Of course, this ain't gonna' happen with Chancellor Blockhead, so the chances of our getting a top tier coach are just about zero.
Ask yourself question 2. Is this unusual for a PAC 12 team? Not really.
Let's just look at recent history. It's very hard, really unheard of, for top tier coaches to go West. Remember, the vast majority of people live in the relatively congested East, to the "right" of the Mississippi River. Their loyalties, lives and familiarity are there.
So look at SUC and Stanford, for example, recently. Who wanted to go to SUC with all of its NCAA problems? The top guys turned them down. They went to their fourth choice, a former program assistant with a very mixed record as a newer Head Coach and they got lucky (so far). Who'd they get before? Paul Hackett? Larry what's his name?
How about Stanford the year before CRN? They canned an up and comer from Pitt, Walt Harris, and had to find a diamond-in-the-rough experiment from Division II named Jim Harbaugh who, IIRC, never won more than 8 games a year only to move on to the NFL. So now with a brand new stadium and lots of dough and a new commitment to football they go after a top tier coach, Chris Petersen, and he blows them off. Welcome in-house offensive coordinator David Shaw.
Ask yourself question 3. How did Wazzoo and Arizona get top tier coaches? The guys they chose, Leach and Rodriguez, have been tarnished. They have intangible risks which makes them the exception to the norm. Personally, I would have been thrilled with Leach, not so much with Rodriguez. And both of those schools don't have the 800 pound gorilla that we have. Their ADs clearly know wtf they are doing. Ours is clueless.
Ask yourself question 4. What is the ugly reality? Absent someone who has been tarnished, the chances of us getting a top tier coach are slim and none, because our program is in shambles, our facilities suck and we are stuck with Chianti Dan. The only person that I can think of who fits in that category is Jim Tressel, the disgraced coach of Ohio State.
[Believe me, I would love a John Gruden or Jeff Fisher (NFL detractors aside) or a Mike Dantonio, or a Dan Mullen or Kirby Smart, a knock-your socks off hire that would electrify college football and have youngsters salivating to play at UCLA. Ain't gonna' happen with this crew.]
The best we can hope for is Tressel. Personally, I think Tressel has been humiliated and punished plenty. The underlying transgression, the tattoo stuff and selling personal stuff, is relatively minor, but he did lie for some time, and had some problems it seems wherever he coached. We just didn't know. But again, he has been fired and humiliated, in addition to serving a five game suspension. I believe in second chances and redemption, too. Nor do I see UCLA as a school that tolerates compliance problems. So, he is most likely the only truly top tier coach we have a chance to get. I'm fine with it, bit it ain't gonna' happen. The blue-blood image makers will not allow it.
Ask yourself question 5. Who does that leave? It's the second tier, either relatively unproven up and comers, older has-beens, fish out of water NFLers or familiar, former assistant coaches. There could be a great coach in all four categories, but it is more of a crapshoot. I doubt many of us believe the Morgan Center crowd has the brains or the skill to find the right guy. Certainly, the pathetic, failed fawning over Petersen and Sumlin make us just cringe at the next, inevitable, doofus misstep.
At this point my only hope is that whomever they choose, they demand excellence, someone who has proven himself in some significant way already even though they are not top tier, but they have proven they can or have done it at some time, like a Fitzgerald or a Fedora from the up and comers, like a Belotti or perhaps a Mike Riley from the older set, like a Mariucci or maybe a Mora from the NFLers. But given our history, don't be surprised if we go with a former assistant like Mike Johnson or Dwayne Walker. That is so UCLA.
These are the most likely types to be hired IMO. Some I could live with. Some make me cringe. Fire Dan, however, and our chances of getting someone really good improve immediately and exponentially. That by itself would prove we are serious.
Most likely, Belotti, who I think would be solid and potentially a great bridge to the future. He has a record of recruiting and identifying great assistant coaches, won about 68% of his games, beat SUC, won over ten games many times. I know he is called a retread by some, but if he has the fire in his belly, like Bill Snyder at KSU, he will fight like hell to prove his critics wrong.
Most perverse, Steve Sarkisian of Washington, who I think would dedicate his life to beating SUC and destroying his "pal" Lame Kiffin. Offense is fine. Defense questionable, but with the right money he could get a real DC. I just love the mind game this would add to our rivalry.
Please, someone, tell me I'm wrong and this is all just a nightmare.