UCLA coaching update; Sumlin the target?

EUGENE, OR – Boise State football coach Chris Petersen removed himself from consideration for the UCLA job and the school is now turning its attention to Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, according to a source close to the situation.

Sumlin’s name has been linked to the Arizona State opening, but the Sun Devils abruptly ended their pursuit of him Friday.

Sumlin has also been rumored to be a candidate for the Texas A&M job, after the Aggies fired Mike Sherman.

However, UCLA is expected to make a serious run at Sumlin, according to the source, and he is clearly their top choice. Sumlin has led the Cougars to a 12-0 record and a No. 6 ranking behind Heisman hopeful quarterback Case Keenum, the most prolific passer in FBS history. UCLA administration got a good look at Sumlin over the last two years, as the Bruins have played Houston the previous two years, splitting the games.

Should Sumlin decline, the source indicated UCLA would have to move onto a second-tier group of candidates, although there is no indication that such a list has been compiled yet.

The source also said that former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti was never a legitimate candidate for the job and that UCLA is not expected to alter that stance.

Petersen, who has led Boise State to a 71-6 record in six years, was UCLA’s preferred choice, and was offered the job and a contract in the ballpark of $4 million, but withdrew himself from consideration. Peterson has been linked to numerous coaching searches during the past two years, including the current opening at North Carolina.