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December 4, 2012

Is Cal Getting An NFL Coach?

Three weeks since firing the winningest coach in Cal history, the Bears are still without a new football head coach. The field has been trimmed to nine candidates and the search will reportedly wrap up today, leaving the Bears with the matter of making an actual hire.

Helping us weigh the likelihood that either of the two NFL candidates -- Cincinnati assistant Hue Jackson and Carolina head coach Ron Rivera -- are roaming the Memorial Stadium sidelines in 2013: Yahoo! Sports NFL Expert Eric Adelson.

Rivals: What are the chances Hue leaves Cincinnati?

Eric Adelson: Seventy-five percent. If he was offered the job, I think it's high. Most of his career he was in college, he was a head coach in the NFL once, and I think he probably didn't get the amount of time in the situation he would've liked. And he's got a chance to build something. Obviously Cal's not starting from nothing, but the Raiders, they were sort of built for him. This is something he can put his own stamp on. He's a mentor type coach, he's really close to Ray Lewis, who's like a son to him. I imagine he would want to replicate that at a college program.

Rivals: Why would he take the Cal job?

Adelson: I think Los Angeles is a big deal, he's from there, and he proved he can own it. You have to do that in the state of California. UCLA is a power, USC is still USC, the Pac-12 has new coaches like [Rich] Rodriguez, Jim Mora. Obviously everybody is going to go to LA, even though Northern California has great talent too, it's hard to win without winning Los Angeles prep, and he's from there, and he can do it. He probably has a better chance to own LA as a coach and recruiter more than anyone else on the board.

Rivals: Why wouldn't he take the Cal job?

Adelson: Um. Cincinnati, they're a pretty good team, you see how they've succeeded, how they've grown. Marvin Lewis, obviously they have history together, working pretty well, and things are pretty comfortable. It's possible he just wants to be an NFL coach. He probably didn't feel fulfilled with his chance with the Raiders. I do think he might get another head coaching gig. He might think going back to college might negate that.

Rivals: What kind of recruiter has he been?

Adelson: Pretty good, his resume is extremely long, he really wasn't on people's radar's until recently.

Rivals: Do you think he could recruit California?

Adelson: It's never easy, but he is credible in LA immediately because of his NFL background. He can call up Ray Lewis and say 'give a speech to my team', and he would probably get some players on the team fired up and calling and texting recruits.

Rivals: What about Rivera, what are the chances he leaves Carolina?

Adelson: Thirty percent. Simply because I sort of see him more as a pro. I don't know that he's going to want to jump straight to a college team after getting his first head coaching job. That team is better than people give him credit for. And he's not a quitter. I mean, he's got Cam Newton. I don't think he wants to be someone who leaves Cam Newton, and then watches them become a turnaround team, and Cam Newton's named the MVP. Their record stinks, but it's early. Again, I understand the pull of college. But he has already made headway, more than people think.

Rivals: Why would he take the Cal job?

Adelson: If he's fired. And wants a job. It's like Jack Del Rio, everyone says 'oh, he'd be a great college coach', but he never left Jacksonville, never went to college even though people say 'oh he's going to go to USC'. I just think it's too soon. I think if he's got tools there he wants to write a great story, and he's not done writing it yet.

Rivals: Why wouldn't he take the Cal job?

Adelson: He's got Cam Newton. I don't leave Cam Newton after two years. You can spend a lot of years at Cal and never have a guy like him. It seems like college would always be there, why not take a chance? Like, for instance, even with a second bad year, I just don't think someone like Mike Shanahan for instance is going to say 'I'm going to go coach University of Colorado'.

Rivals: What kind of recruiter has he been?

Adelson: I think Hue Jackson would be a little better. Both for the most part are soft-spoken, but I feel Hue is a little better. Get a sense he inspires, not that Rivera doesn't, but he feels more like a college coach. He's really powerful with players.

Rivals: Do you think he could recruit California?

Adelson: Coming from the NFL you always do, that's where people want to go. When you can start a story in a recruit's house with 'when I coached Cam Newton...' If you're a young person, you have very positive feelings about Cam, want to be the next Cam Newton.

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