Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 12/10/11

RENTON, WA - JANUARY 12: Pete Carroll answers questions at a press conference announcing his hiring as the new head coach of the Seattle Seahawks on January 12, 2010 at the Seahawks training facility in Renton, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

UCLA reportedly has hired an ex-NFL head coach to lead its football program. Big whoop.

Has a program with so many apparent built-in advantages ever come off more radioactive than UCLA has during this latest coaching search? (OK, besides UCLA's last coaching searches?)

The Bruins went through public flirtations with Chris Petersen, Al Golden, Kevin Sumlin and Steve Sarkisian before settling on Jim Mora Jr., he of the 31-33 lifetime NFL record. Do a Twitter search for "Mora" and you'll see just how underwhelmed the college football world is with this hire.

Of course, the glass-half-full crowd will make the easy analogy to Pete Carroll's tenure at USC. Southen Cal AD Mike Garrett took plenty of heat at the time for picking Carroll, an NFL wash-out, after striking out with a series of other candidates. That turned out pretty well for the Trojans.

The big difference between Carroll then and Mora now: culture. USC and UCLA are both located in the same city, but when it comes to tradition and dedication to building a winning football program, the two schools might as well be on different planets.

UCLA's cross-town rivals have been hamstrung during the last two years by some of the most severe NCAA sanctions in recent memory. Yet, the Bruins have yet to show any signs of even making a dent in the Trojans' stranglehold on L.A.

Everyone knows it. It's why a school located smack-dab in the middle of one of the nation's most bountiful recruiting bread baskets couldn't lure a coach away from Boise, Idaho, or a program that is currently facing the threat of major sanctions from the NCAA.

The skepticism about Mora himself is warranted. Aside from a run to the NFC Championship Game in 2004, his resume as a head coach is unimpressive. If that's not enough, he has the kind of prickly personality that is only tolerable in winners.

But Mora's coaching acumen is really a moot point. UCLA has shown little interest in building a top-tier football program in the past. Unless that changes, taking that job is like voluntarily going to coaching jail.

Mora could be the next Carroll, but we'll likely never know.

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