Rumors are always fun. For instance, today's rumor mill is cranking out plenty of static that sounds a lot like Chris Petersen met with Florida officials while in Orlando for the ESPN College Football Awards banquet. If so, that's the first hint of any kind of meeting between Florida officials and a coach of any sort.
If he is on Florida's list, let's review the Petersen file, just in case the Boise State coach actually takes any offer Florida makes to become the new head coach in Gainesville.
WHY THIS MIGHT WORK FOR FLORIDA: Petersen just finished his fifth season at Boise and is sitting on a ludicrous 60-5 record as a head coach, despite coaching in near-Canada with a team full of mostly three-star recruits. Petersen is regarded as being the reason why Boise has been able to enter the national arena on multiple occasions, knock out opponents of allegedly superior caliber, and walk away whistling to their blue-carpeted Palace of Asskick with their head held high.
Petersen's offensive savvy is extensive and well-documented. He's beloved by his players, and has a knack for pushing two and three-star talent well past the perceived boundaries of their talent. He keeps a low-profile and is the very antithesis of a scene-chewing drama queen on the sidelines. (Here's your tiara, Mike Stoops.) His program has stayed off the police blotter for the most part, an advantage some might not be thinking about in terms of a Florida program with a bit of an image problem.* Petersen, unlike other Boise coaches in the past, has built a defense to match their explosive offense, and pays attention to special teams, as well.
The timing may be advantageous, too. All coaches are ambitious. Chris Petersen is a coach. Therefore, Chris Petersen is ambitious, and may have reached a point of real frustration with being excluded from national competition at Boise because of their non-AQ status. This may be a more compelling argument to Petersen than any amount of money in the end: the opportunity to compete for national titles every year without the BS of the BCS system interfering with business.
WHY THIS MIGHT NOT WORK: Petersen's done a brilliant job at Boise State, but the question to ask is: would he even listen to Florida? Getting Petersen to the table will be the first and biggest challenge of all. Petersen's famous for never talking about offers period, going so far as to evade search firms' attempts to ask him question one about his basic contract details. He's made it abundantly clear that in addition to being a Westerner, he's also particularly happy in Boise.
The next question is fit. Boise is small, and Petersen enjoys an intense but loyal following from Boise State players. Florida fans are intense, but loyal they aren't: cannibalism is the rule in the SEC in general, and in Gainesville the proverbial microscope goes up to "electron-microscope-level detail." Petersen would be a low-key bro working in a fiercely contested piece of turf. Accepting any overtures from Florida must also acknowledge the culture shock he'll experience coming into a drastically different environment from the current cozy spot he enjoys in Idaho.
Finally, there's recruiting. Petersen has no background recruiting in the SEC, and the fortunes of former Boise State coaches Dirk Koetter and Dan Hawkins don't bode well for test cases on what happens when Bronco coaches are asked to find talent elsewhere. In a conference where the word "cutthroat" winces away in fear from the ugly scene of recruiting, it's a legitimate question to ask when considering a coach whose bona fides are otherwise spotless.