As their rivals to the southwest continue on their quest for a Rose Bowl, the California Golden Bears are in the process of sweeping up the last bits of debris from Jeff Tedford’s dashed legacy. Athletic director Sandy Barbour is faced with an unenviable job: she must find the right coach to turn her football program around while doing it in a timely enough manner for the Bears’ recruiting to survive the search. She’s no doubt working the phone as I write this (oh, how some of us would love to be a fly on the wall for that process), so in the interim we can only speculate as to who the replacement will be. Luckily for us, some intriguing names are starting to float around.

Hue Jackson

Jackson has become quite the polarizing figure around the Bay Area even though the ex-Raiders head coach is coaching defensive backs in Cincinnati now. Some commenters on this website have made clear that they don’t want Jackson holding a clipboard for the Bears, which is understandable. He fumbled in some important moments as Oakland’s head coach last year, but a big reason for the team’s failure could be injuries. Jackson is a pretty boisterous personality, but that might bode well for recruiting. He knows the Bay Area — more specifically the East Bay after his tenures as a Cal assistant and Raiders head coach — and he expressed interest in the job last week. According to Jeff Faraudo of the San Jose Mercury News:

Jackson, who led the Raiders to an 8-8 record in 2011, his only season as head coach in Oakland, believes Cal’s potential has a high ceiling.

“I think they can be as good as they want to be,” he said.

“They should have an opportunity to compete for the Pac-12 championship, BCS bowls, the national championship. Why not Cal?”

Chris Petersen

Here’s a name that gets spit-balled nearly every time a head coaching job opens up. Petersen is 82-8 in his seven-year tenure at Boise State, and that success has warranted interest from all angles. Bay Area Duck Guy has mentioned that the only two jobs that would lure Petersen away from the Smurf turf are Oregon and Cal, but it appears Oregon may have a job vacancy of their own soon with Chip Kelly likely headed to the NFL. Although the talent pool should be considerably deeper in Eugene, the amount of control will be lesser with several assistant coaches, including defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, staying put. Petersen should have a lot of control at Berkeley in terms of hand picking his assistants, and his mentor Jim Sochor thinks it’s a great fit.

“He’d be great at Cal. He has all the requisites that Cal would be looking for,” Sochor said. He noted the changing landscape in Boise as a reason for Petersen’s possible departure, but believes that when it comes to UC Berkeley, “It all fits.”

Mike MacIntyre

There has been only fan and media speculation about MacIntyre up to this point, but he could be a perfect fit for the Bears if he was willing to make the move north. San Jose State was 2-10 before he showed up in town; now they’re 10-2 and the 25th ranked team in the nation. Sandy Barbour cited “the importance of academics” in her post-mortem press conference, and understandably so, as Cal had a graduation success rate of 54% in 2011 and they ranked 11th in the Pac-12 in academic progress rate. MacIntyre improved San Jose State to the point where their 2011 APR was just beneath Stanford.

Again, it’s all speculative, but at this point MacIntyre is an option that fans couldn’t be mad at.

Gary Andersen

The Utah State coach has done wonders creating a competitive team out of the Aggies, now 10-2 and champions of the WAC. They did well handling all of the lesser-known competition on their schedule, and the two marks in the loss column were close ones against Division-I schools: a 16-14 defeat in Wisconsin and a 6-3 barn burner at BYU. The question with Andersen is whether he is a big enough name to impress the fans and donors, but a sources say Cal has already contacted Andersen about their head job.