ASU Football: Mora decides to stay at UCLA, Pac-12 South to remain competitive

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Mora has reportedly withdrawn his name from consideration for the head coaching position at Texas.

One day after the University of Texas focused its coaching search squarely on UCLA head coach Jim Mora, Mora has reportedly withdrawn his name from consideration from one of the top jobs in the country.

CBSSports.com college football analyst Bruce Feldman reported on Friday morning that Mora had not been offered the Texas job, but decided to reaffirm his allegiance to the UCLA Bruins in the event that Texas came calling.

Mora was hired to coach the UCLA Bruins four days prior to Todd Graham's arrival at Arizona State in Dec. of 2011. In two seasons in Pasadena, Mora has led the Bruins to one Pac-12 South championship and an overall mark of 19-8.

The Bruins' mark is one game better than Arizona State's 18-9 record during Graham's two-year tenure, and Mora's decision to stay at UCLA ensures that the Pac-12 South will remain one of the most competitive divisions in college football.

Since Mora became the head coach at UCLA, the Sun Devils and the Bruins have each finished at the top of the Pac-12 South and have also competed for a number of valued recruits.

In 2013, Mora landed three recruits from the state of Arizona including two 4-star commits in cornerback Priest Willis and offensive lineman Kenny Lacy. The Bruins also secured the commitment of superstar Myles Jack, who made a visit to Arizona State during his recruiting process.

The Bruins do not have a pledge from Arizona for the class of 2014, but they do have a verbal commitment from 4-star cornerback Jaleel Wadood who was once an Arizona State commit.

Mora's decision to stay at UCLA guarantees that the Bruins and Sun Devils will remain highly competitive at the top of the Pac-12 South. Right now, each team has an upper hand on fellow Pac-12 South opponents, but Arizona and USC are closing in hard.

The Trojans' have a stable of young talent and a new coach in Steve Sarkisian who brought Washington back to prominence while the Wildcats own the top 2014 recruiting class in the Pac-12 as of Thursday.

If Mora decided to jump ship for Texas, UCLA might have had difficulties finding a replacement of his caliber. The Bruins' football facilities are in need of updates, and this year marked just the second 10-win season for UCLA since 1998. In fact, UCLA finished .500 or worse seven times in the 13 seasons prior to Mora's arrival.

Both Todd Graham and Jim Mora have brought new energy and life to the Pac-12 South and their success could make the division deeper than the Pac-12 North. Stanford and Oregon are the class of the entire conference, but impending four team races in the South could make for one of the most competitive atmospheres in college football.

Simply put, Jim Mora's presence at UCLA ensures that the Bruins will compete for a division title on an annual basis and vie for the state of Arizona's top talent on the recruiting trail. His decision to stay in Pasadena makes the Pac-12 a stronger conference, and means that the fun is just beginning in the Pac-12 South.

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