The Monday After: It sure is good to be Chip Kelly these days
A look at the weekend that was in the world of college football
It's good to be Chip Kelly right now. Chip Kelly has options.
Currently working as an ESPN analyst, Kelly has at least two schools currently fawning over him. According to reports, Florida was in New Hampshire on Sunday to meet with him and discuss its job. Kelly is supposed to be meeting with UCLA -- which just fired Jim Mora -- on Monday to discuss the Bruins job. If Kelly doesn't make a decision soon, other schools will come calling once they have openings as well.
I'm guessing that's what he's going to do, and I say "guessing" because I have no idea what is going through Chip Kelly's mind. I don't think many people do, as he can be quite unpredictable. Let's not forget what happened after the 2011 season at Oregon. Kelly's Ducks were fresh off their third straight Pac-12 title and had just won the Rose Bowl. He was about to leave for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Reports were that the contract had been all but signed and that Kelly would be announced as the new Bucs coach ... until the next morning, when Kelly changed his mind and decided to stay at Oregon for another season. He'd leave after 2012 for the Philadelphia Eagles, beginning an NFL journey that largely failed and has now possibly led him back to the college game.
My point here is that, no matter what you hear from anybody right now, until Kelly has signed a contract and is sitting at a press conference with a new hat, we don't know what he's going to do. He might end up at Florida, or he could take the job at UCLA. He might end up somewhere else that isn't available right now. Hell, he could end up at Oregon State -- or maybe even Oregon if Willie Taggart leaves after only one year for another job. Who knows?
But of the big jobs (Florida, Tennessee, UCLA) that are available right now, UCLA seems to make the most sense for Kelly, given what we do know about him. Now, don't get me wrong, Florida is a much better job than UCLA. It's one of the 10 best jobs in the country, and many people would place it in the top five. UCLA isn't even the top job in its metro area, let alone conference. But just because a job is the better job overall doesn't mean it's the better job to everybody.
Kelly has never been shy about the fact that the reason the NFL was so appealing to him was that he wouldn't have to deal with things like recruiting or glad-handing with boosters and hitting that rubber-chicken circuit. Unfortunately for Kelly, it looks as though the NFL door has been closed to him, so if he wants to continue coaching, he's going to have to deal with those things again. It's just those things would be far easier to handle at UCLA than they would be at Florida.
If you don't want a spotlight shining on every move you make as a head coach, the SEC probably isn't the best conference for you. In the SEC, every soundbite from a press conference gets picked apart, and every recruiting hit or miss is remembered. At UCLA, Kelly would be in a position similar to the one he'd have at Florida. He'd be coaching in a state filled with the kind of speed and talent he needs to run his offense, making recruiting a bit easier, but he would also be operating in relative privacy. The Pac-12 doesn't garner the same kind of attention as the SEC does. He'd be able to do his job, and that seems like the only thing Kelly has ever been interested in doing.
So I don't know what Kelly is going to do, but if I were to put my money on anything right now, based on what's available and who Kelly is, I'd put it on UCLA before I did Florida.
Coaching Search of the Week
The Tennessee coaching search -- from the fan's perspective -- is going to end up with its own show on Bravo soon enough. I'll never quite understand why so many Tennessee fans are enamored with the idea of Jon Gruden -- a man who hasn't coached anywhere in 10 years, or at the college level in 26 -- but they are just that. It's a Gruden frenzy in Knoxville as rumors and hearsay all turn into fans convincing themselves that something not likely to happen is definitely going to happen,and only seeing and hearing what they want to.
And the best instance of this came on Saturday when a Knoxville restaurant had to issue a statement saying that it may have possibly been mistaken about the supposed fact that Gruden had been dining there with Peyton Manning.
Oh, and Gruden wasn't there. He was 2,500 miles away in Seattle because he already has a job. One that reportedly pays him an annual salary of $6.5 million. What a time to be alive.
Coaching Error of the Week
Long after many of you had gone to bed, there was an exciting game on the west coast. Utah seemed on the verge of upsetting No. 18 Washington in Seattle, but the Huskies scored a touchdown with 58 seconds left to tie the game 30-30. After kicking off to Utah, the Huskies defense forced a quick three-and-out that took only 29 seconds off the clock, leaving 29 seconds in the game. Washington got the ball back, and after a two-yard run from its own 30-yard line that seemed to signify that Washington was content going to overtime, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham did a strange thing.
He called timeout.
I don't know why. Maybe Whit thought he could get the ball back and chuck a Hail Mary. Instead, Jake Browning completed a pass for 18 yards on second down. On the next play, Bowning completed a pass for 31 yards to the Utah 21 with eight seconds left. Washington ran another play, a quick pass to Dante Pettis that was incomplete with four seconds remaining on the clock. Four seconds that ticked off as Tristan Vizcaino's 38-yard field goal soared through the uprights and gave Washington a win. All because Whittingham called a timeout he didn't need to when Washington was fine playing for overtime.
Random Ranking of the Week
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Fan Reaction of the Week
Stat of the Week
When you think of Big 12 football, you think of shutdown defenses, so you won't be surprised to see this stat from TCU's defense. Seriously, this is remarkable. The Horned Frogs have gone five straight games without allowing a point in the second half, and they've done so against teams like Iowa State (30.9 ppg), Texas (29.7 ppg), Texas Tech (35 ppg) and Oklahoma (44 ppg).
Unfortunate Record of the Week
Look, I'm very happy for Johnny Townsend that he's now Florida's all-time leading punter, but I'm not sure you want to advertise the fact that your punter is the most-accomplished player within your program at the moment. Maybe just shake his hand in the locker room after the game.
Welcher of the Week
This one goes to a Florida alum who refuses to keep his word. The man, who goes by the name Joe V on Twitter, tweeted back in August that he would "eat a steaming pile of dog crap" if Miami won 10 games this season. Well, Miami won its 10th game of the season on Saturday, and Joe V is backing away from his statement quicker than the Florida offense goes three-and-out to help Townsend set a record. Florida football will never return to glory with this kind of cowardice surrounding the program. SMH.
Debate of the Week
With teams from the SEC and ACC taking on FCS opponents over the weekend, we reached that annual point of the season when Big Ten fans complain about the SEC and ACC playing cupcakes. Those same Big Ten fans tend to ignore the fact that Alabama does things like schedule season openers against teams like Florida State on an annual basis while they're playing a MAC school, but I'm not here to pick a fight.
I don't like FCS games either, but rather than yell at the SEC or ACC for being smart about the way they schedule the games in November; I'd rather yell at all five power conferences. You see, with the creation of the College Football Playoff, the Power Five conferences really should come to some kind of scheduling agreement. Each of the conferences should follow the same guidelines.
Ideally, we'd see all five playing a nine-game (or even a 10-game) conference schedule. They'd all play the same kind of non-conference schedule as well. Whether that would be something simple like one game against an FCS team, one against a Group of FIve team, and one against another Power Five opponent -- I'll let them decide. As a fan and viewer, I'd rather do away with all FCS games, but I also understand how important those games are for the FCS programs accepting a large check to play them.
But there should be as much uniformity of schedule as logistically possible between the five conferences. So maybe get to work on that.
College Football Playoff Projection of the Week
Until the next Monday After!
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