The San Francisco 49ers are firing Chip Kelly. While Kelly may prefer the NFL, his next opportunity, after two flameouts, should be back in college. The next question, of course, is where the 53-year-old will end up. Barring unforeseen carousel movement, Kelly probably is heading for TV next season. We’re looking at 2017.
Many will throw out Notre Dame, with Brian Kelly on the rocks. Though, that seems to be a poor fit for Chip, known not to be a fan of alumni duties and national recruiting travel. You’re looking for (a) a job that may come available in 2017 and (b) a job where he can recruit speed without horrendous travel demands. Here are five positions that may fit both requirements.
Arizona State: Todd Graham ran out of octane this season, losing six straight and getting blown out by a bad Arizona team. A revamped stadium could use a revamped football team. Kelly could recreate what he had at Oregon with better weather and easier access to recruits.
Texas A&M: Kevin Sumlin’s teams fading in November is getting old. He will be among the foremost “hot seat” residents entering 2017. Countering SEC trends with an explosive spread offense is still Texas A&M’s most likely route to success in the SEC West. Kelly has experience recruiting in Texas. Money won’t be a concern.
California: Cal made a significant investment to renovate its stadium and facilities. Sonny Dykes, despite NFL talent at quarterback to run his offense, has gotten the Bears to just one bowl appearance in four seasons. Kelly would be the ideal hire to go after Stanford.
UCLA: Jim Mora has brought talent to UCLA. But, the Bruins have lost 11 of 14 vs. FBS teams. This looks like a great fit for both Kelly and the school. But, it’s hard to see UCLA mustering the ambition and cash required to make a decisive switch to Kelly in 2017.
Arizona: Rich Rod got Arizona to the Pac 12 title game in 2014. He is 4-14 in the conference since, with the Wildcats looking far more like his Michigan teams than his West Virginia ones. Though, we’re not sure Arizona wants to make a change if it can avoid it and this would be quite a like-for-like one.