Chip Kelly, the coaching genius who dominated at Oregon for four years before going to the NFL for a few years, is on the cusp of getting back in the college game. It’s down to Florida or UCLA, two programs desperate for his services.
Let’s look at the Gators first. Since Urban Meyer abruptly left in 2010, it’s been a rough six years. Will Muschamp lasted four years, and outside of the 11-2 mark in 2012, it wasn’t pretty. The Gators ceded SEC dominance to Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide.
Jim McElwain arrived in 2015, the Gators went 10-4 and then 9-4, but this year has been a disaster full of suspensions and lies. You can see how badly the Gators wanted to grab Chip Kelly.
But as it became obvious that Florida was going to make a play for Kelly when the Gators’ season spun out of control, UCLA took notice. It couldn’t get stuck with Jim Mora for another year, handcuffed because of his massive buyout. USC was pulling further ahead. Attendance was sagging. The vibe wasn’t good.
So the Bruins quickly showed Mora the door and raced to get Chip Kelly before the Gators could. The smart move for Kelly would be to take the UCLA job.
There’s much less pressure at UCLA. There are two NFL teams in LA now; if Sam Darnold returns to USC, the Trojans will certainly be among the favorites to get to the playoff. The Lakers could get LeBron in seven months.
Chip Kelly will get at least a year before the natives get restless.
Florida? There’s no buffer. It’s the only game in Gainesville. Kirby Smart has Georgia contending for a playoff berth, and he’s set at QB for the next few years. There will be no grace period in Gainesville.
What is Chip Kelly contending with at UCLA? The Bruins have had one Top 10 finish this millennium.