clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Other Kelly: Discussing the Best Fit for Chip Kelly's Inevitable Return to College Football

Chip Kelly taking over the Hurricanes? That's what he should do.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Most coaches fail in the NFL, and do so rather quickly. Not-For-Long typically applies to the playing careers of the guys in the helmets but can also cover the coaches, as well.

With the Philadelphia Eagles off to a (1-3) start this season the heat on Chip Kelly is beginning to increase rapidly. He's made some bizarre personnel moves which have rattled the NFL establishment. That's all well and good if there's belief in Kelly's system and plan working but he had to know once the losses started piling up the patience in Philadelphia was going to evaporate quickly. This brings us to our first question: Would the Eagles send Kelly packing after this season? Or does he at least get 2 more seasons through 2016?

Letting go of Kelly after 2015 is probably too drastic even for the NFL. He did win 10 games in each of his first 2 seasons in Philadelphia, so that has to carry some weight. Still, he's staring at zero playoff wins after 3 seasons (assuming the Eagles don't make the playoffs this year and/or lose in their first post-season game) and could be watching the franchise implode around him at the precise time the NFC East is as winnable as ever.

And while there are still 12 games to go in the season he's already 0-3 in the NFC, and perhaps much more damning for any hope this year, 0-2 in divisional play. Firing Kelly after 3 years might be crazy but is it if the Eagles finish last in what might be the weakest NFC East in years?

So let's play a game. Where could Chip Kelly coach again in the college ranks if he comes back? I'm going to separate the choices into two categories, those with the best odds after 2015 and those who could snag him after 2016.

After 2015:

South Carolina- Spurrier is old and the Gamecocks nice little run in previous campaigns has crumbled completely this season. Does Chip Kelly want to jump into the SEC at a program with little history, though?

USC- The Trojans come up just about as much as any other school when it comes to Chip Kelly rumors. We still need to see how the season plays out for USC but there's powder keg potential if Cutty Sark has more problems and USC finishes with 3 or more losses. You'd also have to factor in the scheme change if you bring in Kelly--you'd be reversing a pro-style culture as strong as anyone in the country. At least Chip would be back in the Pac-12 where's comfortable and wouldn't be in the same division as Oregon.

Maryland- Bruce Feldman brought up the Terps as a possibility in the most recent Audible podcast. They might be in the hunt for a new coach soon and Kevin Plank could throw around some serious UnderArmour money. That'd have to be a big sell though, right? Then again, if there's one place that might be able to guarantee Kelly makes as much as he does with the Eagles...

Virginia Tech- Wouldn't this be interesting? Maybe this is the off-season Beamer steps down? The Hokies have already lost 3 games and are in need of a serious injection of offense. Maybe Bud Foster sticks around to run the defense too?

Virginia- Out of all the programs listed here the Cavaliers are at the bottom. I've included them because Virginia is about as likely as anyone to be searching for a new coach and their program isn't in that bad of shape. This could be a fun little 3-year rebuilding project for Chip Kelly before he leaves for a blue-blood program.

Miami- If I'm Kelly's agent this is my top choice. It just makes too much sense. He'd have a ball with all that Florida talent and be the perfect type of coach to awake the sleeping giant that is Da U. Kelly could probably hold a lot of power on campus, the ACC wouldn't be that difficult to start dominating, and the resurrection job in Coral Gables has to feed his ego. Al Golden has 4 more years left on his contract following this season but he's as good of a dead-man walking as there is right now. Plus, Golden's making below average money for a Power 5 head coach so he could be bought out relatively on the cheap.

After 2016:

Texas- Charlie Strong could go 2-10 this year and the Horns are unlikely to fire him. They are looking to hire a new AD next spring which probably gives Strong a 3rd season in Austin. Still, you have to think the chances are small he turns this thing around. And honestly, if I'm Strong I'd get out after 3 years either way. I would imagine coaching at Texas is near the top of Chip Kelly's wish-list.

Nebraska- Mike Riley in Lincoln felt weird to begin with, still feels weird, and will continue to feel weird. Would it surprise anyone if he's jettisoned after 2 seasons? Even if he is I'm having a hard time coming up with reasons why Chip Kelly would prefer Nebraska. It'd be back-to-back Pac-12 guys (yes, Kelly is from New Hampshire technically) and it doesn't feel like a great fit.

Penn State- The Nittany Lions are currently making their way through their soft early schedule. Still, Franklin did lose to Temple and there's trouble brewing under the surface with their uninspired play all season. Kelly probably stays away because Happy Valley is too close to Philadelphia.

Notre Dame- Kelly for Kelly? I doubt it happens. Chip is a really poor fit for Notre Dame and I can't see the Irish leadership digging his previous NCAA punishment. I would like to hear Swarbrick's thoughts on him though.

Oregon- There are some Larry Coker smells emanating from Eugene right now. Is it possible Helfrich simply isn't fit to keep Oregon running at a high level and it took a couple years for it to fall apart, quickly? It wouldn't be so weird to see Chip Kelly return to the Ducks but if he did it feels like National Championship or bust. He's already achieved everything short of that. Does he want that pressure right from the start?

Georgia- Last week's thrashing at the hands of Alabama has me (and others) wondering how much longer Richt has in Athens. If this job opens up, and it's still a big if at this point, I'd imagine Chip Kelly would be all over it.

UCLA- Does 5 years at UCLA feel about right for Jim Mora? A couple seasons with Josh Rosen and then a departure, possibly back to the NFL? Everyone talks about Chip Kelly going to USC but UCLA has to be just as attractive today.

Tennessee- Butch Jones probably gets one more year to start doing something. Otherwise, we might have a traditional SEC power with a job vacancy. Chip Kelly singing Rocky Top? If you're looking at the SEC teams I've listed this might be the most appealing. Much more talent to work with than South Carolina, and he wouldn't need to make a huge transition on offense like he would at Georgia. Plus, the Dawgs need someone to get them over the top for some conference (and maybe national if you want to be greedy) titles. Tennessee would just adore someone who could consistently win 10 games. Basically, Kelly could walk in and be Tennessee's Mark Richt for several years and then see what else is out there.