Wow. Well...that did not take long.
Approximately two weeks after winning the Rose bowl at the University of Oregon, head coach Chip Kelly appears to be leaving for the head coaching job at the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sure, at this very moment he could technically stay at Oregon, but I doubt it.
Assuming he leaves...combined with the departures of Duck star players RB LaMichael James and QB Darron Thomas...methinks the PAC-12 just got a a whole lot more interesting.
Sure, the Ducks will still be good. But, the three time-in-a-row conference champions will now be down a coach, an experienced QB and the nation's leading rusher. It cannot be expected to be as good.
Nope. Indeed, I think USC, UW and perhaps Cal will all now be considered equal if not better threats to win the league in 2012.
And you know what...that's OK with me. No, I don't like it. But, on the other hand, it's to be expected. At a some point all dominant programs go down hill. There are different reasons why - but chief among them is the departure of critical elements all at the same time. In the UO's case, that's what we're looking at.
The cupboard is not bare in Eugene. There is loads of talent to put on the football field. Black Mamba. Just sayin'. But, that talent is now a slightly thinner and appears to be without its genius coach. Not sure who'd they'd get to replace Kelly....bring back Mike Belloti? Get a "big name" who is available (not sure who that would be)?
So, sitting here in January 2012...and assuming Kelly is gone...I'm going to say that the Ducks football team goes 8-4 in 2012 and is not the league champion. They'll lose to to USC, one of the Arizona schools, Cal and one of the Washington schools (hopefully not UW). That's my prediction.
If Kelly stays, I'm thinking more like 10-2, 11-1 territory.