Chip Kelly Leaves for NFL Gig: What’s the Fallout in the Pac-12 North?


Jan. 3, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detail view of the Oregon Ducks helmet during the second half against the Kansas State Wildcats during the Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Ducks beats the Wildcats 35-17. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Wow, 9 days ago after Kelly had “decided” to stay at Oregon, I was as high on him as I could be, being an Oregon Duck hater and Wazzu fan. I wrote an article outlining how important he was to college football and how his decision would filter around the college sport. Funny how that’s changed today.

Simply put, I’m stunned. Not necessarily in a bad way, just miffed I guess, as it seems we all are. I don’t fault him for his decision in the least, the opportunity and all that on the table. But I’m also not here to talk about that, I’m here to quickly try and put into words what it means in the Pac-12 North chase in upcoming years.

To keep it really simple (maybe it just IS realistically), not a whole lot is expected to change. Mark Helfrich is the offensive coordinator and he’s the candidate to take over, unless something screwy happens over the next 48-72 hours. The dynamics will change somewhat, but largely the coaching staff will stay the same. The most interesting variable here is whether or not Helfrich still calls his own offense, or if he elevates another within the program to do that job while he focuses on the HC job.

Another variable here is, of course, recruiting. With national signing day coming up on Feb. 6, there are some doubts right now I’m sure with some of the recruits that weren’t necessarily hard-wired to the Ducks. We’ll see how that all shakes out. Oregon won’t suffer too much by losing one or two guys because of this though.

The move by Kelly also raises questions as to the status of the football program, as they are thought by the general public to possibly be facing undisclosed sanctions by the NCAA in the upcoming months. Depending on the extent of those sanctions (if they are indeed placed upon the program), it could have more effect on the outcome of the North. The bad news for Oregon opponents in 2013 is that they will still have their offensive (and presumably defensive) systems in place. Then of course you have to gameplan for Mariota, Thomas, Lowe and the rest of the “Green Blur”, and that’s still a great recipe for a loss.