UCLA’s hiring of Chip Kelly as the new football coach seems to be the smartest move beleaguered Athletic Director Dan Guerrero has ever made since accepting his more than $750,000/year job more than a decade ago. Guerrero is the PAC-12’s top paid AD, but his dismal performance in hiring football and basketball coaches has not justified such a salary.
Although Kelly was a failure in the NFL at both Philadelphia and San Francisco, coaching in college is an entirely different ball or wax. Pete Carroll was a failure at New England but blossomed at USC. Unlike Carroll before he arrived at USC, Kelly was highly successful as a college coach at Oregon and so is a proven commodity.
Although Kelly was a failure in the NFL, coaching in college is an entirely different ball or wax.
Another superstar football commentator: Former Dallas quarterback Tony Romo is yet another budding Hubie Brown equivalent commenting on NFL games. Like Fox’s Charles Davis whom I recommended two weeks ago, Romo knows the game inside out and actually predicts what is going to happen, just as Brown does for the NBA. Listening to Romo is an excellent way to learn the game and know what’s really happening on the field.
Anti West Coast bias: Given the lack of respect of West Coast teams, a great disservice is about to occur when Stanford’s Bryce Love does not get the Heisman Trophy. As I’ve said here before, Love is the best college runner I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen most of them over more than a half century. I never saw Barry Sanders play at Oklahoma State, but I saw him a lot in the NFL and I rate him above Jim Brown and Gale Sayers as the best ever. Love is in Sanders’ league.
Weak quarterback: Speaking of performances, I have rarely seen a more dismal outing than that exhibited by Michigan quarterback John O’Korn against Ohio State. He missed receivers by wide margins. Even on short little swing passes to running backs in the backfield where the ball only travelled a few yards, he would miss the receiver by more than five yards.
Coach Jim Harbaugh has come in for a lot of criticism by Wolverine faithfuls this year, but considering the lack of quality he has to work with at quarterback, he’s done a pretty good job. Despite O’Korn’s feeble performance, Michigan played Ohio State even until the end of the game.
Great game: The best football game of the year so far was the Auburn upset of Alabama. The difference in the game was Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who has come into his own. Both teams have terrific defenses, but Alabama’s quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is more of a runner than a passer, just couldn’t compete with Stidham’s accurate clutch passing.
USC’s loss is LSU’s gain: Congratulations to Ed Orgeron for such a successful season as the Head Football Coach at LSU. Orgeron led his team to a 9-3 record in the toughest football conference in the country, the SEC, including beating Auburn, which is today, in my opinion, the best team in the country. USC made a huge mistake in not retaining Orgeron after he took over when Athletic Director Pat Haden fired Lane Kiffin in 2013 after losing two of the first five games. Orgeron turned things around and led the team to a 7-2 record to finish out the season. Everybody loved Orgeron, even me, and I’m a UCLA guy. But the clueless Haden stunned everybody by rewarding Orgeron for the terrific job he did by firing him and hiring an alcoholic from Washington to replace him. USC is still paying for it.
Tony Medley is the author of three books including “UCLA Basketball: The Real Story,” the first book written on UCLA basketball. Visit TonyMedley.com.