College Football Outside of The SEC Bubble
I love Southeastern Conference football. As a fan, most of what I am invested in takes place within the realm of the SEC. However, it is healthy to acknowledge that college football is played in other areas of the country as well. This particular post will focus on college football on the west coast, specifically in the Pacific-12 Conference.
It will be fun to see how the most dynamic offense in college football adjusts to having a new head duck. The departure of Chip Kelly to the Philadelphia Eagles sent shock waves throughout football. That is, after he decided to come back to Oregon, then he changed his mind again and left for the city of Brotherly Love. Coach Kelly leaves a legacy of being an offensive guru in Eugene, but he also helped get Oregon put on probation as a parting gift.
Mark Helfrich is now the head coach in Oregon town as he inherits a team that is loaded on offense with eight starters coming back. SB Nation revealed that one of the reasons Chip Kelly decided to try his hand in the NFL is because he knew nothing would change in the Oregon offense under Mark Helfrich, who had been the offensive coordinator for the Ducks since 2009.
The fact that Stanford won the 2013 Rose Bowl without former quarterback Andrew Luck speaks volumes about the Cardinal commitment to success. When the previous Stanford head coach (Jim Harbaugh) left for the National Football League, I assumed that Cardinal Football would go back to dwelling in mediocrity. I could not have been more wrong.
The 2012 Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year David Shaw has the fans in Stanford, California dreaming of a national championship. The Cardinal returns seven starters on offense, and a robust ten starters on the defensive side of the ball. Stanford figures to be in a tight battle with the Oregon Ducks all season long. The media gave Oregon the slight edge in their Pac-12 North preseason pick. Even so, I have always been a huge fan of the Stanford Tree.
I must admit to having very little interest in Bruins football once the ball is snapped. My curiosity with UCLA is triggered by their current head football coach, “Jim Mora Jr.” The man born James Lawrence Mora (according to Wikipedia) was the head football coach in Atlanta during the Michael Vick days. His tenure began in 2004 with a bang when the Falcons played for the NFC title at the end of the season, but it ended with him being fired after the thud of back-to-back 8-8 seasons.
I have heard unconfirmed stories that coach Mora can be combative. I never passed judgement until I was watching ESPN’s The Herd (hosted by Doug Gottlieb who was in for Colin Cowherd) and the following interview unfolded. Given how poorly he handled the situation, I cannot take Jim Mora Jr. seriously as a leader of young men.
Since leaving the Tennessee Volunteers high and dry in January of 2010, Lane Kiffin has gotten exactly what he deserved. After leading the Trojans through their probation, USC appeared all set to fight for the college football throne once again. Hell, I picked them to lose to the Georgia Bulldogs in the BCS National Championship Game last year. The University of Southern California proceeded to go 7-6, and fall off the horse before they could even get going. The Trojans DID cap the season off by losing to a team from Georgia, Tech, that is, in the Sun Bowl. USC reportedly broke out into a brawl pitting teammate against teammate, too.
Coming into this season, about the only thing going right for Lane Kiffin is that the Los Angeles Times is reporting that he is not on the hot seat. If the Trojans do not improve drastically in 2013, the temperature of the head coach’s chair figures to rise considerably.