Found January 04, 2013 on
Fox Sports Arizona:
GLENDALE, Ariz. Were Thursday night's Fiesta Bowl played a couple of seasons from now, No. 4 Oregon might be on its way to a national championship game.
But with a college football playoff system yet to be implemented, the Ducksinstead will finish out another season ranked in the top five nationally and winners of back-to-back BCS games after topping No. 5 Kansas State 35-17.
Oregon appears poised to remain among college football's elite entering next season, but after a 12-1 campaign it's hard not to wonder what might have been had the Ducks not slipped up against Stanford.
What if Alejandro Maldonado's 41-yard overtime field goal had gone through the uprights? Might Oregon be preparing to play Notre Dame or Alabama in Monday's BCS National Championship Game? Or what if a playoff had been established already? Might the Ducks be on their way to the pinnacle of college football?
If Oregon coach Chip Kelly or any Ducks players asked themselves such questions after celebrating on the field at University of Phoenix Stadium on Thursday, they weren't prepared to admit it.
"We're not a 'what-if' operation," Kelly said. "We control our own destiny. We control our own fate."
Added senior running back Kenjon Barner: "You've got to take it for what it's worth. We're not in (the National Championship Game), we're here in this Fiesta Bowl. So we're going to take this win for exactly what it is. It's a BCS win, it's a Fiesta Bowl win, and we'll just leave it at that."
Players and coaches might privately entertain the question of their ability to beat the winner of Monday's game, but Kelly made it clear Thursday the Ducks have no one to blame but themselves for their sole loss.
"We knew the rules of engagement coming in, and we lost to a real good Stanford team," Kelly said. "That happens. The unique thing about our sport right now, until there's an expanded playoff system, is that the playoffs start in Week 1. If you lose a game, then you're kind of leaving it up to chance.
"Alabama lost a game and everybody said they were out. Then we lost and K-State lost and (Alabama was) back in."
Beyond any what-if or what-might-have-beens, though, the Ducks look set for repeat success in 2013 with or without Kelly, who acknowledged Thursday he will entertain offers to coach in the NFL. That much was evident on the very first play of the game, when sophomore running back De'Anthony Thomas ran the opening kickoff 94 yards to the end zone to give Oregon a lead it never relinquished.
Then there was redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota, who dazzled in his first season under center and Thursday earned offensive MVP honors by passing for 166 yards and two touchdowns and running for 62 yards and another score. It's hard to imagine he won't be mentioned in early Heisman Trophy conversations next season.
That Oregon continues to replenish its talent year after year is nothing new. In fact, the Ducks did exactly so this season after losing quarterback Darron Thomas, running back LaMichael James and tight end David Paulson after last year's Rose Bowl season. Oregon simply reloads, and that, players contend, is a testament to the work Kelly has done for the program.
"What Coach Kelly brought to this program has taken it to another level," Barner said. "It sets the tone for teams to come and for the future. We've been on an amazing road and couldn't have ended on a better note."
With Thomas ready to slide into the starting role for Barner, Mariota back for at least another year and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich ready to take over if Kelly decides to go pro, Oregon isn't going anywhere.
It's possible sanctions from a pending NCAA investigation of the program could hinder the Ducks' efforts to remain in the upper echelon of college football, but in the meantime Oregon remains Division I royalty after its latest triumph.
"The deal for us was we had an opportunity to play one more time," Kelly said. "It was a chance for us to improve on our season, and that's what our guys did."
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
NewsTags: Chip KellyDon SmolenskiHowie RosemanJeffrey LuriePhiladelphia EaglesThere were reports circulating all over the internet at the start of the weekend that Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was on his way to Cleveland after meeting with team President Joe Banner on Friday. Something seems to have changed because Kelly met with...
Ducks head football coach Chip Kelly reportedly will interview with three NFL teams on Friday following Oregon's appearance in the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday.
The Oregon Ducks enter the offseason with uncertainty over coach Chip Kelly's continued tenure and possible NCAA sanctions.
But at the same time the team faces a future with a strong foundation that includes redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota and speedy sophomore running back De'Anthony Thomas.
Fifth-ranked Oregon finished this season 12-1 with a 35-17 victory...
On the 10th anniversary of their last playoff appearance, the Browns may be in unexpected fight over Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
Cleveland has been awaiting a second meeting with Kelly, the Ducks' offensive mastermind, on Saturday to hopefully complete a deal to make him the Browns' sixth fulltime coach since 1999. However, Kelly decided to keep a scheduled interview with the...
After leading the Oregon Ducks to a victory in last night’s
Fiesta Bowl, coach Chip Kelly, who’s set to interview with the Buffalo Bills
and Cleveland Browns today, all but admitted he’s leaving the college ranks and
headed for the NFL, according to NFL.com.
"I'll talk to Dave (agent David Dunn) tomorrow,"
Kelly said after Oregon's 35-17 victory. "...
GLENDALE Ariz. De'Anthony Thomas took the suspense out of the Fiesta Bowl in 12 seconds on Thursday, taking the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.
Now, can anyone catch Chip Kelly?
Kelly has gone where no other coach has gone before -- in four years as Oregon's head coach, he has taken the Ducks to 46 victories and four BCS games.
The latest, a 35-17 humbling...
The Philadelphia Eagles took their coaching search committee to Denver to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Sunday after a lengthy meeting with Oregon coach Chip Kelly on Saturday night in Arizona.
The Eagles only confirmed their meeting with Kelly after it ended. A person familiar with the situation said Kelly was nearing a deal with the Cleveland Browns on...
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that the Cleveland Browns are close to reaching an agreement with Oregon HC Chip Kelly.
Both the Eagles and the Bills were also mentioned as possible landing spots for Kelly, but the Browns made it pretty clear that Kelly was their main objective and it appears as though they were quite convincing during their meeting with Kelly today.
University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly is the Philadelphia Eagles
“prime target” to replace recently-fired head coach Andy Reid, reports Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly is the Eagles' prime
target, according to two NFL senior personnel officials. Kelly, 49, is 45-7 in
four seasons as a college head coach. He is praised for...
Alright, it looks like Chip Kelly wants to go about 90 miles away from Buffalo. However, I got my Q&A back from the guys over at The Duck Stops Here and I'm not about to let it go to waste. So, let's pretend the reports are wrong like some idiot who reported that Buddy Nix was going to retire last year.
1) Can you tell me about his offense and do you think it will...
Two hot rumors just hit the Cleveland Twitter-sphere. First, SportsRadio 94 WIP’s Brain Startare out in Philadelphia has a potentially dynamite rumor for Cleveland Browns fans:
Sources tell me Chip Kelly and the eagles are close to an agreement on a 5 year deal. If I’m right I’m golden. If wrong my source is fired
— Brian Startare (@brianstartare) January 6, 2013
De'Anthony Thomas caught the opening kickoff, raced past Oregon's sideline and leaned his head into the end zone like a sprinter crossing the finish line.
The track meet had started and the fifth-ranked Ducks (No. 4 in BCS Standings) barely looked back after that.
Triggered by Thomas' 94-yard return, Oregon bolted by No. 7 Kansas State (No. 5 in BCS) 35-17 Thursday...
The last time we heard from Donovan McNabb, he was attempting to rain of the Redskins’ RGIII parade. At the time, McNabb argued on ESPN’s First Take that having Mike Shanahan as his coach was a bad fit for RGIII.
Obviously he was wrong, but that hasn’t stopped him from giving his opinion on the Eagles’ pursuit of Oregon coach Chip Kelly. And in short, McNabb thinks that hiring...
Penn State coach Bill O'Brien and Syracuse coach Doug Marrone reportedly have interviewed this week for the Cleveland Browns' coaching job. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported Thursday said the Browns also will interview Oregon coach Chip Kelly on Friday, the day after his team competed in the Fiesta Bowl. All interviews were conducted in the Phoenix area, where the Browns...