No ducking Oregon's Kelly
The next Jim Harbaugh could be Chip Kelly, who guided Oregon to a Rose Bowl victory Monday and was the 2010 Associated Press coach of the year. There has been some interest in Kelly in NFL circles, in part because Harbaugh has proved a college coach can make the leap to the NFL if he has the right formula.
For a while, NFL teams were cautious about college coaches because a string of them struggled after being hired in the pros. That mindset could be changing. Every NFL team is looking for a fertile offensive mind, and Kelly has had great success. His offenses are a little unconventional, but teams like the Broncos and Panthers are showing that unconventional offenses can work and might be the future of the league. Kelly is an NFL coach waiting to happen.
Miles has 'it' factor
College coaches don't have a great history in the pros going back to Oklahoma's Bud Wilkinson. Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban, two of the best college coaches of their generations, failed in NFL attempts.
That said, LSU's Les Miles would be an interesting proposition for some NFL teams if his Tigers win Monday's BCS title game. Miles often is cast as sort of a coaching goof, nicknamed "The Hat," but there's an "it" factor about Miles that no one can deny.
More interesting is Oregon's Chip Kelly. Would his high-tempo philosophy translate to the NFL? Spread offenses historically have not worked in the NFL.
But you wonder whether Kelly would be tempted to see if his breakneck brand could translate to the next level.
Les might want more
If his LSU team beats Alabama for the BCS national title, could it be Les Miles? He has some experience at the pro level as an assistant with the Cowboys years ago and might be ready for the challenge as a top guy at the top level.
Miles is looking for his second national title at LSU and is one of the highest-paid coaches in college at $3.75 million per season excluding bonuses. How many challenges are left for him at this level?
If Miles, who signed a seven-year deal last January, wins the national championship next week, with so much shifting in greed-driven college football and perhaps the potential for coaches' salaries to be reined in, maybe he'll give the NFL a look.
2nd chance for Saban?
Alabama coach Nick Saban may be due for a new reclamation project.
Saban spent five years leading the Michigan State program and five years leading the LSU program and is completing his fifth year leading the Alabama program.
He is among the first to insist he loves coaching at the college level, noting his ability to influence and shape the future of young men who play for the Tide.
However, like all great coaches, Saban has a big ego. Saban went 34-24-1 at Michigan State, 48-16 at LSU and is 54-12 at Alabama. Deep down, it has to bother him that he posted a disappointing 15-17 record while coaching the Dolphins for two seasons (2005-06).
Don't underestimate Saban's desire to prove he can win in the pros.