Kelly will be a sought-after commodity for some NFL team, especially if he can help the Ducks make it to the national championship game. Just like Pete Carroll, who left the life of luxury that he had built at USC from 2000-09, the 48-year-old Kelly could be drawn to going after the next challenge in his life.
His style of play would be very attractive for an NFL owner who is looking to supercharge a franchise. Let's not forget that with Oregon currently under NCAA investigation, now might be the best time for Kelly to fly the coop.
Timing right for Kelly
It is likely NFL teams will be looking hard at college coaches come January. They like how it has worked out for Greg Schiano and Jim Harbaugh, two others who recently made the leap. And with the high rate of firings and hirings, the NFL pool of assistants to promote has become thin. There has been talk of Bill O'Brien, but it's hard to envision him jumping ship after just one season at Penn State.
Nick Saban's name is bandied about, but can an NFL team give him a more attractive situation than the one he has at Alabama? The college coach who will be pursued the hardest is Oregon's Chip Kelly. He nearly took the Bucs' offer last year, and a better offer is likely to get him to move in 2013.
Kelly should be careful
The obvious pick for the next NFL head coach from the college ranks is Oregon's Chip Kelly. Great offensive minds always are going to be sexy picks for pro jobs, but Kelly will have to tailor his brand of spread option to the NFL game.
He's a bright coach who earned his way into a head coaching role by toiling at lower level college assistant jobs, not by cutting his teeth as an assistant in the NFL. You can't recruit players to an attractive system in the NFL.
Molding a system to a team takes craftsmanship through the draft and free agency, which requires time and often an understanding front office. Kelly will be the hot name, and he'll more than likely wind up with an NFL offer, but he should proceed with caution.
Kelly to Chargers?
Los Angeles Times
Jim Mora has done a fantastic job at UCLA but it would be unlikely he would jump to the NFL after one season just to prove he can succeed at football's highest level.
The mostly likely coach to jump next is Oregon's Chip Kelly. I have spoken to college coaches who really want to see Kelly prove that his up-tempo spread offense can work in the NFL.
Kelly's stock had to drop a little last weekend with Oregon's 17-14 loss to Stanford but my guess is Kelly will be gone after this year and might have his pick of several possible openings.
His speed-of-light offense would be an interesting fit for the San Diego Chargers, who have a lightning bolt on their helmets.