So, the concept of Chip Kelly coaching at UCLA seemed far-fetched to me; only slightly less ridiculous than Jon Gruden leaving ESPN to coach Tennessee.
The suggestion, which I had seen bounced around repeatedly in the offseason, boiled down to Chip having coached in the Pac-12. That felt tenuous compared to every other bit of precedent and the various hurdles that needed clearing.
Most were budgetary, the same root cause of UCLA practicing on an 80-yard field as recently as 2014. Likewise, the Rose Bowl — while a gorgeous venue — is about a 20-mile hike from Westwood. Anyone who has traversed Los Angeles knows that 20 miles can turn into a two-hour drive without warning.
The lack of on-campus facilities, remedied this year, spoke to the historic investment in UCLA football. Buying out the $12 million contract of Jim Mora in the same year as a new facility opened, *and* meeting the contract demands of a former NFL coach in Chip Kelly? All seemed like too much for a university in the UC system, which faces various monetary issues.
One need not look far to see the impact of UC financial struggles impacting sports. UC-Berkeley, which just recently opened new football facilities for Cal football, ran head first into serious budget woes.
So, yeah: Logic dictated it wouldn’t happen; not immediately, anyway. But logic doesn’t always win in college football. How logic is it for me to literally eat my words?
Not at all, probably. But I’m doing it, per a guarantee I made.