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Rose Bowl Preview: It's Time for Chip Kelly to Finally Win the Big One

I'm staring at you elusive first win.
I'm staring at you elusive first win.

Oregon has moved into final preparations for their 3rd straight BCS bowl and 5th top 10 out-of-conference match up in the last 3 years, and the one big thing on my minds is, can Chip Kelly finally win the big one? The last 4 times Oregon has gone into a game like this I've questioned whether the defense was going to be prepared. Could Oregon slow down and finally get to Kellen Moore? What did Oregon need to do to make Terrelle Pryor ineffective? Can Oregon handle the speed and size of Cam Netwon? How would Oregon's inexperienced and undersized d-line do against LSU's massive big men? Every time Oregon's defense has answered the call.

As Oregon's defense prepares for another potent offensive attack, my worry this time turns to the offense. Oregon's defense has shown a pattern of being ready for the challenge, whereas the offense has yet to show the same.

First of all, let's look at the stats for the defense:

Rush Yds/Att Pass Yds/Att Total Off/Play Scoring
Season Avg 4.96 7.90 5.91 38.5
vs Oregon 3.65 4.50 3.90 40.0**
Season Avg 6.12 10.10 7.40 41.2
vs Oregon 5.08 7.60 6.10 22.0
Ohio St
Season Avg 4.52 7.10 5.50 29.0
vs Oregon 3.00 7.00 4.70 26.0
Boise St
Season Avg 5.13 8.10 6.50 42.2
vs Oregon 2.78 6.60 4.10 19.0

As you can see, **there is only one stat, in one category, in one game where the defense did not hold the opposing team to below their season average. That means with regard to rushing defense, passing defense, total defense and scoring, only one team was able to improve in one category from how they played throughout the year (don't worry, we'll get to the fact that it was Oregon's offense that allowed that team to improve on that category in a minute).

No matter how undersized, how powerful the attack they are facing, or effective and efficient the offense is, Oregon's defense has stepped up and done their part to win the day for Oregon.

I'm not sure you can say the same thing about the offense. Here are the stats for Oregon's offense in those same games:

Rush Yds/Att Pass Yds/Att Total Off/Play Scoring
Season Avg 6.53 7.90 7.04 46.2
vs LSU 3.39 4.40 4.09 27.0
Season Avg 5.93 8.00 6.70 47.0
vs Auburn 2.34 9.10** 6.20 19.0
Season Avg 5.51 6.90 6.10 36.1
vs Ohio St 5.42 4.10 4.90 17.0
Season Avg 5.51 6.90 6.10 36.1
vs Boise St 1.82 4.50 3.50 8.0

Like what the defense did to other teams, Oregon only improved **on one stat, in one category, in one game. However, this isn't what you want to see if you're an Oregon fan. For all the prowess that Oregon exhibits throughout the year offensively, it seems to disappear on the biggest stage.

I think the thing that frustrates me the most about this, are the excuses. For Boise it was Chip Kelly's first game, the offensive line was brand new, and Masoli couldn't hit the ocean standing on the beach. Against Ohio St, Terrelle Pryor had a couple of miraculous throws that kept the offense off the field, Oregon shouldn't have tried a 45 yard field goal on 4th and 1 and Blount inexplicably fumbled out of the end zone. Against Auburn, how could anyone think that it would be OK to change the grass the week before the game. Finally, it's not Kelly's fault that De'Anthony Thomas fumbled the ball 18 times in the game and allowed LSU to have short fields.

For every person that tries to defend Kelly's inability to win the big one, inevitably they will fall into "excuse" mode, where they rationalize and justify away all the reasons Oregon hasn't won one in the last 3 years.

Well no more excuses. It's time for Kelly to step up and finally win one. No more slow starts where the team looks unprepared. No more boneheaded plays where we have to wonder if the coaching staff went over fundamentals with the player before the game. No more inept offense that leaves everyone scratching their head and wondering where the real Chip Kelly and Oregon offense went.

Three years ago we upgraded Nick Aliotti 1.0 for version 2.0. It's time for Chip Kelly 2.0. The one that doesn't over-think what he did to get the team to that game. The one that has the team prepared for the big stage and the big game and doesn't go away from what they do best. The one that will finally capitalize on a defensive performance that gives them opportunities to win. It's time for Chip Kelly 2.0 to win the big one.