Mitchell: Hardly Kelly's First Signature Win
Oregon's Chip Kelly
Oregon's Chip Kelly
Posted Jan 2, 2012

If believe Oregon's Rose Bowl victory against Wisconsin was Chip Kelly's first "official" signature win, then you haven't been paying attention

By: Russ Mitchell
Follow me on Twitter: @RussMitchellCFB

If you're still of the belief that this Oregon Rose Bowl victory against Wisconsin was Chip Kelly's first "official" signature win, then you haven't been paying attention.

Not that we wish to intentionally discount the value of the Rose Bowl, which as we've been told repeatedly is the "Granddaddy of them All". Indeed, of all the exhibition games, it is the Granddaddy or All Exhibitions.

However, in his three seasons at the helm in Eugene, the Ducks are 25-2 in conference play. In his first campaign of 2009, Kelly's Ducks beat every ranked team they faced except his opening game vs. Boise State in Idaho. The undefeated, 13-0 Broncos.

In 2010, Oregon went undefeated and simply dismantled a top 10 Stanford team with a spectacular second half comeback...on their way to beat every team it played in the regular season in crushing fashion. Only Cameron Newton – one of the greatest players in college football history – could stop that Ducks team with an unusual Michael Dyer run and a last second field goal.

This year there was the bad opening season loss to LSU in Dallas, however, that was later followed by an absolute thrashing of an undefeated Stanford team in Palo Alto, costing the Cardinal its shot at a national championship and changing the landscape of college football.

If that doesn't qualify as a defining, "signature" win, then your standards are too high.

Winning a bowl game is nice, but in today's landscape, bowl games are merely exhibitions – other that the By-Invitation-Only BCS title game. Chip Kelly has built a dominant program at Oregon, and his lack of a bowl victory until the Rose Bowl game vs. Wisconsin was a thorn in the side, but not a last step on the path to star-coaching recognition.

Indeed, the Stanford win at the Farm this year was far more important than the Wisconsin game.

Stop placing so much emphasis on these post-season, multi-week-break exhibition games hosted by private promoters who have stolen our sport's post-season. Outside of the BCS "title" game, they usually mean little compared to the importance of regular season conference games.