With the news that Chip Kelly is parting ways with the Oregon Ducks in order to head to the NFL, we in the sports world are now holding our breath to see how big the fallout caused by his departure will be.
Oregon will still be a solid football team in the 2013 NCAA football season, but the odds of them making a run at the BCS National Championship are now slim and they will probably have some trouble keeping pace in the Pac-12 while they adjust to the new coach. I think they may even struggle to remain the top team in their home state. After all, the state of Oregon’s official nickname is the Beaver State.
Kelly’s departure provides a golden opportunity for the Oregon State Beavers to pull ahead of the Ducks in the state and conference that the two schools share. Oregon State went 9-4 overall in 2012 with a 6-3 Pac-12 record. The Beavers are expected to be better in 2013 and those expectations could grow depending on how much OSU can profit from Oregon’s misfortune.
While we haven’t seen it yet, there will surely be at least a handful of recruits who no longer want to wear the wildly-colored uniforms of the Ducks. Some of those players might make the short commute from Eugene up to Corvallis and find a new home with the Beavers. The recruiting impact could of course go well beyond this year. If Oregon falls off too much and Oregon State does something within their expectations for 2013, like winning the Pac-12, we could see a shift in which school draws more big name recruits.
With Kelly at the helm, Oregon was one of the most dominant teams in the nation. They went to BCS bowls four years in a row, a streak that included a trip to the 2011 BCS National Championship Game. As I said before, they will still be good, but they will drop off and they will likely lose some recruits this season. It is up to Oregon just how far they slide, though. If the adjustment period is too long or the losses mount up significantly in 2013, then Oregon State may well take their place in the Beaver State and the Pac-12.