“You don’t get trophies for winning at halftime.” An infamous Chip Kelly answer to then ESPN anchor Erin Andrews when she asked how the ex-Duck head coach was feeling about a slim, 8-7 lead over the California Golden Bears in 2010. Oregon ultimately went on to be victorious with 15-13 final but Kelly’s comments stuck with me because while he was blunt, it was honest – nobody gets hardware for winning mid-game or mid-season. It’s only the end result that matters.
But some early praise never hurt – hopefully.
According to the Associated Press (AP) the media has picked the Ducks to win the Pac-12 football title, beating out Stanford and UCLA in the preseason media poll announced Friday at the conference’s media day. Oregon received 14 of the 25 first-place votes in the Pac-12 North division, earning 139 points. The Cardinal was not far behind with the remaining 11 first-place votes, earning 134 points. Ducks’ quarterback Marcus Mariota spoke on the subject telling the AP, “It’s an honor, but it really doesn’t affect what we’re trying to do every day.”
Oregon is not expected to slip without Kelly, whose departure to the NFL made room for the promotion of then offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to head coach. Do not expect any major changes when it comes to style, either, as Helfrich sees little reason to alter a wildly successful system ran during Kelly’s four-year stint at the university.
“If the guy that followed John Wooden quoted him every once in a while, would that have been a bad thing?” Helfrich asked the AP. ”We’re going to talk the same, work the same, practice the same. We’re going to tweak the margins. … Those changes are going to happen, and we’ll adjust accordingly, but we have a bunch of great guys that believe in what we do, and that’s the most important part.”