Chip Kelly vs. Lane Kiffin: Why Oregon Will Beat USC in 2012

Kay Jennings@KayJenningsPDXContributor IIIMarch 28, 2012

Chip Kelly vs. Lane Kiffin: Why Oregon Will Beat USC in 2012

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    Their current head coaching record against each other reads Kiffin 1, Kelly 0. How many of you believe it will be 1-1 on Nov. 4, 2012?

    I do. While everyone in La-La Land believes Lane Kiffin is the greatest coach who ever strolled the sidelines, there is a great deal of hard evidence that points to Chip Kelly being the better coach.

    Let's compare a few facts and then discuss (argue?) them between now and November, OK?

Head Coaching Record

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    Chip Kelly is 34-6 as a major college head coach. Lane Kiffin is 25-13. Both good records.

    However, if you add in Kiffin's NFL head coaching record with the Oakland Raiders of 5-15, his total head coaching record is 30-28, barely mediocre.

    In the Pac-10/12, Kelly is 25-2, and Kiffin is 12-6.

    Advantage: Kelly.

Recruiting Expertise

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    At USC, Lane Kiffin inherited a pretty darn good team built by Pete Carroll. However, since taking over as head coach of the Trojans, Kiffin has managed to keep the USC brand strong, even in light of the sanctions.

    While Chip Kelly inherited some good players recruited by Mike Bellotti, Kelly has mostly built Oregon from the ground up. Before Kelly came to Oregon, the Ducks were lucky to land a single 4-star recruit, let alone any 5-star recruits.

    Now, the Ducks are in the running for the top talent in the nation and are welcome in the living rooms of star recruits who formerly would have laughed Oregon out of there. In contrast, the USC brand has been the gold standard for decades.

    When you factor in the ease of attracting high school boys to L.A. instead of to Eugene, and the weather in both cities, Kelly wins the recruiting honors hands-down.

    Also, as of today, Kelly is way behind Kiffin in recruiting violations; Kiffin's 12 secondary violations in a 10-month span while at Tennessee puts him in the lead in this dubious category.

    However, according to, USC has the No. 8 recruiting class in 2012, while Oregon weighs in at No. 16.

    Slight advantage to Kiffin for 2012 only.

Coaching Honors

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    Chip Kelly was named the Associated Press (and virtually every other organization that gives out coaching awards) National Coach of the Year in 2010.

    In both 2009 and 2010 Chip Kelly was the Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

    Kelly was also named College Assistant Coach of the Year by the Gridiron Club of Boston in 2005.

    Thirteen days ago, Lane Kiffin was named Coach of the Year for Los Angeles.

    But he's still young...

    Advantage: Kelly.

Better Celebrities at Games

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    While the LeBron James and his buddies show up on Oregon's sidelines at Chip Kelly's invitation (or more likely, Phil Knight's), this one goes to Lane Kiffin.

    Of course, L.A. might be a better source for celebrities than Eugene.


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    Chip Kelly has a bachelor of science in physical education from the University of New Hampshire.

    Lane Kiffin has a bachelor's degree in leisure service management from Fresno State.

    Technically, I would call that a push.

    However, I just know that Kelly is smarter than Kiffin, so...

    Advantage: Kelly.

Pleasing Personality

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    There is a good reason why Chip Kelly is a media darling and why Lane Kiffin is, well, not.

    Except for the reporters who cover Oregon and who are universally ticked off that Kelly has closed the Ducks' spring practices, Kelly is mostly well-liked by his peers, competitors and the media.

    Kiffin has been sued by his peers.

    Why is personality important? Being a coach whom other people genuinely like and trust only matters if it helps with recruiting (it does) and if it helps you relate better to your team on a personal level (it does).

    Advantage: Huge to Kelly.

In Conclusion

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    Chip Kelly is a better college football coach than Lane Kiffin is now or will ever be.

    And there is no way in hell that Kelly will lose to Kiffin two years in a row. Write it down.