Wasn't it just great seeing Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks at practice this week? Kelly, in his trademark shorts and visor, looked trim. He was smiling and laughing in his comments to the media just like right after the Rose Bowl win as if absolutely nothing had changed.
But some things have changed since Jan. 2, 2012. On Jan. 22, we all had to admit that denial was more than just a river in Egypt. We had to man up, look in the mirror and admit to ourselves—probably for the first time—that Chip would not stay at Oregon forever. In fact, he might be gone the next morning.
Instead, Kelly decided he had "unfinished business" at Oregon and turned down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' very generous offer. That whoosh you heard on Jan. 23 was three million Oregonians letting out their breath.
But in the months since then, reality has set in for most Ducks fans. "It's only a matter of time" is what one hears most frequently when the subject is Kelly and the NFL.
So, Oregon players and fans seem safe for the 2012 campaign. But what if the Oregon Ducks win the national championship—and many intelligent people believe this is a very real possibility this year—and Kelly completes his unfinished business. What then?
He's gone. You know it deep in your heart in that little place you compartmentalize things you just can't think about right now.
Let's look at the possibilities for Oregon if Kelly leaves after this season. Then, I'm not going to think about it again until next January. I'm going to enjoy the 2012 season to the fullest and face reality only when I must.