Oregon Ducks: Could Mike Bellotti's Job Be in Jeopardy?

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IAugust 2, 2008

Mike Bellotti has been the head coach of the Oregon Ducks football team since 1995. Before that, he held the position of offensive coordinator from 1989-1994, under head coach Rich Brooks, who, up until last season, was the winningest coach in Oregon history.

Bellotti has now taken over that record, currently with 106 wins at Oregon, and 11 bowl appearances in 13 years, although last year's 56-21 Sun Bowl win over the South Florida Bulls ended a four-game bowl losing streak.

Rich Brooks helped revive Oregon's football program, and Bellotti has built off of the success of his former boss, leading Oregon to three 10-win seasons, a Fiesta Bowl victory, and a No. 2 national ranking twice.

What fans seem to have problems with is the trademark "end-of-season slump" that each of Bellotti's post-Joey Harrington teams have experienced (2002-2007 seasons).

It's unfair to blame the final three-game skid of last season on Bellotti. The Ducks lost seven starters to season-ending injuries. The final blow came to Dennis Dixon, a Heisman hopeful, during a game against Arizona, when Oregon was ranked second in the nation and hopeful of a BCS berth.

Other skids, like the one of 2005, can be blamed on the players themselves, after pathetic performances ending the season; the Ducks players lost all heart and faith, satisfied with seven wins, and just plain slacked off the rest of the season.

Is Bellotti a good coach? Yes. Will he be replaced? I don't think so.

Bellotti has taken this football program to more success than any other coach in Oregon history. He brings in quality players and he and his assistants help them improve.

The only possible ways I see Bellotti leaving is for either the Ducks to have just horrible seasons for the next three years, or for the Ducks to finally win a national championship, and he retires.

If he did leave, who would be his replacement? The best answer would be offensive coordinator Chip Kelly. Kelly was the former head coach of the New Hampshire football team, and, as a genius with the spread option, his offense at UNH soared to great heights.

So, we return to the question that started this whole discussion. Is Mike Bellotti's job in jeopardy?

That answer is no. Bellotti has just done too much for this program to be fired. He continues to bring in quality players, and quality assistants to help improve said players. Bellotti is 100 percent committed to Oregon Football, and that meant turning down a hefty offer from UCLA, where recruiting top SoCal prospects would have just been far too easy.

Bellotti is in this for the long haul, and Ducks fans who call themselves loyal to the team need to back Bellotti up. With all the scrutiny he's received in recent years about end-of-season slumps, he need all the support he can get.