Jim Tressel and Chip Kelly: Polar Opposites Meet In Pasadena

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IDecember 14, 2009

TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 21:  Head coach Chip Kelly of the Oregon Ducks walks the sidelines during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Tucson, Arizona. The Ducks defeated the Wildcats 44-41 in second overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

One of the more entertaining aspects of the 2010 Rose Bowl Game aside from the players on both sides, are the coaches,who are polar opposites of each other in so many ways.

Jim Tressel on one side is the old guard, who has been a head coach in college football for 23 years and is coaching his seventh BCS game since his hiring at Ohio State in 2001.

Opposing him on the UO sideline is Chip Kelly, the young dog who is a first-time head coach and making his first trip to a BCS game.

These two men are as different as possible in personality and coaching style.

Tressel in press conferences is notoriously senator-like, giving long answers usually without saying too much in translation.

Kelly dresses as the Ducks' mascot during a live broadcast of College Gameday when they traveled to Oregon.

Ohio State football is often referred to as Tressel-ball, a conservative style reliant upon defensive supremacy and field position.

Oregon has one of the most exciting offenses in the game, a unit that can put up points at any time.

Even the conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-10, are very different in themselves.

The Big Ten is known as a physical, bruising, defensive football conference steeped in tradition.

The Pac-10 is vastly underrated, but possesses some of the most potent offenses and great coaching to boot.

But for all their differences, Kelly and Tressel are not so different after all when looking into things deeper.

Both men have extensive DI-AA backgrounds, Tressel's long career at Youngstown State, and Kelly making a name for himself as the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire.

It did not take long for either coach to make a name for themselves, when they took their respective positions.

Tressel orchestrated one of the most stunning upsets in national championship history in 2002 by beating the heavily favored Miami Hurricanes and finishing a 14-0 season in only his second year, not to mention the 8-1 mark against hated rival Michigan Wolverines since his hiring in 2001.

Kelly had a rough start when LeGarrette Blount warranted an indefinite suspension for punching Boise State defensive end Byron Hout and when he attempted to give an Oregon fan a refund for their tickets to the game.

But he has already put his stamp on the season, leading a dramatic turnaround with big wins over Cal, Arizona, and the nationally-televised blowout over USC.

And most importantly, both Jim Tressel and Chip Kelly won their Rose Bowl spots in dramatic finishes in de facto conference championship games.

Ohio State withstood a furious Iowa rally and the defense amped itself up in the overtime, beating the Hawkeyes on Devin Barclay's game-winning field goal.

Oregon beat hated rival Oregon State in a tug-of-war showdown that ended with a game-clinching drive to run down the clock.

Each win was reflective of their own leaders; Tressel's Buckeyes battling to the end in a defensive struggle and Kelly's Ducks running through Oregon State on their way to Pasadena.

Now, these two coaches get their first shot at the Rose Bowl on New Years' Day.

And when these polar opposites clash, we will all find out whether the sizzle is better than the steak in Pasadena when the clock hits zero.


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