Rankman's Friday mailbag: Chip Kelly back to College? Nebraska overrated? And ESPN's unfortunate wording about Charlie Strong

Father snores as his wife gets into her dressing gown

Picks up the letter that’s lying there

Standing alone at the top of the stairs

She breaks down and cries to her husband

Daddy our baby’s gone

Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly

How could she do this to me.

--She’s Leaving Home


There has been some speculation that Chip Kelly may leave the San Francisco 49ers after this season and return to the college coaching ranks. If memory serves me correctly, wasn’t Chip sanctioned after his final year at Oregon for “buying into” a bogus Texas recruiting service? I also remember that Chip left Eugene for the Philadelphia Eagles before the sanctions were imposed by the NCAA: My question: If Chip Kelly returns to collegiate coaching, is he required to serve the sanctions? Does the same hold true for Seattle Coach Pete Carroll when he left USC?

Tom Hamilton, Bend, OR

All right Hamilton! Great question, here’s my great answer.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Chip was hit with a “show cause” penalty by the NCAA after he fled, er, left Oregon for the NFL, but he is no longer under probation. That means he could flee, er, leave the San Francisco 49ers and return to college. I wouldn’t count on a comeback to Oregon. How many guys go back to the same college and are as successful? John Robinson returned to USC to win a Rose Bowl, yes, but the era known as Robinson II was a letdown from Robinson I. Kelly didn’t much care for the needy booster culture at Oregon and is sort of a loner. And he definitely doesn't look like a runner. I wouldn’t read too much into Phil Knight attending a 49ers' game last week. Mr. Nike was already in the Bay Area for Oregon’s game against Cal. Kelly likes the NFL lifestyle but, if he keeps losing, he may have no choice but to go back to college. Some think he might be more inclined to coach high school in New Hampshire, where he worked before Oregon hired him. Chip is an interesting dude. Now, on to Pete Carroll. He was never sanctioned by the NCAA. That was his assistant, Todd McNair who, frankly, got a raw deal by the infractions committee and may win a court case to prove it.

Rankman, good wrap-up of this week’s games and drama. I think ND should not go with Western Michigan coach or any other wanna-be. If ND really wants to return to glory, they need to go get Pete Carroll…Only Carroll can go toe-to-toe with Saban, Meyer and Harbaugh—the new “fab four” rock stars—of the national recruiting show.


For Pete’s sake, are you nuts?!

Anyway, Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick announced this week that Brian Kelly, like him or not, will be the head coach next season. It may be the magnanimous, correct move. Or else, after Charlie Weis, the school is tired of paying buyouts to failed coaches?

How’s @DufRankman these days?



Not well. Sprained my ankle last week, my back hurts, and my free year of LA Times buyout money runs out in December. Ouch. I may have to move to Salt Lake City and become a slumlord near Rice-Eccles Stadium. The thought of Utah and Colorado leading the Pac 12 South division has forced me to see a quack psychiatrist from Eugene: Sigmund Helfrich Fraud. I mean, what’s going on here in Larry’s League? USC, UCLA, Stanford and Oregon already have 16 losses this year? This is just too much to handle for a guy who was against Arizona and Arizona State joining the Pac 8 in 1978. Ten years ago, I saw Colorado lose to Texas, 70-3, at the Big 12 title game in Houston. The Colorado quarterback that day, Joel Klatt, got his bell rung so often I thought I was in a church square. Good news: he got out with just enough brain cells to be employed as a college football analyst for Fox.

No way, that day, did I see Colorado joining the Pac 10 someday, let alone becoming an early Rose Bowl favorite.

And don’t get me wrong. I have always loved Utah…as a ski resort. My first car was an Orrin Hatchback. Also spent 25 days in a Flying J truck stop hotel during the 2002 Winter Olympics. I highly recommend the hot-lamp chicken served one aisle over from a shelf of Valvoline motor oil.

Anyway, the prospect of Utah at Colorado deciding the Pac 12 South on Nov. 26 makes me want fly there and drive straight to Steamboat Springs.

Chris—so glad I just found you at TMG! Long time follower or yours at the Times, we’ve corresponded by email a couple of times in the past. Now subscribed to TMG.


Rankman is ALIVE! Thanks for finding me all the way from Boise. I need more loyal and longtime LAT readers to discover the wonders of TMGcollegesports.com.

I’m weary of the “Fire Everyone” crowds


I agree, Dr. Bruce. I say we gather a petition calling for the firing of the “Fire Everyone” crowd.

We can call ourselves the Firing Squad.

Is Nebraska the most overrated team in the last 10 years?

Joel Francisco


Oh, I can think of others. What about the team put together to elect Jeb Bush for President?

Nebraska is, indeed, overrated. The Huskers remind me of last year’s Iowa, their pigskin partner in the Big Ten West. Thank goodness we'll have resolution to this. Nebraska plays at Wisconsin and at Ohio State the next two weeks. If the Huskers win those games, they won’t be overrated anymore.

This year’s winner for the most #Awkward moment in broadcasting goes to Adnan Virk

Michael Phelps


"ESPY for the most inappropriate metaphor used to describe the African-American football coach at Texas goes to...." Yes, that was awkward. I honestly did feel bad tweeting the gaffe Virk made on ESPN’s halftime show last Saturday. Virk suggested the “noose was tightening” on Charlie Strong. Wrong! I think it was an innocent mistake, more attributed to 24-7 air-filling and the laziness of journalists who reel off clichés so routinely they occasionally run into one that is highly inappropriate. Virk’s comments ignited a firestorm on Twitter, but he DID apologize. It was not my intent to make a bigger deal out of it. If my tweet, however, helped eliminate this phrase from the public vocabulary, then it was worth it.

Adnan Virk’s apology about the metaphor he used in relation to Coach Charlie Strong is accepted and isn’t necessarily considered racist.

Issac W Harper


I agree. I like Virk. But it is also possible to make a racist comment even if you are not a racist. “Noose tightening” in reference to a person of color should be avoided at all cost. If a comment offends a certain segment of a population, for good reason, it needs to be avoided. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t offend YOU.

In this pansified (cq) society of ours, your tweet may just ruin this host’s career. I hope you are proud of yourself and sleep well at night

Bob Sellers


Ok, now you’re just making up words. Repeat: I’m sure Virk was horrified, in retrospect, that he used those words. I’m glad he apologized and also glad he didn’t lose his job. And I didn’t mind point out his mistake on Twitter. It was on national TV. Wait, I’m getting sleep….ZZZZZzzzzzz

@DufRankman because white people were never hanged…

Marc Fellhauer


You got me there. John Wilkes Booth was hunted down by a posse and hanged...but not because he was white.[/membership]