In the days leading up to the 2012 Fiesta Bowl, the Emerald will take a position-by-position look at Oregon and Kansas State, determining which team has the edge going into the BCS showdown on Jan. 3.
Oregon — Head coach Chip Kelly is, unequivocally, the best coach in the history of the program. Now coaching in his fourth straight BCS bowl, the offensive wizard from New Hampshire has compiled a glittering 45-7 record that includes three conference championships, a national championship appearance, and a .500 record in the Rose Bowl.
Off the field, Kelly has been accused of neglecting the media (wink, wink) and the school’s boosters. To some, Kelly sees those aspects of his job that don’t directly help him win football games as useless. Some fans love this approach, and some don’t. But few Ducks fans would trade anything for the remarkable habit of winning Kelly has infused into the program.
The enigmatic 49-year-old may or may not jump to the NFL after this year — he almost did last year — but regardless of whether he leaves, Kelly has left an indelible mark on the program and the entire face of college football’s idea of running an offense.
Kansas State — Bill Snyder’s name carries more weight in Kansas than the Wizard of Oz.
The Wildcats loved him so much during his tenure from 1989 to 2005 they rehired him in 2008 after a few forgettable seasons. His name is on K-State’s stadium, for
Pete’s Bill’s sake. While the team still endures a losing record as a program, Snyder’s winning percentage of .680 is the second best in the history of school after Lynn Waldorf’s one great year in 1934.
Snyder’s long stay has been rare for K-State, which has seen 31 different coaches prowl the sidelines since 1896. In fact, the Wildcats switched coaches every year for the first nine years of their football program.
As a coach, Snyder’s known for his discipline and attention to detail, and he preaches 16 Goals for success in football and life. The goals, ranging from unselfishness to unity, have done the job so far for K-State, enjoying its first BCS bowl game since 2003′s Fiesta Bowl.
Advantage — Push. Both coaches are on the short list of the best and most consistent in the entire country. While some will notice the superficial contrasts between the two, it’s clear they both love winning and know how to do it a lot.