UCLA head coach Chip Kelly speaks on ‘sad’ destruction of Pac-12: ‘We failed’

The Pac-12, as we know it, is all but over.

Ten of the 12 teams in the conference will defect elsewhere beginning next year, leaving Washington State and Oregon State as the only teams standing.

UCLA will play its final game as a member of the conference Saturday night when it faces Boise State in the LA Bowl at SoFi Stadium. And even though head coach Chip Kelly will be with the Bruins as they join the Big Ten next year, he wishes this all didn’t happen.

“The fact there isn’t going to be a Pac-12, that’s not right,” Kelly said.

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“It’s sad. A bunch of people couldn’t figure out how to keep this conference together, and that’s sad,” Kelly said Friday. “This conference has been together since 1915. We’re supposed to be the smart ones. I heard [Iowa head coach] Kirk Ferentz talk in front of Congress when they were talking about realignment, and he said, ‘We have to be the dumbest people in the world.’ 

“This is an amazing game, and we keep trying to screw it up. I’m talking about the administrators and coaches. It’s on us. … Our job is to create opportunities for student-athletes to be successful. We didn’t do it.”

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Lots of rivalries are ending because of the massive realignment, but Kelly has an idea about how to keep them alive.

“You can have a 64-team conference that’s in the Power Five, and you can have a 64-team conference in the Group of Five,” Kelly suggested. “We play each other. You can have the West Coast teams, and every year we play seven games against West Coast teams, then we play the East. You can play a seven-game schedule and play four against another division opponent, so we can still keep those rivalries going.”

UCLA joins USC, Washington and Oregon as teams heading to the Big Ten. Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah will be in the Big 12, and Cal and Stanford will join the ACC.

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