UCLA Football: How many wins does Chip Kelly need in 2021 to avoid hot seat?

Chip Kelly, UCLA football (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Chip Kelly, UCLA football (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

There may be no city in the country with a collectively hotter seat than Los Angeles. On one side, you have USC’s Clay Helton with a piping-hot seat and then across town, UCLA football coach Chip Kelly is facing a critical season after posting a 10-21 record in three years.

The rivalry may have completely new coaches next season, but they both may have bought themselves some extra time with solid 2020 campaigns.

Helton and the Trojans made the Pac-12 title game and Kelly and the Bruins went 3-4 but each of their losses was by six points or less. The Bruins were a few plays away from an undefeated season, losing by six to Colorado, three to Oregon, five to USC, and one to Stanford in overtime. All of those could have been flipped the other way.

What if UCLA beat even two of those teams? A 5-2 record looks great on the resume, especially after going 7-17 in Kelly’s first two seasons with the Bruins.

The 2020 season was a step in the right direction for Kelly, but is it too little too late?

How many games must UCLA football win in 2021?

Kelly’s seat is hot, there’s no way around that, but how many wins in 2021 would signal enough progress for the athletic department to entertain and buy him at least another year or two at the helm?

Honestly, I would say anywhere from 7-9 wins would keep him safe for another season for sure. Five wins might signal the end of the Kelly era and six wins would make it a tough decision for the AD, but it would be tough to fire someone after they made their first bowl game at the program and after winning just 10 games through the first three combined seasons.

If Kelly wins 8-9 games, he might just earn himself an extension — kidding, but not really.

UCLA has some talent returning with 19 total starters back and the fourth-best recruiting class in the Pac-12 coming in so anything less than 6-7 wins would be a massive disappointment.

The 2020 season showed that Kelly isn’t far off, but he just needs to put it all together in 2021.

Next. Way-too-early preseason Top 25 projections for 2021. dark