Chip Kelly hasn’t yet enjoyed the same kind of success at UCLA that he did at Oregon — though that might start to change this season.

But a few down years with the Bruins hasn’t seemed to damage his reputation as one of the best coaches in the game. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg recently ranked the top coaches in the sport, and he took a unique approach to it:

The goal of the following ranking is to be both smart and fair. Coaches are ranked in four categories, within which I tried to identify the best 10 truly comparable candidates. I evaluated coaches based on consistency, championships won, AP Top 25 finishes and other metrics. The rankings are weighted toward recent performance, but I also included some coaches whose overall profiles merited inclusion despite some struggles lately. Coaches who genuinely impacted the sport, and whose achievements at certain programs haven’t been replicated since their departures, were typically given extra credit.

The top category was reserved for coaches at national title contenders. The next group was a collection of schools deemed to be “next up” by Rittenberg. And that’s where Kelly landed at No. 4 (the 14th overall coach in the ranking). Here’s what he wrote on the Bruin coach:

Kelly hasn’t generated the success UCLA envisioned, which hurts his overall profile. But he still changed the college game while at Oregon, employing innovative schemes and a distinct program philosophy. The results were a 46-7 record (33-3 in Pac-12 play) with three AP top-4 finishes and a national championship game appearance in 2010. He never lost to Oregon’s rivals Washington and Oregon State. The question is whether he can ever get UCLA, one of the nation’s biggest underachievers, to championship contention.

Kelly was behind Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz at No. 3, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy at No. 2, and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham at No. 1 in the “next up” category. Pretty good company.

And that’s all well and good, but Kelly enters into an interesting Year 5 in Westwood. He received a contract extension over the offseason — a reflection of the step the program took last year in going 8-4 — but still finds himself in a position where he needs to win big.

Maybe just to save the perception, Kelly doesn’t seem to be inspiring a ton of excitement yet for the new year within the fanbase. Perhaps that changes with a hot start and a marquee win over Utah at home on Oct. 8. In that scenario, the Bruins would head into the bye week sitting at 6-0 and in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12.

Kelly’s M.O. throughout his career has been game-breaking offenses. He has Dorian Thompson-Robinson back to quarterback the team and one of the country’s top running backs in Zach Charbonnet. If the personnel changes made this offseason on the other side of the ball can get the defense right, Kelly could have a chance to really shine.