Auburn, Oregon And The Spirit Of Innovation

When Auburn defeated Oregon 22-19 last night to win the BCS national championship, many expected a high scoring, high flying shootout full of offensive innovation from two of the most cutting-edge offenses in college football.

And though both offenses sputtered througout most of the night, the innovation on offense that was a hallmark of both teams throughout the season served as perfect symbols of their regions regading the innovative climates that Western (Oregon) and Southern (Auburn) states have created, which is, in turn, making them into population magnets, according to the recent Census.

The Census results showed that the South and the West are growing while the Midwest and the Northeast are not. And even in the West, a state like California, with its confiscatory taxes and burdensome regulations, has stagnated as entrepreneurs and business flee the state to more friendly business climates.

As Michael Barone observed, “growth tends to be stronger where taxes are lower” as “seven of the nine states that do not levy an income tax grew faster than the national average. The other two, South Dakota and New Hampshire, had the fastest growth in their regions, the Midwest and New England,” respectively. 

Further, Barone also astutely observed that “altogether, 35 percent of the nation’s total population growth occurred in these nine non-taxing states, which accounted for 19 percent of the total population at the beginning of the decade.”

Simply put, lower taxes and less regulation allows for innovators and job creators to thrive.

It allows people like Auburn’s Offensive Coordinator Guz Malzahn, who was also innovative when he was at Arkansas, making the now famous “wildcat” formation into something that even NFL teams employ on a regular basis. At Auburn, Malzahn’s offense scheme has fluorished.

Ditto for Oregon’s head coach Chip Kelly’s fast paced offense. In fact, NBA teams have observed Kelly’s offense because it is so cutting edge. From the blown-up pictures pasted on poster boards that are used for signals to the mixing and matching of innovative play calls, Kelly has thrived in an environment that has given him every incentive to be innovative.

Liberals often forget that it is that innovative spirit in people, when unleashed, that creates jobs, industries, and economic property. It isn’t done by big government or bureaucrats who want to overregulate and centrally plan every aspect of a business.

When states create an environment where such innovation can fluorish, business and people will flock to them.

America has always been a place of second chances (Chizik) and of those without old money or pedigree (Kelly) being able to pursue the American dream.

Take Auburn head coach Chizik. When Auburn hired him after he compiled a horrific 5-19 record in two seasons at Iowa State, even his own fan base ridiculed and pilloried him. Yet, Chizik made the most of his second chance, with the help of Malzahn’s innovative offensive schemes, and is now a coach who has won a national championship.

And at Oregon, Kelly, hailing from the oh-so-mighty (tongue planted firmly in cheek) New Hampshire, was given a chance by then Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti, and he made the most of it with his cutting-edge offensive formations, schemes, and game plans.

Chizik got a second chance, and Kelly just got a chance. In essense, they represent what America has been about. They represent those looking for a second chance or to start anew or upstarts looking to make it for the first time seeking environments that give them the best climate in which to do so.

Right now, those environments are in the South and the West, and conservatives should not back down in emphasizing that that is primarily due to the fact that these states take less money from individuals and businesses than the do the states from which many Americans are fleeing.