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Notre Dame Football: Have We Severely Underrated Brian Kelly?

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The Bye week had me reminiscing on the tenure of CBK.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Kelly is currently in his 9th season coaching the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. There have been highs and lows, as almost all coaches go through. To me, as long as a coach has good “highs” then I do not care how bad his “lows” end up being.

The Bye week made me think. Has Brian Kelly been underrated as a coach? I think he absolutely has been. In nine seasons (I am including this one) there have been three Notre Dame teams that look to be National Championship worthy. So one out of every three years, Notre Dame is putting out a top 5 team in the country. That is pretty damn impressive.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Kelly isn’t Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney or Urban Meyer. He is obviously in a class behind these guys. But after those three coaches, I would say Brian Kelly is in the next group. Other than those three coaches, who else has had a National Championship caliber team three out of nine years?

The only coach who comes to mind is Bob Stoops, but he is now retired. Oklahoma as a program has been consistently in the top 10 but you need to see more than two seasons from Lincoln Riley to put him in the same class as Saban and co.

I would also say Kirby Smart at Georgia is on his way to joining this class. They are coming off a trip to the National Championship and look good this year as well. Smart has also done a great job recruiting and seems to have a foundation for the future.

With that being said, competing for a title one every three years is good with me. There are fans who want a team competing every single year, but that could just be unrealistic in today’s environment. The 2012, 2015, and 2018 seasons are ones that have produced one of the best teams in the country. We are all still awaiting a National Title but Brian Kelly has established Notre Dame as a premier program once again.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

So many fans forget to look at the big picture. We are almost to November and Notre Dame is clearly one of the four best teams in the country as we sit here today. That is something we should not take for granted. And I credit this success to Brian Kelly. Being the head football coach at Notre Dame is hard. And I would say Brian Kelly has done a darn good job in his 9 seasons.