During ESPN’s College GameDay coverage, Gene Wojciechowski interviewed Brian Kelly, the head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The biggest elephant in the room is still the elephant in the rook — the Alabama Crimson Tide. Brian Kelly and Notre Dame have been widely criticized and mocked for the 2012 BCS Championship game to the Tide.
Alabama has won 5 titles since Brian Kelly arrived in South Bend in December of 2009. Gene asked Kelly if that was “good for college football”? Kelly gave a complimentary response that was somewhat surprising:
“I think you have to look at it from a perspective of are they doing all of the things that everybody else is doing? They are. They don’t cheat. Nick Saban is an honorable football coach. Their business plan is different than Notre Dame’s, but when it comes to football, they do it the right way.”
I think the most interesting response from Kelly was what he said when Wojo asked about that 2012 title game and if Kelly rewatched the 42-14 loss:
“Yes I did, about three or four years later. I needed to watch it three or four years later to see if what I actually saw was actually what happened. What I saw was an offense that was not capable of doing the things necessary to compete with the best team in the country at that time.”
So, was that before the 2016 season or after the 2016 season? If I had to guess, I’d say it was after 2016 when Brian Kelly went in search of answers as he tried to fix a program (and himself) that went 4-8 on the year.
It was a good interview for Brian Kelly. Too often we hear (and see) the arrogance that fans and haters of Notre Dame despise about Brian Kelly, but in these few minutes he came off very genuine and seemed locked in on what is ahead for Notre Dame.
Even Kelly’s response about playing Alabama this year was perfect:
“Be careful for what you wish for, is what I would say. If they got upset in the first round, I would not be unhappy at all. I’d be ok with that. But, look, at the end of the day, we played Georgia last year to a tie and they beat us by one point certainly, and they played Alabama pretty good. So, if it got to that, we’d sign up for that duty.”
For Notre Dame and Brian Kelly, if they want a chance at any of that, they must continue to win football games. They will take on the Northwestern Wildcats tonight at 7:15, and will try to better their record to 9-0 and a better place in the college football playoff rankings.