One of the worst metrics to use when judging the Notre Dame Fighting Irish or any team’s performance might just be any of the polls that we use. They are flawed beyond belief, can make little sense, and there is always a bit of bias involved. It is, however, mostly what we have to work with in this sport (advanced stats aside). It’s also what is more widely reported about than other metrics.
When one judges a program, it’s easy to take a look at the final Top 25 rankings and see how they did as a measuring stick for the season. A recent tweet from ESPN’s Chris Low paints a little different picture about Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly than we might think or believe:
Records last 3 years vs. final AP Top 25:— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) July 13, 2019
8-7 makes it feel like there is nothing to write home about — but it is literally the 3rd best among active coaches during that span. Only Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers and Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide have done better. It’s better than Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs and a LOT better than Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines.
It’s not a great metric to use, but it does show that Notre Dame has been one of the better programs in the country over the last 3 years (and somehow this includes that horrific 4-8 season in 2016). I’m not sold that this is anything Irish fans should be beating their chests about, but it certainly goes against the narrative of the “overrated Irish.”