By Josh Kramer
When people think of College Football, Notre Dame instantly comes to mind. Despite not winning a national title since 1988, Notre Dame is still one of the blue bloods of College Football. Every one of their games are nationally televised by NBC putting them in the public spotlight each and every Saturday.
The Fighting Irish are set to enter the third year of the Brian Kelly era. Kelly was supposed to be the man to bring Notre Dame football back to the glory days. He was the guy that was supposed to bring number 12 to South Bend (National Championship). Luckily for the Irish faithful, Kelly has a history of getting the job done in year number three. At Grand Valley State he went a very respectable 6-2-2. Then at Central Michigan, he took home a MAC Championship. And finally at Cincinnati, he led the Bearcats to their first Big East Football Championship and an appearance in the Orange Bowl. With a past like that, it is safe to say that Brian Kelly knows a little something about winning. Many have proclaimed the guy a miracle worker. I like to think of him as one of the best offensive minds in football. But it appears recent history will be against the Fighting Irish Head Coach as he prepares his troops for the annual Blue-Gold Game on Saturday. Could their be a year three jinx in South Bend? The three Fighting Irish coaches that preceded Brian Kelly may have something to say in regards to the potential South Bend curse in year number three.
Bob Davie went 5 and 7 during his third season running the show in South Bend. This followed a year in which the Fighting Irish had gone 9 and 3. Then Tyrone Willingham in year number three posted a less than stellar 6 and 6 record resulting in his firing. Finally, Charlie Weis, the immediate predecessor to Brian Kelly, nearly gave Lou Holtz a heart-attack when he went an abysmal 3 and 9 during his third season at Notre Dame. BK and the Notre Dame faithful are praying that he can reverse this recent trend.
This season may be the tallest task of Brian Kelly’s coaching career though. Notre Dame has to take on the likes of USC, Oklahoma, and Michigan State on the road (USC and Oklahoma are likely top five teams this year). Plus, the QB situation as it currently stands is a mess. Though Kelly has shown poise in the past with wild quarterback scenarios (Cincinnati 2008). People were calling for BCS in year two of the Brian Kelly era. It didn’t happen due to a case of the turnovers. Unfortunately for Brian Kelly, Notre Dame is similar to the New York Yankees when it comes to collegiate football. Expectations only get greater.
Though I cannot fathom Brian Kelly going 500 or worse no matter the schedule, the question is not whether the Fighting Irish will make a BCS Bowl this season. The real question is whether Brian Kelly will survive the third year jinx and be on the South Bend sidelines for year number four.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.