Stanford Review: Hope is a Dangerous Thing

It was another annoying loss to Stanford dropping Notre Dame from a wind-in-their-sails 10-2 season and NY6 bowl appearance to a horrible taste in the mouth 9-3 season and a forgettable second-tier bowl game. This makes it 5 straight regular season finale losses for the Fighting Irish and the 23rd out of the last 24 seasons with at least 3 losses on the schedule.

Notre Dame goes from spending most of this season toasting, “dilly, dilly” to now being relegated to the pit of misery assuredly until the bowl game and very likely for the entire off-season.

The Gray Area

I think about Everett Golson a lot. When he was at his best he was my favorite player at Notre Dame since Golden Tate. To this day, I believe he will define the Kelly-era more than any other player. Before Golson had ever taken a snap for the Irish I wrote the following in Part II of my “Unofficial Guide to Rebuilding Notre Dame” on the old site:

Essentially what we’re talking about with allowing Kelly to rebuild is the gray area involving 7 to 9 wins a season. Any seasons below or above that gray area and Kelly’s future becomes much clearer.

But within that gray area, there should be much more patience and a willingness to forsake starting all over again with a new coach after 4 or 5 years versus allowing Notre Dame to build a foundation and identity through long-term stability.

That was written more than 69 months ago. The cool thing is that I could see Notre Dame improving despite a 16-10 record to that point and they went out and put together a 12-1 record in the upcoming season. From November 13, 2010 until November 18, 2014 there were some ups and downs but it was a mostly well positioned program with a 39-10 record. There was a legitimate argument to be made that the Irish were very close to getting over the hump back then if a couple things fell their way.

However, this was my next paragraph from the above article:

If Brian Kelly does not end a season with 6 or fewer wins, the main goal should be to continue under his leadership to the point where Notre Dame is a stable program, free from disaster, and much more attractive to a new and more proven coach who may be able to get the Irish over the hump.

In the past there were quality reasons to believe a corner would be turned, if not for massive injuries, or suspensions, or a coordinator change. For a long, long time Kelly dealt with some pretty ridiculous bad luck, truly bizarre games, and the like which fairly or unfairly gave him more rope to continue in South Bend. Since that fateful night in Tallahassee the Irish are 25-19 and of course Kelly has now given us a complete bomb (2016) of a season. Once Golson crumbled down the stretch in 2014 I had a terrible feeling The Gray Area was going to cast a pall over the program and now here we are.

QB Regression

The simple answer is to blame Brian Kelly for poor quarterback development which makes sense but like many things Notre Dame related I try to dig deeper. For a long time the knock was that Kelly’s system was too complicated and demanded too much of its quarterbacks.

In that vein it was hilariously sad to listen to the ABC team last night describing how difficult it is to grasp Stanford’s offense for redshirt freshman K.J. Costello. Yet, in just his 9th career game the Cardinal came out ready for Costello to make plays throwing on 3 out of their first 5 plays. When Stanford fell behind 7-0 their offense answered immediately with a 4 of 4 drive from Costello (plus a pass interference penalty) and a touchdown pass.

Notre Dame started out with 7 straight runs and runs on their first 9 out of 10 plays. Not a bad gameplan to ease in Wimbush and not ask him to do too much. Hey, here’s a free 5 yards on a screen on the 11th play from scrimmage:

We’ve cycled through all types of personalities and players with different skill-sets at quarterback since 2010. I want to blame Brian Kelly and lay it all at his feet but at the same time I can’t help but think there’s some deeper meaning to these foibles.

Deep down, I mostly believe Notre Dame is cursed or jinxed. So much of the Kelly era has been plugging one weakness while witnessing another leak springing up somewhere else. The offense finally has its best plan of attack for running the ball and the highest rated quarterback, showing no signs whatsoever prior to the season, suddenly turns into the worst Power 5 passer.

Only at Notre Dame. Of course, if there is a curse bringing in a new coaching staff would be a good way to shake it off and you wouldn’t be wrong for believing that.

Purgatory

A lot of people describe the Brian Kelly era as being in purgatory. While fitting for a Catholic school this assumes that eventually heaven will await the Notre Dame program. Are we so sure? That’s why I like the Gray Area far better–it’s just a colder and harsher reality devoid of any special treatment because we’re Notre Dame.

That said, hope comes into play somewhere with these discussions. Is hope a dangerous thing? Or is hope the greatest of things?

Brian Kelly will be replaced, eventually. Until that happens there is no reason for hope. At one point it looked like he was close to getting over the hump (for me in basic terms this would mean winning a major bowl and having back-to-back 10+ win seasons) but today he’s still a couple humps away from attempting that specific hump. He’s 3 humps away and he’s been here for 8 full regular seasons.

If you’re looking for something positive this improvement from 4-8 to 9-3–while ultimately unsatisfying for the die hard fans–at least stabilizes the program in the sense of a lot of B-level coaching candidates are going to be more receptive to coming to South Bend. In the meantime, all you can hope is that things hold steady (or maybe move forward a tiny bit!) until the trigger is finally pulled.

About That Game

Another infuriating Stanford loss featured Bryce Love largely being bottled up (he did get going towards the end of the 3rd quarter) and the Cardinal starting 0 for 8 on 3rd down conversions. Of course, Notre Dame also led into the 4th quarter as Stanford was driving. Infuriating.

Josh Adams was limited to just 49 yards on 20 carries, making that 219 rushing yards over the final 1/3 of the regular season. And yet, he’s still just 52 yards away from breaking Ferguson’s single-season record. Then again, this is a pretty weak record and kind of surprising that it still stands today. It might be one of the lowest rushing totals for any Power 5 program. A quick check of the record books and there are over 100 people who have run for at least 1,700 yards in a season. Nevertheless, a bowl win with Adams setting the new mark will definitely make me feel 13% better about this season.

In a losing effort, we saw the big-play ability of St. Brown and Stepherson combining for 223 yards on 8 receptions and 2 touchdowns.

Tyler Newsome can still boom some punts and he can still down the ball inside the 5-yard line with aplomb. He cannot seem to kick anything other than a line drive anymore, though.

Justin Yoon kicked 2 more field goals and needs 18 more to break the career school record set by Kyle Brindza.

The Irish quietly had a disruptive day with 9 tackles for loss, the 3rd best mark of the season. Jerry Tillery and Te’von Coney combined for 5 of those TFL’s. Coney now has the most TFL’s in a season by a linebacker since Manti Te’o in 2011.

In hindsight, Notre Dame’s 2nd possession of the 3rd quarter was a huge momentum swing. The Irish scored a touchdown to take the lead, held Stanford to a field goal, and started driving with 33 rushing yards strung together on 6 straight plays. The ball is at the Stanford 40-yard line and St. Brown gets flagged on a brutal 15-yard push-off interference penalty. Two plays later, Wimbush couldn’t hit Stepherson in stride on 3rd down and the Irish punted. Then again, earlier on the drive a Jones 3rd down run came up seemingly half a yard short and was upheld as a first down anyway. Do you think the Irish would’ve gone for it on 4th & 1 from their own 46-yard line? They appeared to be in the process of doing so prior to the review.

Things fell apart FAST from this point forward. Despite forcing a punt deep in Cardinal territory, getting a 41-yard punt from Chris Finke, and starting a drive from Stanford’s 19-yard line the Irish went illegal shift, false start, 10-yard run, 1-yard run, and sack to settle for a field goal. Stanford answered with a 70-yard TD drive, Wimbush threw a pick on the first play of the next series, and Stanford turned that into a touchdown. Sanders fumbled the kickoff, and the Cardinal turned that into a touchdown, too. Game over.

By |2018-05-09T22:25:44+00:00November 26th, 2017|Football|112 Comments

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nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Well, that was appropriately bleak.

CardinalBaseball
CardinalBaseball

I can’t help but think of your write up after the Georgia game bemoaning how we would struggle against usc and Michigan to open 2018. Thankfully you were wrong about usc but that Michigan opener looks just awful 8 months out. That defense will absolutely smother this sputtering offense. And yeah they have qb questions as well, but they have dudes all over their defense. We do not.

This is just a really depressing end to such a fun season and it’s really hard to have much hope going Into next season.

As an aside I know Petersen seems like a pipe dream, but ND is a better job than Washington right? And easier to win a title, and recruit to, right? Right? Maybe I’m being a homer…

mlafort1
mlafort1

I think Petersen enjoys being out of the spotlight a bit. He did complain about the Pac-12 never getting prime time tv, but Washington has a lot more in common with Boise than ND. Absolutely worth offering him a blank check to come, but I doubt he’d do it.

IrishSprings
IrishSprings

While there’s plenty of inspiration for the discussion of losing hope.. the fact that I clearly remember reading your guide to rebuilding the program and that it was 5 years ago.. that’s pretty shocking. Second thought.. I was anxious to read the write-ups here on the defensive effort because it FELT like the only time the defense got to within a hand of Costello was RIGHT before he was throwing a TD. Third thought.. lots of discussion on the other thread around Kelly and the potential replacements.. may be wrong but it feels like a particularly carnage-heavy carousel at the end of this season (6 in the SEC alone)…

mlafort1
mlafort1

Yeah, this would’ve been a tough year for hiring a new coach with all the competition. Even the names tossed around aren’t as exciting as recent years short of maybe Scott Frost. Florida gets a solid but not spectacular Dan Mullen, Tennessee goes to whoever after the Schiano fail. Doesn’t mean one of those guys couldn’t be an improvement but there’s no Urban Meyer for sure.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I think we need to resign ourselves to the reality that we’re not going to hire the Urban Meyer (Ohio State-hire version) whenever the time comes anyways, in terms of hiring the already-established clearly awesome guy. There will always be some more attractive job available – somebody between Florida/Florida State/Georgia/Bama/USC/Texas/LSU/Oklahoma/Ohio State etc. will be the top job in a given offseason, unless we have exceptionally lucky timing. Even in the event that we do luck out and none of those top jobs are open, we’ll be competing with somebody in the next tier (Miami/A&M/Auburn/UCLA/Oregon etc.), and it’s not clear that all coaches would prefer to go to ND over those lesser options (heck, Chip Kelly just picked UCLA over Florida). We shouldn’t, to steal Eric’s phrasing, let Brian Kelly hold the program hostage until we happen to luck into amazing timing so that we can make the hire of the offseason. Given the failure of the Davie/Willingham/Weis/Kelly coaching “trees” (more like a small branch), it’s not like there’s some obvious guy we should be willing to wait for to swoop in like there was with Michigan and Harbaugh.

tlndma
tlndma

” In the meantime, all you can hope is that things hold steady (or maybe move forward a tiny bit!) until the trigger is finally pulled. ”

If things hold steady or move forward a tiny bit, will the trigger be pulled?

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

To repeat a late thought from the reaction thread, 12 months ago this website identified Mike MacIntyre as the most likely and best candidate for the ND job and it was a choice roundly praised and endorsed in the comments. After a 5-7 season at Colorado where he is in danger of losing his job, I’m guessing he wouldn’t be the pick for ND now, and probably wouldn’t have been a great choice 12 months ago.

https://www.18stripes.com/notre-dame-football-head-coach-search-top-15-brian-kelly-future/

Perhaps there should be a change of direction but I believe (naturally given a bitter loss) the big picture is being skewed a little bit. With 1 quarter remaining, this team (playing the projected #2 SOS as reported on Gameday) was a real possibility for a NY6 bowl game. They didn’t get there, but the situation doesn’t seem as dire or bleak to me as most. Yeah, it’s disappointing they don’t perform in games like that, but change just for the sake of change doesn’t mean improvement is even likely and it’s difficult to identify and attract a great coach who’s a great fit for Notre Dame.

I’d be for “pulling the trigger” and starting anew if you knew you were getting a clear upgrade (i.e. Petersen) but otherwise I’d think the hope of stability with coordinators in their second seasons, improved defensive players, 2nd year QB could make enough improvements to again be a top 10-15 team, with the opportunity to be better if they can win those close, tough games next year and get to 11-1ish. Given past performance though I can understand most will probably expect another 9-3 though, and that’s obviously justifiable.

Clearwall
Clearwall

I’ve heard Petersen’s name twice, but not once have I heard this one:
comment image

IrishTexan
IrishTexan

It’s an interesting idea. Stoops is sort of the Holtz of OU, I think, in that he had a long run of success with only one title to show for it, and fans were sort of feeling like his best years were behind him and it was time for him to move on. Obviously, the analogy isn’t perfect. He was there twice as long as Holtz was at ND, he arguably had more “almost championships”, etc. But, could he possibly be ready for another 5-7 year run at head coaching, or is he content to be finished? If he would come back, could he succeed at ND, or was he the result of a right time right place scenario? Stoops is the only Meyer-to-OSU type hire we could make at this point, but I don’t know how it would pan out.

kiwifan
kiwifan

Ain’t gonna happen, guys. He’s made his $$$ and can relax in retirement. Probably would take a tv gig though once he gets bored.

MikeyB
MikeyB

I like Petersen a lot too, but I’d mention that he has shown some of the same problems at Washington that BK has at ND: 1-3 vs. Stanford, got smoked in his only major bowl game, only 1 win over a team that finished top 15, only 3 wins over teams that finished top 25 (including WSU this year, who might end the season outside the top 25 if they lose their bowl game). I’d take him in a heartbeat, but there are very few guaranteed upgrades out there, and I’d argue Petersen isn’t one of them.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Sitting and waiting for a guaranteed upgrade means you’re going to be waiting a long time. BK isn’t a very good or great coach, but he’s undeniably solid (somewhere in the 15-30 range of head coaches), and there are very few of the clear top-15 guys who aren’t pretty firmly ensconced in their jobs. The question is whether you should be happy with an 8.5-4.5 coach (one might say Coachocinco), which is what BK has been, is, and, in my opinion, will continue to be.

If you take that as a given, I think at some point you need to decide it’s worth risking the possibility of a 6-6 coach for the potential of a 10-2+ coach. At ND, really, what’s the difference between a 6-6 coach and and 8-4 coach? At least the 6-6 coach gets fired quickly. Like Brian Kelly says, at ND all we do is compete for national championships and graduate players. Laudably, he has done the latter (some minor probation notwithstanding). With one fun exception, he isn’t getting at the former.

MikeyB
MikeyB

I’ve never been a Kelly guy, so I would have been absolutely fine with them letting him go after last season. I just think a lot of people assume that Petersen and those like him would be an automatic upgrade. I’m not sold on that. I think there are maybe 5 guaranteed upgrades out there right now, none of whom are interested in the ND job (and hell, the Petersen’s of the world might not be very interested in it if Kelly were fired after a 9 win season).

So sure, I’m fine taking a risk that the next guy takes a step back. At the end of the day, there’s been about 2/3 of a season of fun football over the past 2 seasons. I watch college football for fun and entertainment, so that’s not an ideal ratio! I just think people should be realistic about what the ND job is at this point, as well as being realistic about what the coaching candidates are truly capable of doing.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

I agree with you about the realism of the candidates who would be interested, and valid point on Petersen and Stanford as well.

To that end, if Kelly is a top 15-30 coach in the country, which I’d probably agree with, my point was on the difficulty of identifying and recruiting a comparable/better and interested replacement. That’s a difficult task and one likely to fail and cause at least short-term trouble. It would have been a mistake to fire Kelly 12 months ago and bring in MacIntyre like many here wanted, and I believe it would be a mistake to fire Kelly now and bring in this year’s version of MacIntyre .

Kelly’s track record speaks for itself, and yeah most of the team he is a 9-3ish ND coach….The hope would be he finds a way to win that Georgia game and the Stanford game this year (same with the Clem/FSU games in ’15) and guess what, he is in the playoff. Thin line between heaven and here. Short of 2012 he’s never found ways to do enough, does that automatically doom 2018? I don’t believe so. There certainly isn’t much history of performance though to be confident.

MrTgon
MrTgon

I like this comment (hence why I liked this comment) and generally like your take on this team and the coaching staff. Well done.

I feel like we can blame BK for BVG. And I think the 4-8 2016 was purely BVG. So BK certainly needs to own that. But other than that, I’m in agreement with you and, by my count, its:

2012 – played for a NC. Got trounced by Bama. Note: Star player finds out just hours before the NC that his girlfriend that he’s gushed about on national television is really a dude. Promptly (and understandably) misses every tackle on the field.

2013 – loses his QB who was the linchpin to his success to that point. Note: how’d the mighty Jimbo Fisher look this year after losing his starter?

2014 – ranked #5 just before the entire team gets injured (also, wasn’t this the frozen five year?).

2015 – good team, good year, came close, little luck and they’re in playoff. (There’s an argument that BVG had them under-performing on D: for that, go ahead and Blame Kelly.)

2016 – BVG’d in a huge way (on D and recruiting wise) – Blame Kelly, no question

2017 – BVG gone, team appears back on track. Finishes 9-3 with some quality wins and, admittedly, some tough losses.

There’s an argument that Kelly should be fired for the simple reason that he hired and then stuck with BVG, which ultimately set ND back 3 years and led to this year being a rebuilding year when it shouldn’t have been. Some could certainly see that as a fire-able offense. But, if it’s not, I’m not sure the above resume, given the circumstances, screams 8-4 coach or that he’s some sort of albatross of mediocrity and that a Peterson or even a Shaw or a Harbaugh would be better.

kiwifan
kiwifan

I think your comment is balanced and rational. People tend to ignore facts they don’t like, don’t they?

One of the amusing examples is how so many rejoiced when Diaco left because they didn’t like his brand of defense (BBDB), and were over the top happy about BVG (much more aggressive, plus the ‘stache). Then he was the darth vader of the program and if there were still rails around he’d have been tarred and feathered. This year they were very happy with Elko’s style of defense (BBDB) until they weren’t.

Kelly was the wet dream of the fans when he was hired, now he’s a toothache without Novocain.

I wouldn’t be a coach in CFB unless I were already independently wealthy and could tell people to f-off if they thought they could do better from their living room couch.

Not that I’m a huge Kelly fan, as I’ve said before I think he tends to mess up his QB’s confidence, but I think the job at ND is hugely more difficult than most fans want to accept. I’ve looked at lists of prospective hires published on other sites and they are either totally delusional about who would come here, or total crap shoots.

MrTgon
MrTgon

Exactly!

IrishTexan
IrishTexan

Not to nitpick, but the thing is, he’s not even a 9-3 coach. He’s an 8-5 coach. Someone who was 9-3 in a bad year and 10-2, 11-1 in a good year where a few things come together would be worth keeping. That’s near Stoops level consistency. A 4-8 season last year really changed my thinking on Kelly. If you have a guy who’s floor is 8-5 and ceiling is 12-1, then you’ve got some good reason to keep him around short of a home run replacement. If, on the other hand, you’ve got a guy who’s floor is a disastrous losing season, and who’s making an increasingly strong point that the 12-1 was an outlier and that he will never win the big games, you should really consider moving on.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

This exercise just really shows what you’re willing to consider an outlier, what to include, what to exclude.

For instance, give Kelly an Olympic score (throw out his high season of 12-1, low season of 4-8) and he’s averaged 8.67 wins, 4.16 losses at ND.

Simply multiply winning % by 13 games for overall and that 8.667 wins in a season.

Just interesting to me how the perception goes for a guy who’s won 9+ games in 4 out of the last 6 seasons. That 4-8 really still dogs people. I get it but I’m past it, personally, and don’t really go back to that or fear it will happen again. Short of rehiring BVG it won’t happen again, so why worry?

And 8 years in, I do believe it’s fine to consider anything and everything. To take your own words, I believe this is exactly the scenario for 2017 and also 2018. “If you have a guy who’s floor is 8-5 and ceiling is 12-1, then you’ve got some good reason to keep him around short of a home run replacement.”

IrishTexan
IrishTexan

I think there is an intermediate hire to be made between where Kelly is and a NC-caliber coach. I.e., someone who can average 9-10 wins per year, maybe be good enough to make playoffs every 4 years or so. As Eric said in the article, I think Kelly has more than one hump to get over to be where we’d wish him to be. I’m not saying that I know who that person is, but I’d say that Kelly is behind people like Mike Gundy and Mark D’antonio. No one mistakes those guys for NC-caliber coaches, but they’ve acheived a more consistent level of better performance than BK in spite of obvious shortcomings (for example, both have had back to back 10 win seasons)

MikeyB
MikeyB

Mark D’antonio went 3-9 last year, and in his best season, was knocked out of National Championship contention by Brian Kelly. Gundy would be fun as hell, but I don’t think there’s any chance that D’antonio is a better coach than Kelly. If people are furious about a lack of QB development under Kelly, they’d be apoplectic about what D’antonio’s QB disasters.

IrishTexan
IrishTexan

I recognize that MSU had a terrible year last year too. But D’antonio has also had back to back 10 win seasons, which is a level of consistency Kelly has failed to acheive

MikeyB
MikeyB

MSU has also played a much worse schedule than ND almost every year fwiw. But yeah, agreed that the consistency under Kelly has been nonexistent. His inability to carry over “momentum” from one year to the next has been really strange.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Dantonio is basically doing what Brian Kelly is doing, but he is doing it at Michigan State rather than Notre Dame. That’s pretty strong evidence that he is a better football coach than Brian Kelly.

(Yes, yes, ND has strictures not applicable to Michigan State, but ND football also has way, way more in the positive column than MSU football does.)

mlafort1
mlafort1

“At one point it looked like he was close to getting over the hump (for me in basic terms this would mean winning a major bowl and having back-to-back 10+ win seasons)”

This captures my feelings exactly. I thought 2016 would tell us whether he was an 8-4 coach who got hot a couple times or a 10 win coach with some bad luck in 2013 (Golson) and 2014 (injuries) but then 4-8 threw us all for a loop. Seems like we’re back to good-but-not-great Kelly which says enough for me. Maybe 2018 is the year we’ve all been waiting for, but there’s no real reason to expect it at this point.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

They just don’t look as enthused as they did at the beginning of the season. They all look like they’re playing tight, not loose. No one looks like they’re having fun, neither the coaches nor the players. They look like they’re grinding and can’t wait for it to end.

I don’t understand how they can go from playing so loose and looking like they’re having a blast, to just looking miserable and like they would rather be anywhere else. All of that changed in one quarter in my opinion. Midway through the third quarter of the Wake game. They haven’t looked the same since then.

I’m not big on yelling to fire the coach after a bad game. I definitely don’t want to return to the Bob Wiesingham days, but that’s 10 quarters of uninspired and lethargic football. I don’t think it’s fair to blame coaching on one player that is underperforming, but when it’s the entire team, and the difference is so night and day? I can’t see any other place to look except the coaching staff.

I know this is all jumbled and not very coherent, but this so frustrating.

rudy8655
rudy8655

It seems to me when Kelly feels pressure the whole team feels the same pressure. And for 18-21 year olds, pressure generally doesn’t perform well. But having fun does. (I know broad brush and all). In high school our football program sucked but our wrestling program rocked. The biggest difference was that we looked forward to wrestling practices and meets but not to football. We worked harder in wrestling but it was more fun. When I don’t see people celebrating and generally enjoying the game I start to feel like we are going to lose. Seems like Navy is this way every year one reason I am in favoring of limiting our games with them, they seem to deflate the team and it’s hard to get them back on track. Sorry for the ramble.

IrishTexan
IrishTexan

That does seem to be one consistent point. Often, when we’ve had good seasons, it’s usually something of an unexpected run at the beginning of the season, which then falls flat (2012 NCG, 2014, 2017). The brighter the lights get, the worse the team performs. Maybe they look like the moment is too big for them because it’s too big for their coach?

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

Perhaps Kelly will decide that the best that can be done at ND is 8-5, and he wants to win a National Championship. Perhaps he will jump on the carousel. Perhaps A&M gets Fisher and he can jump on at FSU. Or perhaps Tennessee.

kiwifan
kiwifan

If ND is suffering from a curse, my bet is that it’s an administration that’s committed to squaring the circle. Not doable.

Orlok
Orlok

“Brian Kelly will be replaced, eventually. Until that happens there is no reason for hope.”

I agree with this.

What I wonder is this: how many fans will be willing to pull the plug on Kelly when he goes 7-5 or 8-4 next year? And if Swarbrick doesn’t do it, will the board / regents be willing to replace him [it seems like he’s done a good job outside of football, and other than extending Kelly’s contract, I think he’s done well there]?

Because I watched Michigan play Wisconsin, and – it grieves me to say this – I think they’re going to beat us next year when they return their entire team and we lose some key ingredients. So I think the seat is going to be hot from game one on, and that schedule is very unforgiving.

And to all of you making the absolutely terrible “We can’t get anyone better.” That is a God-awful argument. Of course we’re not going to get Saban or Meyer. We’re going to have do what most programs do, which is take a chance on a guy who’s overachieved relative to the talent and resources his current location has. If we were on the market this year, we’d have a chance at Frost. We’d have had a chance at Fuentes last year (we’re a better program than VaTech). So no, you don’t get a guaranteed hire – you have to take a chance, and that’s life, sack up and do it.

Clearwall
Clearwall

Was David Shaw demonstrably better than Harbaugh? I know they didnt really have an option, but the proof is there…you hire the RIGHT guy, not just the guy that has won 10 games a year for the past 3 seasons at a P5 school.

kiwifan
kiwifan

Wasn’t Shaw a known quantity by Stanford? An internal hire?

Orlok
Orlok

I don’t think you can really know how an assistant coach will do as a head coach. You can say he’s a fit for the program but you’re still rolling the dice.

RiseUpIrish
RiseUpIrish

Quick, promote Mike Elston!

MikeyB
MikeyB

Ah yes, Justin Fuente. I’m sure we’d all love to have a coach who played Miami and a triple option team this year and came out with *checks schedule* a loss to Miami and a loss to a triple option team???

Orlok
Orlok

You’re performing the wrong counterfactual analysis. Virginia Tech has much less talent than we do and Fuentes is in year 2 of a rebuild, not year 8.

MikeyB
MikeyB

Virginia Tech didn’t really have a rebuild; they didnt have a Charlie Weis disaster before Fuente got there. Also his best win this year is what, Boston College? I’m not particularly impressed by a guy who can beat a bunch of trash teams but chokes in big games; we already have that coach.

Orlok
Orlok

Weis’s last two years:
Notre Dame’s 2008 record: 7-6
Notre Dame’s 2009 record: 6-6

Beamer’s last two years:
VaTech 2014: 7-6
VaTech 2015: 7-6

Weis was also a much better recruiter than Beamer, so your “Weis disaster” comment doesn’t really make sense. And for Brian Kelly, what was his best win through two years at ND? Utah at home after bombing against Tulsa? A 6-6 USC team on the road?

Anyway, my point is not about Fuentes in particular; I don’t think he’s the second coming of bear Bryant. My point is that ND would be attractive to an up and coming coach that we would be willing to take a chance on.

MikeyB
MikeyB

Arbitrary endpoint game. Always fun.
Notre Dame’s 2007 record: 3-9
Va Tech’s 2013 record: 8-5

Notre Dame’s 2009 recruiting class: #15
Virginia Tech’s 2013 recruiting class: #21

It’s not like Fuente was starting with some bare cupboard. He had talent, and he’s beaten nobody with talent. I guess I don’t understand why you’re excited to compare Fuente’s first 2 years to Kelly’s. If they’re the same coach, why would you want Fuente anyway?

Anyway, my point is that “up and coming” coaches aren’t some sort of guaranteed thing, and that many of them actually seem to have the exact same flaws as the current ND coach that everybody hates.

Orlok
Orlok

Let’s talk about how arbitrary these are.

I agree that the win pct looks better for Beamer over his last three years than for Weis over his three years (driven by the third from the last year as you note). But then you’re basically comparing a program with an average of 5 wins to program with an average of 6.5 wins (VaTech). Neither looks that good, but I think it’s fair to say it’s a noticeable difference. I didn’t feel the ND program finished in disaster with Weis – he restored recruiting. But he was a terrible coach and couldn’t win with the great talent he recruited.

Which brings me to the part where I disagree with you. Recruiting:

The 2009 class was Charlie Weis’s last (he was in his third from last year) and he was already on the hotseat. Beamer was in his third from last year and not on the hot seat (evidenced by him surviving a mediocre 2014).

And let’s look at the team composite rankings here:
https://247sports.com/Season/2017-Football/CollegeTeamTalentComposite

Notice how far behind VaTech is when you look over a five year period (roughly a measure of the number of classes in the current roster). I don’t think it’s crazy to claim Fuentes would have more wins with our talent.

All of this is to say that I agree – new coaches are not guaranteed. But at some point, you have to take a chance. I think it’s fair to say we’ve reached that time at year 8 averaging about 8 wins a year. That’s been my main point this whole time – the “we’re not guaranteed a better coach” is not an argument. If there were a 50% chance we’d get a better coach, I’d take it, because the current level is unacceptable and will persist is as long as Kelly is here.

MikeyB
MikeyB

Look at the list of guys Eric put together last year. I wouldn’t want 50% of those “up and comers.”

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

“and other than extending Kelly’s contract, I think he’s done well there”

I wish I knew how to embed this

Orlok
Orlok

Hey, I’m on your side! But the Crossroads project was a big win and he’s made sure that enough resources devoted to the football program (training table, assistant coach salaries etc). And the initial hire of Brian Kelly was exciting – Kelly was coming off an undefeated season at Cincinnati.

But yeah, that extension is a big WTF.

juicebox
juicebox

I still think BK is in that 3rd tier of coaches (top 10ish). But even given that, I am totally fine with a change, maybe even hope for it.

Even if we hire someone that we know is worse, at least it gives us hope for a couple years. I don’t think anyone out there is likely to do better, but maybe we could hire some young coach and get lucky.

I am totally OK at this point with change simply for the sake of change.

IrishTexan
IrishTexan

I’m interested in which criteria you’re using to feel that Kelly is a top 10-15 coach. I’ll hang up and listen.

juicebox
juicebox

My criteria is what they have accomplished. Which is admittedly more of a there aren’t many great coaches out there (as someone pointed out about Peterson). Basically if you have a job, and have had it for 5 years at a P5 school, you are probably a top 10 coach.

Tier 1: Meyer, Saban, Dabo. NC caliber coaches
Tier 2: Shaw, Fisher (may be transitioning down), Chip Kelly. Consistently great teams. Appears to have a ceiling.
Tier 3: BK, D’Antonio, Peterson, Richt, Franklin, Harbaugh, Snyder, Wisconsin’s coach every year. Basically every other coach who has made the playoff. No one here has as high a high as BK, the rest are more consistent.

Is there anyone else you really think has done more than BK? Is there anyone else that deserves to be in that group? I only scanned the top 25 (and almost forgot about Harbaugh lolz).

None of those guys in his tier have accomplished more than him, most just have better records at schools that play much easier schedules. They are probably similar level recruiters given their situation.

If I were including retired coaches, I would put Miles and Stoops in Tier 2. Beamer in Tier 3.

One of the big differences in how nd09 and I judge coaches is that he thinks it is easier to win at ND than say MSU/KSU because of the resources, while I think it is harder because of the schedule and limitations.

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

This is helpful to be reminded of when we go thinking about a new coach. Do you want to give up a Tier 3 coach for a chance at a Tier 1 or 2 guy and a chance at being worse? What’s more likely to happen?

juicebox
juicebox

Forgot Patterson, I would put him in Tier 3.

And more importantly forgot Gruden, who probably deserves his own Tier as he would easily whoop Meyer and Saban if he came to ND.

juicebox
juicebox

Someone doesn’t think Gruden would immediately be the best coach in college football? SAD

kiwifan
kiwifan

That wasn’t me, but I’ll bet you my house he will never coach college football. If he wanted to, he’s have done it by now.Join the discussion

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

I thought you were joking.

theman0605
theman0605

At the risk of getting my head chopped off, check this out:

http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/football_records/2017/coaching.pdf

Page 5 is where it starts for active coaches. By current active coaches with at least 5 years at a 4 year program, here’s the top 1-15 by percentage:

(1) Meyer, (2) Fisher, (3) Petersen, (4) Shaw, (5) Saban, (6) Swinney, (7) Richt, (8) Patterson, (9) Kelly, (10) Petrino, (11) Harbaugh, (12) Malzahn, (13) Gundy and Wittingham, (15) Sumlin

The top 1-15 by Total Victories (again active coaches):

(1) Kelly, (2) Saban, (3) Snyder, (4) Paul Johnson, (5) Meyer, (6) Terry Bowden, (7) Rich Rod, (8) Richt, (9) Patterson, (10) Ferentz, (11) Solich, (12) Petersen, Skip Holtz, Rocky Long, (15) Mike Leach.

If you look at winningest active coaches all time (percentage):
(1) Rockne, (2) Leahy, (3) Urban, (4) George Woodruff, (5) Barry Switzer

Kelly doesn’t even make the list by percentage. A couple of others of note (names mentioned in this thread):
(11) Chris Petersen, (14) Bob Stoops, (21) Saban.

Additional Irish coaches on the list: (39) Devine, (41) Ara, (44) Layden. I was actually surprised that Holtz wasn’t on the list, but I guess he did alot of reclamation projects throughout the years. Probably hurt his win pct.

Last, by victories (all-time):
(1) Paterno, (2) Bobby Bowden, (3) Pop Warner, (4) Bear Bryant, (5) Amos Alonzo Stagg, (6) Frank Beamer, (7) LaVell Edwards, (8) Tom Osborne, (9) Lou Holtz, (10) Mack Brown, (11) Woody Hayes, (12) Bo Schembechler, (13) Chris Ault, (14) Hayden Fry, (15) Kelly

So at least by three of four metrics, Kelly does fall in the top 10-15.

Now what would be cool among the active coaches would be to look at (from a statistical perspective) momentum (ie rate of change in the + or – direction) year over year. That may take a little more doing.

Interesting stuff.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I mean sure. Now take those numbers and only include power conferences. BK is an elite 1-AA coach, no disputing that.

theman0605
theman0605

That would be an interesting way to break out the analysis. Would have to put more effort into the data collection, though.

IrishTexan
IrishTexan

Am I correct in assuming that these numbers take into account his wins at DII level, or is this just CMU-Cincy-ND?

theman0605
theman0605

They must, because the wins span his whole career.

VAMack
VAMack

It would be great to see BK demonstrate passion, aggressiveness, and confidence during these road trips. His body language screams “losing”, even when they are willing. Arms crossed with a look of exhausted consternation does not inspire me and apparently does not inspire the team. BW appeared to have the same look on his face during the game. Maybe I was seeing it in Kizer and Golson as well. What happened to enjoying a challenge? These guys (who are in positions of team leadership on offense) often look like they are burned out and/or gun-shy.

BK could try channeling Holtz by squatting down and chewing grass before energetically pacing the sidelines, but the artificial turf ruins that.

spider-man
spider-man

Which is better – to pull the plug now and go after a new coach, or to go through next year expecting that BK will be let go at some point and possibly creating a lost season?

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

We got the perfectly worst season to have this conversation. You simply can’t fire a coach for winning 9 games, against an objectively tough schedule, after a 4 win season. Nobody else will take the job. There isn’t enough money in the truck for Swarbrick to back up.

We lost two games by blow-out. Admittedly Stanford was close until the turnovers, and Miami would have played very differently but for the turnovers. However, those blow-outs and the finish make the season feel worse than it in fact was. Go back and look at all the posts after we blew out USC for the feeling of euphoria.

IF we had played Miami and Stanford close, I think people would feel differently about this 9-3. Kelly 2.0 felt really great we played Georgia close, we were blowing out weak teams and even one good one. The two losses felt like Kelly 1.0 was there all the time. Thus to many, me included, there is a feeling that the 9-3 is fool’s gold.

Given the team’s trends in true road games against good teams, next year there are three. Va Tech, USC and, even Northwestern won 8. Add in Stanford, Michigan and Florida State (who will have their good QB back) at home, and you could be looking at 6-6 without any difficulty.

juicebox
juicebox

Nebraska fired a coach for winning 9 games!

DCIrish84
DCIrish84
Russell Knox
Russell Knox

This article could be valid. I think Kiwi has been making a similar point. Maybe it’s not BK, maybe it’s the infrastructure, or something else within the school itself that is getting in the way.

I don’t see any head coach showing up at ND and not having some adjustment period. Not in the current college football atmosphere. Having said all of that, if they fired him today, I would be ok with it. I really don’t want to see two more decades of mediocrity though, so if they fire him, make sure they have the right guy.

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

I think the problem is you really never know you have the right guy until the results show themselves on the field.

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

And look how it worked out for them. They just fired the guy they thought could get them to 10 or beyond. The odds are just not good.

gbsk
gbsk

GA fired Richt, who I would argue is a much better coach than Kelly and then got Smart. Smart seems to be doing even better than Richt at GA. Frankly, I do not see any improvement next year and I think ND will have more talent but it will be wasted. They need a change.

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

That is one of the rare exceptions.

Clearwall
Clearwall

I admit I don’t understand this thinking. Not saying it isn’t true, but if you think you’re hot stuff (and ever HC thinks he is) then you’re inheriting a guaranteed good team (which would anyone argue we are?) And a fantasy that is simply tired of the old guy. You step in and immediately go 9-3 or 10-2 and you’re an instant hero. You’re also going to a place that has shown it will stay with you for nearly a decade regardless of your record, but remember, you’re hot stuff. You’ll be the hero this fan base had been dreaming about because you can take a 9-3 team and turn e’en into a playoff team. You don’t have to go through any lean years.

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

It is a no win situation for the new guy. He comes in and goes to 10 games and everyone says he did it with the other guys players. If he fails to sustain excellence, he is Kevin Sumlin and is fired summarily. If he only wins 8, the fan base turns on him immediately. I am sure most coaches feel 9-3 is a good year, not one that gets you fired. Of course, if you are Sumlin, you get that buyout to heal all wounds.

Clearwall
Clearwall

How is it no-win? The argument we are all making is that regardless of talent, it’s Kelly’s decision-making, lack of prep, etc that is holding us back. All we want is a guy to come in and maximize the elite talent we have, not revamp the entire program. You walk in and win a national title or at least a Semifinal game you’re set for a LONG time here and the history proves that. No one said that 2010 winning the Sun Bowl was just because of Weis’ players. We looked at it as the turnaround year.

So you’re saying if you’re a coach you’d rather go to UCLA, a team that has been a random Pac-12 champ once a decade or so and traditionally a 3rd or 4th best team in their division than ND? Or you’d rather go to A&M where they’ve had one good season in about 30 when they had Manziel? I guess I’m the weird one, I wouldnt want to have to build an entire program. I want the one where I can instantly win and all I have to do is make a few adjustments to an already elite program.

kiwifan
kiwifan

I don’t think ND can be categorized these days as elite, and really hasn’t been for a long time. We have some good years, even one great one, 2012, then the real elite team showed how far off that mark we are, emphatically.

Honestly, as much as I love ND, if I were an aggressive, highly confident coach, ND would be way down my list of places to coach. The fans are still stuck in a time warp thinking we’re on a level playing field with the real big boys, and we very clearly are not, from several critical factors, most importantly having a much smaller pool of talent to recruit from.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I think this is not right at all. Stanford has a smaller pool of talent to recruit from (there’s nobody they can recruit that we can’t, and there are a good number of guys we can that they can’t), and they have spent this decade as an elite program. They have some obvious relative advantages, of course, but also some disadvantages beyond the smaller pool of recruits as well (namely, being hundreds of miles further away from ND to Texas and thousands of miles further than the South/Florida).

IMO, especially given Michigan and Penn State’s relative collapse this decade, if ND had hired a Shaw equivalent in terms of coaching (i.e., a clear top-10 guy) and Stanford had hired a Kelly equivalent (i.e., a 15-30 guy), ND would be in Stanford’s position right now, if not better.

kiwifan
kiwifan

I don’t see any geographic disadvantages that Stanford has vs ND. Lets see, gloomy winter in Indiana or sunny California? Easy choice for most kids.

I also don’t know why you think they have a smaller pool to recruit from than ND. How so??

Being far away from Texas or Florida means nothing, plus California has the biggest talent pool of all.

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

Personally, I would rather be at ND. People did say he won with Weis’ players, just like they said it about Willingham when he was cut loose and even Weis when he was cut loose. Rather ironic in that situation because Willingham was cut loose in part because he put no effort into recruiting. That said, that is not the issue. It is one of realistic expectations. Your family has to live in that town, your kids go to school in that town. Only about 12% of the teams win more than 75% of their games in a given year. It is truly not realistic to expect your team to go better than 9-3 every year. Over the last five years, it is probably only Alabama and Clemson (and I am not sure about them) that have. People want to run Jimbo Fisher out of Tallahassee over this year, and he lost his starting QB in game one. This year made him fall out of that better than 9-3 category.

Even Ara felt the demands of the job were hard and quit at a young age, and that was before the advent of the internet, 24 hour sports talk, etc.

At the end of the day, they committed to Kelly for 2018 when they brought all the new staff on so it is meaningless. Unless he leaves of his own volition, he will be leading the team out of the tunnel against Michigan in September.

Now, 2019 could be a different story.

dannan14
dannan14

Small nit…approximately 20% of teams win 75% or more of their games each year. Over the last 5 full seasons (using Stassen’s site and not willing to do my own math to add current 2017 records) 8 teams have won 75% or more. They are aOSU, Alabama, Clemson, FSU, Oklahoma, Stanford, Boise St, and Louisville. ND is 23rd at .672

i’m with you on the point of your argument, just wanted to fill in the correct stats.

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

Thanks. I was going with more than 9, trying to show how rare it is to win 10 in the regular season. Either way, it proves the point. FSU will fall off the list this year. I think Boise falls off as well (too lazy to look). At 23rd, we are roughly in the top 19% in win percentage over that period (roughly 120 teams in FBS). There is a lot more risk in regression than their is in improvement from a change. That said, at some point it becomes necessary. As the thread says though, hope is a dangerous thing. When the coaching carousel stops spinning, I would be willing to bet that there is no coach hired that we can all agree is a guaranteed improvement.

Unless Fisher moves to TAMU, based on the rumors, my guess is that the closest to a guaranteed improvement will turn out to be Mullen. If Herm Edwards can get a job, anybody can.

IrishTexan
IrishTexan

I think the thing is that this season came out of nowhere. A lot of people were expecting another 8-4, 7-5 type of year, perhaps with the losses being spaced more throughout the year and less of a late-season collapse. That would probably have been enough to can him, although I’m not sure Swarbrick would have. Instead we got what we got, and now next year will be that year, maybe. Gray area indeed.

Vince Miller
Vince Miller

This sucks. Saturday morning we were being mentioned as a potential playoff team. Then that happens.

I guess I tend to be an optimist, though. Isn’t it possible that Wimbush might develop into our version of Tajh Boyd? You know, the good solid QB that wins 10 games in consecutive years and clears the way for the ascendant National-title QB?

Yeah, not likely I guess. I’m ok with keeping Kelly and seeing if he can win 10 games next year. I’d probably be more excited about Scott Frost, though.

Friendly Crustacean
Friendly Crustacean

I think we can try to be more concrete than the subject allows for when we talk about predicting how many wins a certain coach may be good for, even one we know well. How many national championships have been won by coaches who laid eggs in subsequent seasons?

Also, I think the team really was different this season in a good way. If last off season Kelly made big, necessary changes to move the program forward (at least partly because he was forced to), who is to say that won’t happen again this off season, with the issues being addressing what leads to poor late season play and consistently poor quarterback development (and maybe special teams and secondary)? Given that last offseason’s changes were well received, I don’t see why we would expect the convo between Kelly and Swarbrick to be unfruitful in downstream changes this time. I think the new strength and conditioning folks will be open to thinking creatively about late season burn out.

Kelly seems to be a very flawed coach, but also one who can get results when pressed to address things he is naturally averse to addressing. This exercise itself makes him a better coach, even if the credit lies elsewhere.

MikeyB
MikeyB

Since it hasn’t really come up: is Chip Long a good Offensive Coordinator? I’ve never been a fan of the slow developing read option plays (super-athletic front 7s seem to have an ability to blow those up for huge losses if the offense doesn’t execute to perfection), but the system has looked really good for much of the year, even with a QB who can’t throw a screen pass. But, when we’ve fallen behind, the offense has kind of gone to hell. So I ask you all; is Chip Long a coordinator who could win a playoff game in a shootout, while putting together a consistent enough season to get to that shootout?

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

This was his second season calling plays. In fairness to him, I think it is too early to tell.

kiwifan
kiwifan

Learning on the job at ND is asking for trouble. I think for sure that’s one of the problems with our DB’s.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

A bit off topic but in happier news some good old fashioned Nick Saban convenient hypocrisy to take you into your Tuesday morning

comment image

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

What, precisely, have they accomplished? There is only 1 good team in the SEC East and they didn’t play them. LSU and Miss St are Top 25, but mainly on the basis that they play in the SEC West. I don’t think either is particularly good. They played 3 games against Top 25 teams and won two of them. Auburn played 5 and won three of them. Alabama was not really tested, and didn’t play a tough nonconference opponent. In fairness, they killed the FSU QB so that game may have played out differently had they not injured the guy (not on purpose – just going for sarcasm).

Every team can make the same argument, and I don’t blame him for trying. I think it will be tough for them to get in unless Georgia beats Auburn AND either TCU beats Oklahoma or Ohio State beats Wisconsin. If not, I think it is SEC Champ, Big 12 Champ, ACC Champ and Big 10 Champ.

Alabama probably gets selected ahead of 1 loss TCU or 2 loss tOSU. It is a tough call on a 2 loss Georgia. I don’t see USC or Stanford getting in under any circumstances.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

The only potential 2-loss teams that may get in over Bama is Auburn (will get in over them if they win SECCG) and Ohio State (would be more interesting; they will not be ranked ahead of Bama after tonight but are playing undefeated and top-4 Wisconsin this evening). Next closest would be USC, but they won’t be able to get there (beating Stanford twice isn’t going to be that impressive… not that we could beat Stanford). Then TCU, but TCU has 2 losses (not 1), and would not be ranked ahead of Bama if they win the Big 12 (nor would Oklahoma if they lose the B12CG. 2-loss Georgia wouldn’t even be close to Bama.

CardinalBaseball
CardinalBaseball

This is also great because it was hypocritical the moment it was spoken (see 2011 v LSU). And I saw the Kiffin tweet calling it rat poison. He’s hilarious

MikeyB
MikeyB

Perhaps the greatest thing about this already fantastic graphic is that Lane Kiffin retweeted it.

And now that I’m thinking about Lane, how hilarious of a fit would he be at ND?

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Lane’s best fit is at Ole Miss. He’s very interested in the talent at The Grove.

But he doesn’t know anything about the football team.

gambit1077
gambit1077

So… Top 5 basketball game on Thursday. Could be fun.

mlafort1
mlafort1

With the Arizona State rumor and folks talking about the multiple year deals that we gave Elko and Chip Long, here’s a question: would you be willing to hire a new coach with the stipulation that he keep the coordinators?

I’d say no considering the option ASU is facing is Herm Edwards or another NFL retread and I’d assume any college coach would want his own guys. Possible exception of Norvell and Dave Clawson who I’d probably both be fine with.

MrTgon
MrTgon

My humble and novice opinion: Y’all going too far. Sure, they’re flawed. But they’re also close, I think. ND finished the regular season the second best 9-3 team in the country and ranked 15th. They beat the snot out of #24 N.C. State, #16 M. State, and #10 USC, got barely beaten by #6 Georgia, pistol whipped by #7 Miami (teams are going to have bad games sometimes), and just plain ol’ fell apart in the 4th against #12 Stanford (I didn’t get to watch much of it, but winning 20-17 in the 4th and then falling apart for 3 minutes and 36 seconds is not getting blown out). ND pretty much dominated everyone else they played, which weren’t a bunch of Citadels. Why is that such a bad season? Why is BK such an awful/pathetically mediocre coach/developer of talent for that season? BK didn’t throw 5 interceptions and fumble the ball 3 times (or whatever it was) over the last 3 games. 18-20 year old kids trying as hard as they could did. It’s football. Sh1t happens – it doesn’t mean they were coached poorly or that they suck. Winning an NCAA championship (or even making the playoffs) is not just about being a great team – it’s also about getting hot at the right time and catching some breaks. Sure we’re not Alabama, where our second string team would probably be ranked in the top 30 of the country. But we’re pretty effin good. Why is it that you’re all soooooo convinced that we’re the ND that lost to Miami and Stanford and not the ND that trounced USC and M. State? Why is it that you’re convinced that Georgia is the 9-0 Georgia and not the Georgia that was utterly dominated by Auburn? Why is it that you’re convinced that Auburn is the Auburn that torched Georgia and not the Auburn that lost to LSU? (Who lost to friggin Troy!!). After the USC win, suddenly y’all were talking about how great this team was. Then they get trounced by Miami and suddenly we’re just not even in the conversation anymore. it’s a bit sore loser-ish if you ask me (I know, I know – nobody did). BK made a HUGE mistake hiring BVG. He made and even more wicked huger mistake not firing his a$$ instamatically (so huge it called for poor grammar, my New England slang, and a Rocky reference). Those two mistakes set ND back three years, easy. There’s a good chance ND is not only a playoff team but a championship contender in 2015 and NEVER comes close to 4-8 in 2016 if an Elko-type was hired in the first place instead of the mustachioed master of let’s have linemen drop into coverage. So, for the colossal blunder that was the hiring of Brian Van Gorder, blame Kelly. Hell call for his head if you think it’s a deal breaker of a mistake. But let’s not take things too far. This team is good.… Read more »

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

We all need to stop talking about the NC State win like it was some sort of significant accomplishment or a win in a big game. It was not. NC State is 45th in the S&P+ rankings and is, you know, NC State.

MrTgon
MrTgon

Fair enough. I won’t. I promise. In fact, I’m pretty sure I didn’t. “They beat the snot out of #24 N.C. State” seems like just a plain ol’ true statement. They did that. But maybe you’re right. Maybe I should have qualified the statement in terms of significance of win. I’m no expert, so take this for what it’s worth, but here goes: My guess is that it would rank just above “They beat the snot out of #25 N.C. State” and just below “They beat the snot out of #23 N.C. State.”

More Noise
More Noise

Good for you, Mr Tgon. And Hooks Orpic.
Having come the 6,000 miles to be in Stanford Stadium last week, and then having travelled about 10,000 miles back via LA and DC and Berlin, with two sleepless nights, always with the vivid scene replaying in nightmarish slo-mo in my head of BW’s interception that was literally right in front of me, I can tell you why we are mostly leaning “bad team/fire Kelly” – it was just such a freakin’ shock. And the Stanford game was a program changer for BK, if we had won. And we are fans of the greatest college football team over a century of football (though the evil genius that wound up somewhere in central Alabama is closing)… so we have very high expectations. And should.
That said – I love positive guys and I want to thank you both.
Go Irish as we say!

kiwifan
kiwifan

Hah. I liked that one 🙂 Made me laugh, plus its true, so even better.