Notre Dame Football: Brian Kelly Is Running Away with Coach of the Year Honors

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 03:  Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish talks to coaches on the headphones during a game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Stadium on November 3, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Pittsburgh 29-26 in triple overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After Notre Dame was recently named the No. 1 team in the BCS standings, Brian Kelly is running away with the Coach of the Year honors in college football this season.

Nobody saw this type of a season coming from the Irish (11-0). The team had quarterback issues at the start of the season. Neither Everett Golson nor Tommy Rees grabbed a hold of the position, but they played well enough to win games. Golson has played well as a sophomore, but he also had his struggles.

Kelly has done a phenomenal job with the team this season.

The team's schedule was supposed to make it nearly impossible for them to make a BCS game this season. With Michigan State, Michigan, Stanford, Oklahoma and USC all on the schedule, preseason expectations weren't very high.

Instead of using the schedule as an excuse to lose games, Kelly has his team playing at a high level. Notre Dame has had its close calls, and they should have lost to Pittsburgh. Most teams that play for the national championship end up winning games they should have lost.

Upsets of the top three teams in the country the past two weeks have helped Notre Dame jump to No. 1. As long as the Irish avoid being upset at USC this week, they will be heading to Florida in January.

As his team continues to win, Kelly should get more recognition for the job he has done this season.

The Irish have allowed 10 points or fewer in six games this season, and they have allowed more than 14 points twice. The defense, led by Manti Te'o, is playing lights out. Defense wins championships, and the Irish have a great defense.

Not only does the team's success give Kelly the edge, but what other coach has put his name into the mix?

The only coach that comes to mind is Urban Meyer of The Ohio State. Sorry, Buckeyes. Your team has gone from 6-7 to 11-0, but the schedule they have played has been a joke. That being said, Ohio State has struggled to beat the teams on the schedule. Illinois and Penn State have been the only easy games. The team even struggled putting non-conference teams away.

Kansas State's Bill Snyder deserves credit for getting his team to BCS No. 1, but that schedule was not very tough. To slip up against Baylor after playing an easy schedule knocks Snyder out of the race.

UCLA's Jim Mora and Oregon State's Mike Riley deserve some consideration as well. If Oregon State knocks off the Oregon Ducks this weekend, he deserves to be the runner-up for the award. 

Kelly has turned around the University of Cincinnati and now Notre Dame. People in Cincinnati did not want to see him succeed after he left, but he has made the Irish relevant again.

What Kelly has done with this team this season has been remarkable, and he should now be the favorite to win Coach of the Year to reward him for a great season.