Notre Dame may have lost the BCS Championship game, but the Irish will be back next year. With the No. 2 ranked recruiting class on Rivals.com, and the reigning Coach of the Year at the helm, the Irish are poised to return to the title matchup.
Prior to the championship game, head coach Brian Kelly said the bar had been set. "They've already been here. You come back the next year, it's unacceptable for a standard to be any less than being back here again. So it's an incredible springboard." Kelly told Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune.
Kelly isn't the only one who believes the Irish will return to the title game. Let's take a look at why Notre Dame will be back in the BCS Championship in 2014.
Kelly is no stranger to national championships. While at Grand Valley State in Allendale, Michigan, he won back-to-back Division II national titles in 2002 and 2003. Now that he has tasted Division I success, he is sure to return. In the wake of this year's success with the Fighting Irish, Kelly has taken home AP College Football Coach of the Year, Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, SN Coach of the Year and Walter Camp Coach of the Year.
Currently there is speculation that Kelly will leave the Fighting Irish to coach the Philadelphia Eagles due to his recent interview with the team, but I do not believe Kelly is actually serious about the position.
With or without Kelly, the Irish have some serious talent descending on South Bend this fall. The recruiting class of 2013 have coined themselves the "Irish Mob 13." The group, as evidenced by their self-appointed title, shares a very special bond and connection to the university not commonly found in high school commits. They include three 5-star and thirteen 4-star (via rivals.com) recruits.
Will Notre Dame be back in the championship game next year?
Last, but certainly not least, are the current players who will return next season, wiser from their BCS experience. Star running back Cierre Wood has yet to officially declare himself for the 2013 draft, and cornerback Bennett Jackson also has another year of eligibility with the Fighting Irish.
With great up and coming talent both on the field and seasoned veterans among the coaching staff, the Irish will return in 2014.
Do you think the Irish will return to the championship game next year? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.