2010 College Football Independents: Looking Ahead

David HedlindAnalyst IIMay 12, 2010

SOUTH BEND, IN - DECEMBER 11: Brian Kelly attends a press conference where he was named new football head coach at Notre Dame University on December 11, 2009 in South Bend, Indiana.  Kelly most recently led the University of Cincinnati to two consecutive Bowl Championship Series appearances including a perfect 12-0 record this past season. (Photo by Frank Polich/Getty Images)
Frank Polich/Getty Images

Notre Dame is at the heart of expansion talk, again, or should I say as usual?

Seems like everyone outside of the Notre Dame fanbase wants them in the Big Ten.

Rumors are, of course, moving that the Big Ten has extended an invite. As far as I know, those are just rumors.

If they stay independent then nothing really changes for them.

Should they decide to join the Big Ten, or even more slim chance, the Big East, then the face of independent football would be changed forever.

The other two independents, Army and Navy, are unlikely candidates for conference expansion, there is always a small chance for them to receive an invite should some conferences be left looking to reload their ranks.

Army has an agreement so that as long as they become bowl eligible in 2010, they will go to the Fortworth Bowl. The bowl currently would feature a team from the Mountain West and Conference USA. I was unable to find who loses their spot to Army.

Navy has an agreement with the Poinsettia Bowl to play against a team from the Mountain West should they become eligible. If they don’t, I think the spot simply goes to an at-large.

Notre Dame still has their own exclusive criteria for reaching a BCS bowl, otherwise they can be selected in place of a Big East team for any of their bowls.

In possibly the biggest coaching change, Notre Dame named Brian Kelly as the new head coach, replacing Charlie Weis.

Kelly has been a winner everywhere he has been. He was a DII back-to-back champion with Grand Valley State. He led Central Michigan to a MAC championship in his third season. In three seasons he also took Cincinnati to a Big East title and followed it up the next year with another.

A lot of Notre Dame fans already have big expectations but they may need to give it a little time based on his track record. I don’t expect it will be a long wait.

The next question is: Is there a job that Kelly would leave Notre Dame for?