Notre Dame Fans: Is Brian Kelly Really Rich Rodriguez?

Cliff Eastham@RedsToTheBoneSenior Writer IIDecember 5, 2009

Many Notre Dame fans are clamoring for the ND Muckety Mucks to obtain one of the brightest shining stars in the college football solar system. Cincinnati Bearcat head coach Brian Kelly, 48, is, by far, the choice of most for the vacated job left by the firing of Charlie Weis.

If the Fighting Irish faithful is certain Kelly will bring instant success to a mediocre team, they need look no further than Ann Arbor.

Near the end of the 2007 season, the University of Michigan was feeling that since Lloyd Carr was retiring, maybe they would be able to find someone who could beat the Ohio State Buckeyes. Carr was 9-4 his last year at Big Blue, but most "fair weather" fans just remember that he lost six of his previous seven games to the Buckeyes.

Stay with me Notre Dame faithful, I am painting a portrait for you.

Michigan honchos began looking at other nests they could pillage from. West Virginia, a Big East school which was one of the country's elite, much like the Bearcats are now, had a young coach named Rich Rodriguez. Rich was one of the most successful coaches in Mountaineer history, and was even courted by the Alabama Crimson Tide the year before, whose advances he flirted with but then just said NO.

Surely, Big Blue fans thought, this would be the key. A man just coming off a season where he at one point drove the No. 1 car in NCAA football. Clearly this would be their guy to beat Jim Tressel and Ohio State.

Rodriguez has been with the Wolverines for two seasons, has compiled a record of 8-16 while just winning three of 16 Big Ten matchups. He has guided Michigan to the biggest football shipwreck in school history. For the record, Rich is 0-2 against the Buckeyes with a combined score of 63-17.

Why do I tell you this, you ask? Because, by looking at Brian Kelly, they are truly looking at Rich Rodriguez in 2007.

Kelly was 19-16 in three years at Central Michigan, before being hired by Cincinnati of the Big East. You do not need be a football historian to know what a jump it is from the MAC Conference to the Big East.  Almost as drastic as going from Grand Valley State to Central Michigan. Mr. Kelly handled the move to the Queen City rather nicely. He has lead the Bearcats to a 33-6 record in three complete seasons.

There are a handful of jobs that a college football coach dreams of.  Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, USC, Oklahoma and of course Notre Dame. There are others but I digress.

Most NCAA head football coaches would "sell their soul" to coach at Notre Dame, especially if they are catholic.

The Irish has already decided to decline any invitations to a bowl game this postseason.

So, what is the moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for. You may go from 6-6 to 3-9.


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