Who has staying power?

Notre Dame, UCLA and Texas A&M all appear back, but can each stay there?

Originally Published: November 19, 2012
By Mel Kiper & Todd McShay | ESPN Insider
Jim MoraJames Snook/US PresswireIt looks like Jim Mora's UCLA Bruins are in a position to sustain the excellence of this season.

During the college football season, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay kick off each week by settling a debate; then they discuss emerging NFL prospects and look ahead to next week.

The discussion: Three programs are having a renaissance year -- Notre Dame, UCLA and Texas A&M. Who are you taking for the next five years?

Mel Kiper: All three of these programs could finish inside the top 15 if UCLA finishes strong. And there are similarities among them that make you think each program will be really good in the coming years, too.

• Each is starting a freshman QB, with Brett Hundley and Johnny Manziel having monster seasons for the Bruins and Aggies, respectively, and Everett Golson making strides for Notre Dame.

• Each has a coach relatively new to the program. Jim Mora is in his first year at UCLA, Kevin Sumlin is also in his first year at A&M, and Brian Kelly is in Year 3 in South Bend.

• Each is recruiting for 2013 at a rate that might produce his best class in recent years. Notre Dame currently has the No. 4 class, Texas A&M No. 12 and UCLA No. 18.

Put those factors together, and it's easy to see any of these seasons as something that can be replicated in the years to come, and that even includes what Notre Dame has done. Sustainability at the quarterback position can be assumed, and it looks like each coach is in a place where he'll be comfortable with the talent starting to pile up.

Who is in the best position to take this year and build on it? My answer might surprise you.


For Mel and Todd's look at whether UCLA, Notre Dame or Texas A&M is in the best position for long-term success, as well as the top players from the weekend and much more, become an ESPN Insider.