Evaluating the Brian Kelly hire

ND's schedule is easier in 2010, but that's not the only reason to expect success

Originally Published: December 11, 2009
By Brian Fremeau | Football Outsiders
Getty ImagesThe only elite-level opponent Brian Kelly should face in Year 1 in South Bend is USC.

Brian Kelly has lost six games as a head coach since taking over the Cincinnati Bearcats at the end of the 2006 football season. He succeeds Charlie Weis as head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish; Weis lost six games in 2009 alone -- and 21 games over the past three seasons.

At first glance, Brian Kelly's résumé thoroughly trumps those of his predecessors (Weis, Tyrone Willingham, Bob Davie) in South Bend: an .850 winning percentage at Cincinnati, two conference championships and two BCS bowl berths, with championships at Central Michigan and Grand Valley State before that. He's been a winner at every rung he's climbed thus far in his career. Is there any reason to doubt his ability to take Notre Dame to the top?

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site,