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?

So, six years ago, Charlie Weis stood at a podium and promised great things for the Irish. Brian Kelly will no doubt promise the same. But can he deliver? This article will explain why the answer is likely "yes" and will do so using metric analysis of football -- including showing how Kelly's Bearcats would have done in bigger conferences than the Big East -- but to read it, you must be an ESPN Insider.

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,