For Notre Dame, it's all about patience
Look at Brian Kelly's track record closely; it's never about the first year
To draw a major conclusion about a college football coaching hire when it's made is a lot like betting on horses. Sure, you have elements to go on -- recent success, record on grass or dirt, etc. -- but there is too much luck and random chance involved to be right too often.
That said, Brian Kelly becoming the new head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this past winter looked to be as close to a slam dunk as possible. Kelly had previous success at a BCS-level school, which is one of the surest predictors of future success; coaches with previous BCS success tend to improve their new teams by about 5 percent (according to Football Outsiders' S&P+ measure) within the first two years. Plus, Notre Dame looked to be underachieving just enough with the talent on hand that a new coach might be able to engineer a rather quick turnaround.
Kelly is four games in. Although there is clear statistical improvement, the team is 1-3 and has lost close games to the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans, two major Midwestern rivals. It all leads to two questions: Are the Irish really getting better? And is there hope for the future?
For the full take on ND here, you need to be an ESPN Insider.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
- Lions launching Ford Field bowl, sources say
- QB Lunt mulls Illinois after visit, sources say
- Former Arkansas QB Mitchell picks NC State
- McCartney back on WVU roster after 6 months
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider CFB content
Expert Takes• Insider: Can Clemson win it all? | Louisville
• Kiper: Top prospects for 2014, by position
• Haney: CFB's top 10 teams based on talent
• Kiper: Top QB prospects for 2014 | RBs | WRs
• Haney: Make-or-break QB prospect scenarios
Post-spring projections• Pac-12: Oregon, Stanford, USC on top
• ACC: Can Clemson win the league title?
• SEC: Bama, South Carolina early favorites
• Big Ten: Surprise winner in Legends
• Big 12: Two-team race for first place
RecruitingNation• Michigan No. 1 in 2014 class rankings
• Luginbill: Answering mailbag questions
• Crabtree: Urban recruits popular draft picks
• Notre Dame, Boise State trending up
• Recruiting updates for Pac-12 teams
• Recruiting updates for Big Ten teams
• Recruiting updates for SEC teams
• Recruiting updates for ACC teams
• Recruiting updates for Big East teams
• Recruiting updates for Big 12 teams
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Travis Haney's blog
Analysis and buzz from around the nation