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Brian Kelly: Michigan not a historic rival for Notre Dame

Brian KellyNotre Dame and Michigan play on Saturday night at the Big House for what will be one of the more anticipated games of the weekend. Unfortunately, the series between the two historic programs ends after next season. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly doesn’t see the lack of games between the two schools as much of a loss.

“I really haven’t seen it as one of those historic, traditional Notre Dame rivalries,” Kelly said on a conference call Sunday, via the AP. “I’ve seen it as just one of those great football games that Notre Dame has played.

“For me, I’ve been in Michigan a long time, I’ve always felt the Notre Dame-Michigan game was a big regional game. But in the Notre Dame history books, this game has (been) played, but obviously there have been some years where it hasn’t been played for a number of years.”

Kelly is correct on that point. The schools have played 40 times since their first meeting in 1887. There was a long stretch earlier in the 20th century when the schools did not play, but they’ve met 29 times since 1978.

Obviously it’s become a big rivalry, and it’s a game many fans look forward to early in the season. The problem is that Notre Dame joined the ACC for most sports, and the deal calls for the Fighting Irish to play games against five ACC opponents, which gives them less room for other teams. They decided to ax Michigan, perhaps because the Wolverines are usually a tough opponent. The teams have gone 14-14-1 since ’78.

[Related: Brady Hoke says Notre Dame is chickening out]

Other schools that Notre Dame considers their traditional rivals are USC, Navy, Michigan State and Purdue. They have also played Stanford on a regular basis and want to keep that game on their schedule going forward.

It’s disappointing that Notre Dame will be dropping Michigan, but I guess someone had to be cut. Should we be surprised they decided to get rid of one of their toughest opponents? There’s also some irony in Kelly previously calling out Ohio State for playing an easy schedule, when his Irish are avoiding one of the tougher teams in the country.

Brian Kelly says he’ll go on Oprah to campaign for Notre Dame if he has to

Notre Dame is one of three undefeated teams remaining in college football at the moment, but that is not enough to allow the Fighting Irish to control their own destiny. The other two undefeated teams, Kansas State and Oregon, are currently ahead of Notre Dame in the BCS standings. Should all three teams win out, the most likely scenario is that Oregon and Kansas State would play in the BCS National Championship Game.

At the moment, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly insists his team is simply focused on winning and not worrying about the BCS rankings. But if the season comes to a close and the Irish still have no losses, Kelly said he will spring into campaigning mode.

“I’m just not good enough to be able to do both,” Kelly said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation, via CoachingSearch.com. “I’m challenged enough on a day-to-day basis to keep my guys focused on Wake Forest. The rest of the stuff, let’s see how Notre Dame does. Let’s take Wake Forest, see what happens there, and then USC. Then, if we get to the point after USC that we’re undefeated, I’ll go on Oprah if I have to. Maybe I’ll come back on Sirius.

“But for right now, quite honestly, I’m just going to worry about winning football games.”

Notre Dame’s two remaining games are at home against Wake Forest and at USC. Kansas State plays Baylor on the road before hosting Texas, and Oregon faces Stanford at home before closing out the season on the road against Oregon State. Of the three teams, Notre Dame has the easiest remaining schedule. That being said, all three teams have their hands full.

My guess is the BCS standings work themselves out. The three remaining undefeated teams face a total of four nationally-ranked opponents before the conclusion of the regular season. I’d be surprised if an upset didn’t occur in one of those games. If not, Oprah had better open up some air time for Kelly to brag about his No. 3-ranked Fighting Irish.

Brian Kelly Throws Jab at Ohio State Over Easy Schedule

Notre Dame has played only two games on its 2011 schedule and Brian Kelly is already trying to work the BCS selection committee. College football has easily the most sensitive schedule across sports. By that I mean if you lose two games early, you stand virtually no chance at winning a national championship or even qualifying for a BCS bowl game. With that in mind, the 2011 season will likely be one of little success for the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame has opened the season 0-2 after losses to South Florida and Michigan.  Naturally, Kelly has faced a ton of criticism about the way his team has played.  The Fighting Irish finished strongly in 2010 but things have not gone their way thus far in 2011.  Kelly blames a difficult schedule for his team’s early-season struggles.

“We’ve made so many mistakes against two pretty tough teams coming out,”Kelly told the Chicago Sun-Times via CBSSports.com’s Eye on College Football blog. “Again, as you see the schedule, Ohio State is playing Toledo. I mean, teams are playing easy games early on in the schedule. We don’t get that luxury. We have to go play in front of 115,000 [at Michigan Stadium]. Those mistakes are more glaring against opponents that are physically pretty good, as well.

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Notre Dame ORL Won’t Suspend Michael Floyd but Brian Kelly Should

Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd caught a break over the weekend when the school’s Office of Residential Life decided not to suspend or expel him despite his third alcohol-related offense. Floyd has already been suspended indefinitely by coach Brian Kelly who says “This is not about football … Mike has so many things on his plate that he has to handle before he can even think about football — academics and personally.” Floyd surprised some folks when he elected to return for his senior season, but after his March DUI, Kelly needs to send a message.

Brian Kelly has already gotten off easily for defying common sense when he sent student Declan Sullivan to operate a scissor lift and film practice despite unsafe conditions, getting him killed. What’s it going to take from Floyd for Kelly to send an appropriate message?

Floyd, as good as he is on the gridiron, failed three field sobriety tests and blew a .19 during his arrest in March. Is that not alarming enough for Kelly? Does there have to be a horrible ending for every story for him to act? Why should Floyd be allowed to play the entire season without punishment.

I know Floyd is suspended “indefinitely,” but there are no games going on right now. When the season comes around in September, that’s when this issue really matters. Rather than being reactive, Kelly needs to be proactive here. Floyd should have to sit a few games to learn that DUIs are not alright. If this were the NFL, you know how Roger Goodell would handle it. Why shouldn’t Kelly do the same?

Brian Kelly Hired as the New Head Coach at Notre Dame

We’ve been hearing the name Brian Kelly as a candidate to replace Charlie Weis as the head coach of Notre Dame even before Weis got fired following the Stanford loss. The name Jim Harbaugh was floated around, though he denied he was meeting with the Irish brass. Reports also said there was “mutual interest” between ND and UConn coach, Randy Edsall. But on the same day that Cincinnati decided the media wouldn’t be allowed to attend a team banquet, word comes out from that Notre Dame will make Brian Kelly their new head coach.

Because of his success at Cincinnati, Kelly was likely the top candidate to move up on the coaching ladder. Even though Kelly has turned a basketball school like Cincy into a football powerhouse recently, there is one item about him that makes me skeptical: the Bearcats’ offense, not defense, has been their strong point. If there was a glaring weakness for the Irish this past season (and all along under Weis) it was that the defense wasn’t good enough to make them dominate. One would have thought their priority should have been to bring in a defensive-minded coach. Even if that’s not what they did, given Kelly’s track record of winning at Cincinnati and Grand Valley State, he should have more success at Notre Dame than his predecessors.