ESPN analyst Gene Wojciechowski spoke with Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly about a variety of topics during Saturday morning’s College Gameday broadcast.
One of the topics discussed was the 2012 National Championship loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. With both teams currently sitting in the top four of the College Football Playoff Rankings, Wojciechowski asked Kelly if he’d love a rematch if the stars aligned this year.
“Be careful for what you wish for, is what I would say,” said Kelly. “If they got upset in the first round, I would not be unhappy at all. I’d be ok with that. But, look, at the end of the day, we played Georgia last year to a tie and they beat us by one point certainly, and they played Alabama pretty good. So, if it got to that, we’d sign up for that duty.”
One thing that became abundantly clear during this feature is that Kelly has nothing but respect for Alabama and head coach Nick Saban. Wojciechowski asked him if it’s good for college football that Alabama has won five titles since he arrived in South Bend back in 2009.
“I think you have to look at it from a perspective of are they doing all of the things that everybody else is doing? They are. They don’t cheat,” said Kelly. “Nick Saban is an honorable football coach. Their business plan is different than Notre Dame’s, but when it comes to football, they do it the right way.”
Regarding that 2012 title game, a matchup that was won 42-14 by Alabama, Kelly admits that he actually didn’t watch the game for a very long time.
“Yes I did, about three or four years later,” said Kelly. “I needed to watch it three or four years later to see if what I actually saw was actually what happened. What I saw was an offense that was not capable of doing the things necessary to compete with the best team in the country at that time.”
Kelly is now in his ninth season at Notre Dame and expectations are at an all-time high. This team is strong in all facets of the game and there is a real chance that they go undefeated and find themselves in the College Football Playoff with a chance to win a National Championship. But, does Kelly believe he should have won a title by now?
“I don’t know that I put a year on it,” said Kelly. “I came here with the expectation that we would live up to tradition and that is, tradition here at Notre Dame is to win a national championship. The expectation, for me, was to be a legitimate contender for championships. I think we’re back in that position.”
Kelly added that it’s “pretty much every week” that he hears about the fact that Notre Dame hasn’t won a championship since 1988.
“That doesn’t deter me from the job at hand,” said Kelly. “If you judge yourself strictly from the wins and losses, I would have been out of this business a whole 10 to 15 years ago.”
In the end, does Kelly truly believe this team is good enough to win a National Championship this year? In a word, yes.
“I believe our football team, on one given day, can be the best team in that stadium, yes.”
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