Brian Kelly’s team was 4-8 in 2016. Some Notre Dame fans are so unhappy with the state of the school’s football team that they bought a page in the student paper to express their dissatisfaction. The ad appears in the Dec. 7 issue of The Observer student paper. It blames Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick for failures and expresses a lack of confidence in coach Brian Kelly.
The hardest thing to do at a Power 5 school is to lose consistently, to put together an extended run of underwhelming, disappointing seasons without having to find new employment. Only three of the 65 head coaches employed at Power 5 schools have missed five straight NCAA tournaments at their current job. Two of those three are basketball coaches at football schools, Penn State’s Pat Chambers and Clemson’s Brad Brownell. Chambers has built enough recruiting momentum in Philly that the argument can be made that his program is trending up; at least that’s the pitch that earned him a sixth-year. Brownell made the tournament his first season with the Tigers, and with Jaron Blossomgame back this season
In the past nine years, the Atlantic 10 has never received fewer than three NCAA tournament bids. Only one Atlantic 10 team has notched a victory over an opponent in Ken Pomeroy’s top 50, Rhode Island’s 76-71 neutral-court win over Cincinnati on Nov. 19. The closest thing the league has to a marquee win besides that is Dayton’s road win over middling Alabama, VCU’s rout of disinterested LSU or George Washington’s victory at erratic Temple.