Tag Archives: Brian Kelly

NCAAF16: Bad Karma Behind the Brian Kelly – Notre Dame Blues?

22 Nov

Karmic Backlash

It’s become standard operating procedure today for many in the mainstream and social media, that when a public figure makes a misstep or puts them self too far ahead of interested others, that judgment is passed quickly and with teeth.

So when current Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly bid his then employer the University of Cincinnati an unexpected sayonara in December of 2009 before conclusion of their football campaign (Sugar Bowl), one would’ve expected his dubious departure to’ve received the same testy treatment.

kelly-wc-j-meier-7-25-12-356kInstead, sport observers turned a collective blind eye to the move: No big deal.

Why the kid gloves then for Kelly and his new employer, the University of Notre Dame? South Bend clout? Chicago clout? Boston clout? Catholic clout? The Pope’s a powerful pontiff. No lo sé.

When Kelly, who, on taking the job in northwest Indiana, was in his 3rd season with the Bearcats (‘06 (1) – 09), a tenure that began when he left C. Michigan to take the reins from Mark Dantonio (MSU) to coach UC in the International Bowl and compiled a 33-6 mark, undertook in-season negotiations with ND to fill the void created by Charlie Weis’ firing and left Cincinnati (#3) before their Sugar Bowl (UF), this observer expected negative reverberations for the opportunistic act. But outside of maybe southwest Ohio, nary a peep was heard from sporting types on what could be termed, at best, exploitive, at worst, unethical behavior on Brian’s part who apparently lets nothing so trifling as loyalty and spirit-of-contract stand in the way of what looks to be the perfect job (cha-ching!).

In fairness to the Everett, Massachusetts native (10.25.61), the slightly seamy game of coaching musical chairs has become as standard of a practice in college football as has that rush to judgment in the world of scribblers & gossips.

Nevertheless, Brian Kelly and his Notre Dame cohorts might now be getting their comeuppance for their crass contract play some seven years back. Maybe Mark Dantonio and his Michigan State handlers, too (MSU 3 -8 (2016)).

notredame-logo-wc-nduBut not from mainstreamers and social gadflies. Uh uh. The media are as captured and compliant as an FDA new drug approval committee. Eek.

Rather, Kelly might be getting his just deserts from the Sporting Gods, those spirited entities in charge of that immeasurable force called karma. In his case, bad karma. Specifically, the karmic backlash.

As of last Saturday’s contest, a 34-31 loss to Virginia Tech, his record with the Fighting Irish stands at a modest 59-30 (.662), 3-3 in bowl action. Brian did as early as his third season get the green & gold to a BCS title game (12-1), then got steam-rolled by the Crimson Tide, 42-14. Since then it’s been fair-to-middling.

“Was you ever bit by a dead bee?”

Last January Notre Dame and Brian Kelly inked a 6-year extension. While other terms such as salary were not made available, the coach’s haul is estimated to be $4 million a year (coacheshotseat.com).

AD Jack Swarbrick (2008), Trustee Chair John Brennan and Board members chose to re-invest in Kelly in a signing just weeks after the team took another PS shellacking, this time in the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl from the team coached by the other half of the two-coach dominated FBS system, the Ohio State Buckeyes and Urban Meyer, 44-28 (See Also: Saban (CBK: Krzyzewski & Calipari)).

Their basis: Swarbrick cited the word “foundation” and it having been laid with knowing care by Brian Kelly in key facets of a strong college football enterprise.

Also factoring into their decision may’ve been the fact that his coach’s win-% (.705 (55-23 thru 2015)) ranks better than Weis, Willingham, Davies and Faust, all four who came in just above or below the .550 mark. Terrific.

notredamestadium-wc-1930-bpl-tichnor-3mBut “foundation” and ‘better than Charlie, Ty, Bob & Gerry’ ain’t gonna’ cut it when it’s Notre Dame football, where Rockne, Layden, Leahy, Parseghian, Devine & Holtz forged a standard that became bigger than life, a regal reputation admired by sport fans from coast to coast.

Like Dallas (1996) in the NFL, the Fighting Irish are still top dog nationally. When they do well, the world seems right with money-makers and fans alike. But with Nick and Urban building legendary programs in their respective schools, that top spot gets more tenuous with every season sans national title #16, the last coming as far back as 1988 (Holtz), the longest drought since Knute arrived (1918).

With the Irish falling at home to Virginia Tech their 2016 record sinks to 4-7.

The Irish had five players go pro after post-2015, but all the top factories lose most of their rated workforce to the NFL draft come declaration day. Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Washington, PSU, they all cope with the talent drain.

Brian Kelly represents that growing element in college sport where personal opportunity becomes the “foundation” of that individual’s coaching career, ergo the Cincinnati play. Coaching legend Larry Brown is their poster-boy. And it’s a mind-set that always has an eye open for NFL possibilities (BK- Eagles 2012).

Notre Dame Trustees would be wise to adopt a similar approach. Re-read its football coach and athletic director contracts, in good faith, but in a light most favorable to its University and in perpetuating its champions legacy. Then, when they find their new candidates, make them reasonably generous offers but only AFTER the college football season ends. Oy vey.

macroecono-lamcasinoroyal-2011-wcSteven Keys
MacroSport
Photo credit: B.Kelly, wc.cca, 9.171.2, Andyohsbass09; Kelly, wc, J.Meier, 7.25.12; ND-logo, wc, UND; ND-Stadium, wc, BPL, TichnorBros, 1930; macroecono, lamcasinoroyal, wc, 2011
Posted: 11.22.16 @ 3:17pm, edit @ 5:17 EST; Copyright © 2016

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NCAAF.16: It’s Saban, Meyer,…then Everyone Else in FBS-D1

2 Sep

..........Saban.wc.8.18.9.2.47m.RammaJammaYellaI’m not one to watch CNBC and the like. That goes for most TV today. Can’t stand the ADD-delivery, the lies (faux-reality), the dumb-down (The Simpsons) and the double-dipping (commercials and monthly bill).

But I love sport, even as I’m portfolio poor.

At times, wish I had just that sort of insatiable appetite for all things money that some others possess and profit by, but I find learning of its accumulation to be about as interesting as lawncare or home repair. That wasn‘t always the case.

As a young lad I was possessed of a junior but fairly savvy business bent.

Example: When beer can collecting was the craze (70s) I sold my stock before market went belly-up. Unfortunately, soon after, I’d discover…correction, was taught, how to empty those cans with gusto (Burp!). Regardless, I always did find Louis Rukeyser’s motif (♫) and monologue (Wall Street Week) to be quite intoxicating, even if a bit esoteric towards the Cufflink crowd.

.........beer.cans.Visitor7.2012.wc.1.8kBut one need not be money-minded to know corporations like Apple and CVS Health are corporate heavies who set the bar in their respective fields of techno-gadgetry and healthcare sales. They’re in a league of their own, able to brush off periodic DTs in QEs to remain ahead of the curve, not by following trends but often by setting them, remaining innovative, recruiting the top prospects and of course gobbling the competition, the last, by courtesy of Commerce, Justice Departments and federal bench. Oy vey.

AOTC in sales is sweet, but if they and their peers could only heed the pit calls for costumer service and quality control. Trailing oil but bad.

That aside, when the new fiscal season kicks-off, all eyes lock on the leaders.

And it’s no different in college ball.

Saturday will see most institutions of higher learning begin their football seasons and take those first steps in that long, arduous trek towards what they hope is a berth in a title tussle or at least a bowl invite.

.........Meyer.11.30.13.A.Glanzman.289k.wcAnd when that pigskin takes to flight and the smack-of-pads fill the crisping air, there are two titan-esque tacticians who strode the FBS-D1 sideline and, more than any Heisman-hyped player, excepting the rare Manziel, Tebow or Herschel Walker who steal the show, will pull the gaze of fans and set the standard that all emulate.

The Giants: Nick Saban (The University of Alabama) and Urban Meyer (The Ohio State University).

Between ‘em both they claim eight (8) national championships: Saban (Fairmont, WV (‘51)) won one at Louisiana State (‘03 (3)) and has four in Tuscaloosa (‘09, 11, 12, ‘15 (16)), while Meyer took two as a Gator guru (‘06, 08 (3)) and one in his native Ohio (Toledo (‘64)) in Buckeyes’ land in 2014 (8).

It’s Saban, Meyer and then everybody else who seems to follow and hope when it comes to coach competition on the big school gridiron.

Is that good or bad? That all depends on your perspective.

Glass half-empty view says, Saban and Meyer, while not technically a monopoly on titles and recruitment, are a cartel of two.

It’s like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo versus Dr Pepper Snapple (Brian Kelly (ND)) and Faygo (Jim Harbaugh), up n’ comer in the beverage biz and headquartered in Detroit (rappers seem to love it (See; Wikipedia), for whatever reason).

........Coke.car.wc.Curitiba.PR.568k.Morio.3.18.6These two title-hogs are quelling the competition in college football’s upper echelon, only in that rare case where a golden nugget should appear in the pan as in Heisman winning, Seminole national champion and soda taste-tester (Burger King (‘13)) Jameis Winston, who will come along to break-up the monotony.

Even when the State of Florida was dominating Division-1 play, beginning in the early 1980s and running into the 2000s, with the likes of Miami (Schnellenberger / Johnson / Erickson), Florida State (Bowden) and Florida (Spurrier / Meyer), there were still plenty of top programs around the nation to add variety with Holtz at Notre Dame, McCarthy at Colorado, Osborne at Nebraska, Switzer at Oklahoma, James at Washington, Carr at Michigan and then Tressel (TOSU) and Carroll (USC) at close of the Sunshine reign.

All meaning, college football’s half-empty glass could use a re-fill of diversity, maybe with a twist or two and a “straw” to stir it up. If only “Johnny Trouble” had had the brains to stay in school (TA&M). The chicken n’ egg thing.

The glass half-full take: There is a special kind of consistency of quality that comes with winners like Meyer & Saban, in league with Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Kentucky’s John Calipari in men’s college b-ball. They all run tight ships and come into port with tremendous booty.

........Krzyzewski.wc.1.12.12.DMCullen.DoD.4mNick and Urban appear polar opposites. Saban with a bit of his father’s flair while Urban is all business. In truth, they’re probably more alike than different. Titlists still put their pants on one leg at a time.

Saban the Younger responding to a press query last week about fights in practice:

“Alright, so, to me there’s never a time for guys to lose their cool. I think those are selfish decisions (If he loses it), that are emotional decisions that don‘t really help your team (AL.com, 8.26.16).” And Saban said the key word: “Team.”

Not the same verve & vigor of Dad, Lou Saban (d.2009), who is an NFL Films legend in class with Chiefs’ Hank Stram (d.2005) (Saban in 60s Buffalo: “They’re killin’ me, Whitey, they’re killin’ me!!,” and 1974: “If we die, we die together…you can get it done, what’s more…you GOTTA’ get it done!”). But like Urban, Nick’s very perceptive, decisive and can sometimes sport that easy smile reflecting his familial love for the game and the life.

For those half-empty tumbler types, there is hope in busting up the Saban – Meyer continuum of championships.

.......Harbaugh.12.30.14.wc.E.Upchurch.216kWolverines‘ trustees have paid ‘Hurry-Up’ Harbaugh a king’s ransom in nearly every form of legal tender imaginable (salary, loans, etc.) and wouldn’t surprise if they’d had Michigan Stadium (“Big House”) re-named in his honor if it expedites matters;

Jimbo Fisher has his guys well positioned (#2) but needs to prove there’s life at FSU after Jameis Winston (See; Chizik (AU));

Brian Kelly looks to be on cusp (again) of finally getting his chomping-at-the-bit golden-domer alumni that long awaited return to prominence (‘88);

Charlie Strong (UT) and Kev Sumlin (A&M) are getting national championship money ($5M) but have their programs headed in the wrong way;

Bob Stoops (OU) is a winner (‘00) but testing the patience of Normanites;

Les Miles (early Google gets Les Miserables (Hugo)) (LSU) is a winner too (‘07) but agreeing to Lambeau locale, even versus #25 Badgers, has this writer miffed;

Best coach in Texas, Gary Patterson has been TCU’ing for most this century (143-47 (9-5)) and like Dabo in SC is looking for that break-through moment.

........Swinney.10.31.15.wc.LambeauLeap80.94kClemson’s Dabo Swinney may have nation’s best progression (75-27) since taking reins (08) and top candidate to topple cartel. Explains the raise ($5M).

Mark Dantonio (MSU) is a serious man and getting serious coin but in serious need of a CFP spot;

Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss) is showing steady progression not unlike Vince Lombardi in those early Green Bay days (7-5, 8-4, etc.) but faces top Seminoles (#2) in opener, ♫ (over) in F..L..A ♫;

Jim Mora (UCLA) slipped in 2015 (8-5) but has the slate to soar in 2016; and

If Bob Petrino can keep it clean, find a class and get in position, watch out!

Even if another coach can work his men to win in Tampa next January, it’ll take a program awakening of Renaissance proportion to break up the titles tandem crafted by masters Saban and Meyer. A Michelangelo, da Vinci, El Greco, van Eyck, Botticelli, Titian, Cellini, a Raphael of football means, any style will do, but the gridiron artisan in head-set better know his medium and keep those titles coming if he’s to be remembered with the greats.

....brass.thumbtack.J.Dalton.wc.thm(WP.SB.USA14)Steven Keys
Brass Tacks
Photo credit: N.Saban, wc.cca, 8.18.9, RammaJammaYella; beer.cans, 2012, Visitor7, wc; U.Meyer, wc, 11.30.13, A.Glanzman; Coke.car, wc, Curitiba-PR, Morio; M.Krzyzewski, wc, 1.12.12, DM.Cullen, DoD; J.Harbaugh, wc, 12.30.14, E.Upchurch; D.Swinney, wc, LambeauLeap80, 10.31.15; brass-tack, J.Dalton, wc
Posted: 9.2.16 @ 5:10pm, edit @ 9:35 EST; Copyright © 2016