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Irish positioned well for the future

Jun 19, 2013, 8:00 AM EST

Brian Kelly

As part of their build up for the upcoming season, ESPN’s Insiders took a look at the health of major programs as they are positioned for the future. While Power Rankings have turned into a staple of just about every daily website, a Future Power Ranking was a cool idea.

The group of Travis Haney, Brock Huard, Tom Luginbill, Todd McShay, and Mark Schlabach broke down the odds for team’s success over the next three seasons. Using a weighted evaluation system, the group used the following formula for future success: Coaching (27.5%) Current Talent (27.5%), Recruiting (15%), Title Path (10%), and Program Power (20%).

From the looks of the group’s evaluation, Notre Dame’s 2012 season was hardly a fluke, but rather precursor of things to come.

Even taking into consideration the loss of Everett Golson and the departure of high profile recruits like Aaron Lynch, Davonte Neal and Eddie Vanderdoes, the Irish come in ranked No. 6 in the future power rankings.

Here’s the Top 10:

1. Alabama
2. Ohio State
3. LSU
4. Florida
5. Michigan
6. Notre Dame
7. Florida State
8. Texas A&M
9. Georgia
10. Stanford

Here’s what ESPN had to say about the Irish:

Coaching (8.0): “Notre Dame could not have a better fit at head coach than Brian Kelly,” says Huard. “He’s shown it on the field and off the field. That’s the most important factor for them for years to come, because it’s a unique situation there, with high standards both academically and athletically.”

Current Talent (6.8): The Fighting Irish scored lower in this category than the other teams in the top 10, but their talent level appears to be on the rise. “I don’t think last year was a one-hit wonder,” says McShay. “In voting for these rankings, I ranked Notre Dame as the fifth-most-talented team coming into this season. I’m not saying they’ll be in the national title hunt year in and year out, but their talent level will give them a chance to be a perennial top-10 team.”

Recruiting (8.2): The Irish’s recent recruiting momentum (ESPN’s No. 4 class in 2013) should continue to improve that talent level. Says Huard: “When you stack up Kelly’s recruiting there to some of the other Notre Dame coaches before him, it’s no comparison.” Luginbill adds: “I really believe that for them to compete at a high level, they’re going to need to upgrade in the trenches and go in to the SEC’s backyard to do it. That’s what they did to land their current crop of defensive linemen — I don’t think people have given them enough credit for that.”

Title Path (8.2): The Irish play the most unique schedule of any team in these rankings, but earned high scores because they play a challenging-enough schedule to earn a title game bid, and don’t have an Alabama- or Florida-like obstacle on the slate each year.

Program Power (8.4): With the Irish’s run to the BCS title game last season, it appears that their on-field play has begun to match the school’s tradition and fan support. “‘Relevance’ is always the word we use with Notre Dame,” says Luginbill. “My response to that has always been that they’ll be relevant when the great high school football players around the country think that they are relevant. You create and maintain that relevance by winning.”

Taking a closer look at the numbers, it’s interesting to see where the Irish slot in among the top ten.

Coaching: T-4 (Behind Alabama, Ohio State, LSU, and tied with Stanford.)
Current Talent: T-9 (with Stanford for last)
Recruiting: 8th (only Georgia and Stanford behind them)
Title Path: 4th (Behind Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State)
Program Power: T-4 (Behind Alabama, Ohio State and LSU)

A quick analysis: It looks like the Irish are well respected in the coaching ranks, slotted behind Nick Saban, Urban Meyer and — huh? — Les Miles. But this panel feels like the personnel on the Irish roster still lags behind just about everyone, though it’s interesting to see another underrated team, Stanford, somehow continues to have their personnel so under-appreciated, yet puts up dominant statistical teams even after their coaching change.

Other rankings of note: Future 2013 opponent Oklahoma ranks 14th, with Bob Stoops now being rated with a 6.6 coaching, quite a fall for a guy that was once thought elite (and still is by some Notre Dame fans). And the demise of USC is almost shocking even when you take into consideration their NCAA sanctions, considering the Trojans were the No. 1 team in the country heading into the season. Lane Kiffin and his staff were awarded a really ugly 4.4.

  1. oldestguard - Jun 19, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    Very interesting and evidence that Kelly needs to be signed, sealed and on board for as long as possible.

    He has moved this entire program forward – from the foundation on up.

    Not sure where the new contract deal sits, but Swarbrick’s number 1 priority is to keep BK Irish

    • c4evr - Jun 19, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      Why don’t we wait until after the Temple game before we all get the Chris Matthews ‘tingle’ up our collective leg. Now that the burden of all those pesky Weis recruits has been lifted, BK’s true colors should shine brightly this season.

  2. irishdodger - Jun 19, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Seems fairly objective all things considered. As a biased Irish fan, I give Kelly the edge in head coaching over Shaw @ Stanford only b/c of what BK has accomplished in his career as well as ND. Shaw has been a HC for two seasons & been very impressive but he doesn’t have enough resume quite yet. Also, I’d give ND the edge over Stanford on overall talent. The Cardinal has every team beat when it comes to OL but no other area jumps out. I’ll take ND’s DL, RBs, WRs/TEs over Stanford. LBs may be a push.

    ND still has a ways to go & needs to retain these 5-stars b/c BK & staff have proven they can attract them…now just keep them & they’ll develop. Championships are built in the trenches.

  3. irishdodger - Jun 19, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    as an addendum o the Stanford comparison, with Golson out, I give Stanford the edge at QB over ND…by a wide margin. That kid performed well last year.

  4. irishaggie - Jun 19, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Keith had a article earlier this year on the proven signs of better talent at Notre Dame by the amount of drafted players. I think we are getting so close. If you look at all the perennial top 10 teams. They all have about 6-8 players drafted each and every year and half of those are first and second round. This is where eventually the next man in mentality isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Because our next man in will be just as talented as our starter. I know it stings to have lost to Alabama, but you have to admire what they do. They’re back ups are just as good as their starters just less experienced, and i feel we are getting close to that.

  5. thefightinfloyds - Jun 19, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    And the Ohio State love fest continues… I know they went undefeated last year but had they went to a BCS bowl game they would have been destroyed. Looking into my crystal ball I see OSU coasting by on another insanely easy schedule and getting to a major bowl (possibly NC) and getting wasted…just like always.

  6. 25kgold - Jun 19, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if BK leaves within the next three years. Look at his history; he keeps moving up, up and up even more on the collegiate coaching ladder–he’s at the pinnacle of all coaching positions currently, and has been flirting with the NFL ever since he got to South Bend. My out look is this, if he wants to ultimately go to the next level, so be it. However, there’s a few things that’ll make his inevitable parting from South Bend more assuaging. By the time he leaves:

    1) The recruiting pipeline will need to be unclogged (which it seems to be flowing like it used to be)

    2) The “Dome” needs to be polished with a new shine! Meaning, ND needs to be put back into place as a powerhouse program.

    3) The super freeway to the NFL needs to run through South Bend, again! (the two previous points will make this a reality.

    Let’s face it, every high profile college football coach gets that itch to go and test their skills on the next level. Some have tried, failed and realized that the college ranks are where they belong (Saban [Dolphins], Spurrier [Redskins], and even good ol’ coach Lou Holtz [Jets]). I feel BK wants to test these waters, if it works out, fine–if not, then unfortunately he won’t be back in South Bend but at least that itch is gone.

    I said this right after the BCS Championship game, when BK started to have meetings with the Eagles organization–I would LOVE to see Jon Gruden at the helm in South Bend! He’s a person that has had ND in his heart for a longtime, and has already expressed interest in coaching ND if the terms were right! So long story short, keep your heads up! If BK decides to leave, as long as the aforementioned points I lined out happen (it’s looking pretty good thus far), we’ll be just fine at the coaching position! Success will breed success and we’ll have a more than capable coach put in place probably within a week after he leaves!

    -Go Irish!

    • thefightinfloyds - Jun 19, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      Gruden? I dunno…seems to me hes a hardass version of Weis. In terms of X’s and O’s Im sure Gruden would be top notch but there is so much more involved in being a college HC. If Kelly were to leave in the next few years I would like to see someone from the current staff get a crack or go with an established college HC. Hell, if Kelly can establish a nationally competitive foundation then go after Saban, Sumlin, Meyer…A ND program already at the top (or close to) is one of the best coaching jobs in the country in any sport.

  7. 1historian - Jun 19, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    I for one would love to see BK stay for about 10 years.

    But

    If he decides to leave for the NFL, (which I think would be a BIG mistake), let’s keep in mind a few things.

    1) The premier coaching job in college football is Notre Dame.

    2) Given the talent they have there already, given the talent that just arrived on campus in the last few days, given the talent that has already committed for next February, and given the talent that is looking at Notre Dame from the classes of 2015 and even 2016 – (repeat #1) – how difficult will it be to find the best possible replacement?

    3) Repeat #1 (again)

    BK has laid a solid, solid foundation. Yes we have lost some players – the thought of an interior DL consisting of Aaron Lynch and Eddie Vanderdoes does hurt, knowing that it will never happen, but we move on.

    The best way to judge a coach is – what he does with what he’s got. In April there were 6 ND players drafted and 7 more went FA. Not too shabby. And I believe ALL of them were Weis recruits – imagine what BK can do with a team of ALL BK recruits.

    I am a Patriots’ fan. I can tell you that as such it’s easy (and fun) to be obnoxious and arrogant – but only when you WIN.

    EVERY YEAR.

    You don’t have to win the whole shebang every year, but you DO have to be in the running every year, and we are – Notre Dame is now BACK. We’re going to have to win the whole shebang pretty soon in order to achieve our full obnoxiousness and arrogance, which we RICHLY deserve, but we’re BACK.

    I must leave you now, but I feel I must address the trolls, the haters, the whatnots, the wannabes and the neverweres, and being the humble guy that I am, I must first pay tribute to Ann Landers, for it is from her that I take this final statement:

    You have a point, but if you keep your hat on – perhaps no one will notice.

    • c4evr - Jun 19, 2013 at 5:47 PM

      Ah, hope springs eternal.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      Aw histy, I didn’t know you were a Pats fan. I want to offer my sincere apology for posting a list the other day of some seminars attended by Kelly and Martin when they visited the Pats camp. However, it dawned on me that I forgot one of the seminars. It was entitled “How to Beat the NY Giants.” Oh, wait”……….my bad……….turns out they don’t have that seminar in New England. Go Irish, Go Blue (NY not UM).

      • 1historian - Jun 21, 2013 at 7:23 AM

        apology accepted

    • martyhealy - Jun 20, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      Adding to your point 1historian, some coaches appeared to shy away from ND over the last ten years,(Meyer in particular) based on the fact that it might be difficult to attract the elite talent with the academic requirements, etc. Stanford, Northwestern, Vanderbilt and ND especially are shattering that myth.

      Even if Kelly were to leave for the NFL, he has put together the blueprint for future hires.(make sure they Extensive College Head Coaching experience and past success.

      Evaluate Kelly’s three years- Let’s say Dayne Crist had evolved into a top ten to fifteen type QB:
      In other words ND had a maybe somewhat better than an average offense. ND might have won ten or more games in all three years. Only teams that had ND beat in late 3rd Quarter were Alabama,
      Stanford and Navy (LOL). Last year we had more than our fair share of luck, but had we finished 10-2 we would have been matched up to an easier opponent in a bowl game.

      My point is that Kelly has succeeded easily even getting somewhat unlucky in the QB department especially over his first two years.

      Head coaching (recruiting, player development, picking assistants) or awful QBing has to be pretty poor to keep ND under 7 or 8 wins.

      Kelly, has made in look easy so far even with no decent luck at QB

      I tend to think that BK would not leave ND willingly without winning at least one NC. Otherwise,
      he would not be a RKG.

  8. loadofwash - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    This is exactly the type of hype that makes the ND fan base ignorant down the road with real facts. This hype is why ND has 2 bowl wins in 20 yrs and why the program has become a national joke. The Dallas cowboys of college football.

    • almoose - Jun 23, 2013 at 8:42 PM

      Go away!

  9. sharptux44 - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Look everyone! A guy from Alabama that has learned to read and write! Wow! Alabama has come a long way from letting those with the academic credentials of Forest Gump into their school. If that’s possible, than anything is! Even a Notre Dame national title.

  10. mediocrebob - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Load is actually a penn st fan. Pretending to be bama fan.

    • sharptux44 - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      Well whatever it is, it needs to leave our message board.

  11. loadofwash - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    The story is about the future and tommy is QB, sounds pretty funny don’t it?

  12. packhawk04 - Jun 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    “The premeier coaching job in college football is notre dame”

    Yeah, no… its not. Not close, either.

    • almoose - Jun 23, 2013 at 8:45 PM

      It still gets looks. A lot of Coaches would love the job. Winning helps a lot. Wish the schedule had a SEC team each year to chart progress. I still take an education for the kids over the other situation!

  13. almoose - Jun 23, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Probable a 9, 3 team. Kelly has gotten a little closer to the players and needs to keep at it. Stop the distractions. Stop the heroes on the team. Let them all be in the lime lite. Not much said about the Defense he has improved which is the true answer to being competitive in the SEC should they get another chance. Need a Lacy type runner and big QB for the future. All in all a B for the current status. Pundits are Ok but the games will show the progress. Rees a problem if they can’t get a running back into action. Go Irish!

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