Forbes names Brian Kelly best coach for the money


In the high stakes world of college football, head coaches are getting paid more and more to be the face of highly profitable programs. And after Forbes ran their calculations, they named Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly the best coach for the money over the past two seasons.

Kelly beat out Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Alabama’s Nick Saban for the title, with Kelly’s salary just a fraction of the program’s overall expenses compared to the last two national champs.

Our friends over at CFT give you an idea as to how Forbes reached their conclusions:

To put this list together, Forbes took Sagarin win percentages and a coach’s share of football expenses into consideration. There may be no perfect way to analyze a coach’s value to a program that everyone can agree on, but under the conditions used for this particular ranking this sounds like a good enough way to go about it. Using this method, Kelly comes out on top with the Irish thanks to a 21-5 record and just 3.36 percent of the football program’s expenses.


While Kelly earns other income streams (and as a private institution, Notre Dame doesn’t need to disclose Kelly’s entire compensation), Forbes listed Kelly’s salary as $1,088,179, just over three-percent of the program’s expenses, which measured at $32,373, 258.

Fisher’s $2.75 million salary was almost 12 percent of FSU’s annual costs, while Saban’s $5.5 million was over 13 percent of Alabama’s whopping $41.5 million budget.

Here is the entire Top 10 (salary as percentage of program cost):

1. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame (3.36%)
2. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State (11.74%)
3. Nick Saban, Alabama (13.34%)
4. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State (8.5%)
5. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina (13.3%)
6. Dabo Swinney, Clemson (12.77%)
7. George O’Leary, Central Florida (10.18%)
8. Tim DeRutyer, Fresno State (7.51%)
9. Pete Lembo, Ball State (6.73%)
10. Art Briles, Baylor (11.95%)

(H/T: College Football Talk)

Irish prepared to take on the best Navy team in years


Brian Kelly opens every Tuesday press conference with compliments for an opponent. But this week, it was easy to see that his kind words for Navy were hardly lip service.

Ken Niumatalolo will bring his most veteran—and probably his most talented—group of Midshipmen into Notre Dame Stadium, looking to hand the Irish their first loss in the series since Kelly’s debut season in South Bend.

“Ken Niumatalolo has done an incredible job in developing his program and currently carrying an eight-game winning streak,” Kelly said. “I voted for them in USA Today Top 25 as a top-25 team. I think they’ve earned that. But their defense as well has developed. It’s played the kind of defense that I think a top 25 team plays.”

With nine months of option preparation, Notre Dame needs to feel confident about their efforts against Georgia Tech. Then again, the Midshipmen saw that game plan and likely have a few tricks in store.

As much as the Irish have focused their efforts on stopping Keenan Reynolds and the triple-option, Navy’s much-improved defense is still looking for a way to slow down a team that’s averaged a shade over 48 points a game against them the last four seasons.

Niumatalolo talked about that when asked about slowing down Will Fuller and Notre Dame’s skill players, an offense that’s averaged over 48 points a game during this four-game win streak.

“We’ve got to try our best to keep [Fuller] in front of us, that’s easier said than done,” Niumatalolo said. “We’ve got to play as close as we can without their guys running past us. I’ve been here a long time and we’re still trying to figure out how to do that.”


Navy heads to South Bend unbeaten, defeating former Irish defensive coordinator Bob Diaco‘s team just two Saturdays ago. And while Diaco raised a few eyebrows when he said Navy would be the team’s toughest test of the year (they already played a ranked Missouri team), the head of the UConn program couldn’t have been more effusive in his praise.

“I have been competing against Navy for some time and this is the best Navy team I have seen for, let’s say the last half-dozen years,” UConn coach Bob Diaco told the New Haven Register. “I could click on footage from three years ago and see a lion’s share of players who are playing right now in the game as freshmen and sophomores. They have a veteran group, a strong group, a talented group and they look like the stiffest competition among our first four opponents.”

As usual, there will be those who look at this game as the breather between Clemson and USC. That won’t be anybody inside The Gug. So as the Irish try to get back to their winning ways in front of a home crowd, a complete team effort is needed.

“I’ll take a win by one,” Kelly said Tuesday. “That would be fine with me.”


Kelly confident Robinson will rebound

Notre Dame v Florida State

Corey Robinson‘s season was already off to a slow start. And that was before a difficult night at Clemson. The junior receiver came into last weekend with only four catches, held out against UMass after a pregame tweak of his knee put a scare into the Irish.

Robinson’s knee checked out fine. But mentally, it appears that the sure-handed junior is struggling.

Just before halftime against the Tigers, Robinson failed to reel in a long catch that would’ve given the Irish a much-needed touchdown heading into half. Early in the fourth quarter, a high throw from DeShone Kizer on the Irish’s first failed two-point conversion play slid through Robinson’s hands. Made worse was a mental mistake by Robinson, the Irish needing to use one of their second half timeouts when the junior wasn’t on the field.

Coached hard on the sideline by Brian Kelly and coached up by his position coach Mike Denbrock (as we saw on both Showtime and Fighting Irish Media’s ICON), the staff is doing it’s best to get Robinson’s confidence back.

With some wondering if Robinson’s struggles should open the door for talented freshman Equanimeous St. Brown, Kelly talked about their belief that the junior will return to form.

“Corey Robinson is going to get the job done. I had a very lengthy conversation with him yesterday,” Kelly said Tuesday. “I believe in Corey. Corey’s got to believe in himself, and he will. He’s got to go attack the football. He’s letting the football come to him. He’s letting it eat him up a little bit, but I believe in Corey.”

There’s no better place to showcase that belief than against Navy. The Midshipmen don’t have a defender physically capable of matching up with the 6-foot-5 Robinson, who will likely face his share of single coverage with Will Fuller likely demanding safety help.

Then it’s just a matter of Robinson showing the hands and confidence that made him one of last year’s most consistent performers.

“Once he starts attacking the football, I think we’re going to see somebody that can make the plays that we expect him to make,” Kelly said. “So I’m optimistic that we’re going to see the guy that we need to see on Saturday.”