Brian Kelly has bolted Notre Dame for LSU, and now we have to wonder what’s next. Kelly at Louisiana State is an odd hire, a strange fit to be sure, but why not embrace the strangeness of the silliest silly season ever.
Not even to conference championship Saturday yet and we’re already talking about a new hire at USC as well as openings at Notre Dame and Oklahoma. The domino theory is already starting to take shape. With that in mind, let’s look at who could be headed to South Bend.
The timing and the fit are probably both perfect. He is about as high profile a college football coach as you can find, and lord only knows the Jacksonville Jaguars don’t want him to stay around. Meyer has gone the way of Nick Saban and John Calipari when it comes to attempting to translate college success to the pros.
No doubt this would be a controversial call, to some, but it’s also the sensible one. Is he the most wholesome hire possible?
Odds to be the next Notre Dame Head Coach per @betonline_ag :
Marcus Freeman 2/3
Luke Fickell 7/4
Matt Campbell 4/1
Urban Meyer 7/1
Matt Rhule 12/1
Bob Stoops 20/1
Lane Kiffin 20/1
Dave Aranda 25/1
Ed Orgeron 25/1
Pat Fitzgerald 25/1
Dave Clawson 33/1
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) November 30, 2021
Absolutely not, but big time college football is anything but wholesome.
If they go in house then this is the only option, but it’s also a good one. Freeman is a rising star, and this is a chance for him to continue making his way in the universe. Path of least resistance? Sure. Easiest course of action? Definitely.
But at the end of the day, he still has the chops to get it done. Also, remember this:
FWIW Brian Kelly did say that Marcus Freeman would be the next head coach last summer pic.twitter.com/gcdveytTxt
— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) November 30, 2021
Is he holding out for Ohio State, his alma mater? Well if Ryan Day goes to South Bend, then this would be the next domino to fall. Given how his interim stint in Columbus went (albeit under rough circumstances), he might want/need to prove himself at a blue blood program first.
We could easily end with a true coaching carousel here, and it could involve three schools: Notre Dame, Cincinnati and Ohio State. Coincidentally, Kelly left Cincy in order to lead ND, in 2009 so thus the circle of life would be then completed.
Plus Ficekll’s stock will never be higher than it is now.
There is only one job, supposedly that he would leave Northwestern for and that’s the Chicago Bears. He didn’t even consider the Green Bay Packers, and he’s turned down Michigan.
But maybe Notre Dame is also a potential destination for the southwest suburbanite Irish catholic guy? Hard to say because Fitz is already at his dream job, leading his alma mater. But with a new A.D. taking over in Evanston this year, anything is possible.
You can argue if this is a lateral move or not, but he seriously didn’t lose a conference game until just this past Saturday. Of this entire list, probably the safest hire; provided he is actually game to move on.
If you’re an Irish fan, this is one hire you should definitely be excited about.
Had to go with one wild card pick, and the Iowa State head man is our choice to fit that bill. Then again, most people regard this concept as more of a safe bet than an outside the box decision. I don’t know, maybe they back up the truck to pay Nick Saban or Dabo Swinney? Both could be looking for new challenges right now.
Let the silly season speculation begin! Enjoy!
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”