Is Brian Kelly under more pressure than any 1st-year coach?

Brian Kelly made a bet on himself this offseason.

The 60-year-old could have finished his career out at Notre Dame, where he became the winningest coach in school history with his final victory in South Bend, Indiana. He had been the head coach of the Fighting Irish since 2010, but he had never reached the mountaintop.

He made the leap to the SEC, where he will look to become the fourth LSU coach in a row to win a national title. He’s one of the most accomplished active coaches in college football, and naturally, expectations are high.

This was a wild year in the coaching carousel, but arguably no first-year coach will be under as much pressure to succeed as Kelly now that he has SEC talent at his disposal.

Asked which of the head coaches that moved to greener pastures this offseason faces the most pressure between Kelly, USC’s Lincoln Riley and Miami’s Mario Cristobal, The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach said the answer is the new Tigers coach.

I’ve got to go with Brian Kelly, due to a few factors. One, the way he left Notre Dame — abruptly and with a potential Playoff berth on the line — immediately heightened every little thing he did in the aftermath, from hiring his staff to dancing with recruits. We’ve seen and heard a lot about Kelly over the past few months, and that’s because there are a lot of eyes on him. Two, the reason he took the LSU job. He has said, in no uncertain terms, that he
believes LSU is the kind of place you can win a national championship. Which means, in no uncertain terms, that Notre Dame wasn’t. To Kelly, Notre Dame had a ceiling, and he had
reached it. It was about getting to the Playoff, but the gap between getting there and winning games was clear.

I believe that “fit” matters when we talk about new coaches and the programs they’re joining. However, I also believe that…


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