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Friday at 4: Links, and Brian Kelly ‘is the coach this season, like it or not’

Michigan v Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish waits to enter the field with his team before a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Stadium on September 11, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Michigan defeated Notre Dame 28-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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This one has been gnawing at me for a bit now, to be honest. Nevertheless, I refrained.

I’m new in these parts.
Why risk instigation when that is not my intent?
Wouldn’t it be a better usage of my time to go see “Logan” instead of writing an introduction to a link dump? No one will ever know the introduction was even considered.

Then don74 had to come around and tiptoe right up to the point I have long considered. Here we are.

Amid a larger philosophical question about sports, entertainment and predictability, don74 asked a few of his fellow readers, “If you truly believe you know the outcome, why are you so vested in this? If it’s to say I told you so, you already have that. Kelly is 0-13 vs top-12 teams in the last 5 years. In and of itself that’s all that needs to be understood to look at the program. … He IS the coach this season, like it or not.” Editor’s Note: Notre Dame is 0-8 against top-12 teams in the last four years. Five years ago, the Irish topped No. 10 Michigan State and No. 8 Oklahoma amidst a 12-game winning streak you may vaguely remember.

The broader discussion of why we watch sports can be left for another day. I remember the first time I had it—senior year of high school in calculus with a guy who now performs on or near Broadway. His argument for theater certainly held and holds merit.

To the issue at hand, though: Brian Kelly is Notre Dame’s coach in 2017. Let’s approach this abstractly.

I am hosting something of a happy hour tonight. Afterward, a few other Notre Dame alums and I will presumably head to one of those establishments serving adult beverages. In an alternate universe, by the end of the night I may find just enough false bravado to convince some intriguing and age-appropriate female to give me her number with the indication we could have more adult beverages next weekend. I know, it’s unlikely, but maybe in that alternate universe it could happen.

For efficiency’s sake, let’s call this girl Claire.

Know what I will not do? I will not call Claire at 3 a.m., an hour after the bars close. I will not get upset when she does not call me back within 10 minutes. I will not complain bitterly until the start of the Monday workday.

Why won’t I do that? Timing.

If I call Claire on Wednesday or Thursday to set up a chance at drinks Friday, I might get aggravated if I don’t hear back from her before the weekend. That frustration would be understandable. (Then again, there is a reason this scenario is fictional. Claire ignoring my call would be the most-understandable aspect of this hypothetical.)

Why would it be acceptable to express chagrin then? Timing.

Brian Kelly will coach Notre Dame in 2017. Anyone reading Inside the Irish is at least vaguely familiar with his track record, including both the good years (2012, 2015) and the more-recent rough years (2014, 2016). Spending the next six months repeatedly airing any grievances with him informs no one. At the most, it reminds a few. Perhaps angrily tapping away at an iPhone provides some with a therapeutic release. I can grasp the value in that, but at some point, switch to an Android. That alone will bring your life much-needed tranquility.

Claire won’t pick up the phone if I call her five hours before the sun rises Saturday morning, but she might if I try Wednesday evening. The difference is obvious: Timing.

In November or December and even some of January, Kelly’s job status and any complaints therein were reasonable and pertinent topics of conversation. Why are they not now? Timing.

Brian Kelly will coach Notre Dame in 2017. How the Irish fare this season will determine his 2018 job prospects. Nothing expressed here and now will.

Also from the depths of the readers’ comments, glowplugv asked for more context regarding the statistics at the bottom of Thursday’s look at the rover position. Specifically, “You didn’t provide the passes attempted stat to see what the actual balance was between run/pass for those teams. I would assume it was tilted to the run but that would be good to see too.”

A valid point. As one might expect from this site, sacks are considered snaps devoted to the passing game, so in the below breakdowns, sacks factor into the passing side of the distribution, not the rushing.

2016 Temple rushed 535 times and dropped back to pass 432 times.
2016 Georgia rushed 509 times and dropped back to pass 413 times.
2016 Boston College rushed 538 times and dropped back to pass 324 times.
2016 Michigan State rushed 444 times and dropped back to pass 397 times.

For context’s sake: last season Notre Dame rushed 410 times and dropped back to pass 416 times. The nation’s top rushing attack, New Mexico, took to the ground 676 times and dropped back to pass only 191 times.

Two links, coincidentally both from Sports Illustrated
If you have not yet read Pete Thamel’s piece on Brian Kelly’s offseason, it is very much worthwhile. In addition to the tidbits on yoga, omelets and Kelly’s bridal party, Thamel informs us Notre Dame interviewed five strength coaches, three wide receivers coaches, three offensive coordinators and two defensive coordinators before deciding on those hires.

Sports Illustrated also collaborated with to list the best colleges for sports fans to attend. Apparently the ideal sweet spot to enjoy competitive athletics while setting oneself up for a lifetime of high earnings is Stanford. No. 2, however, is Notre Dame, one slot ahead of Michigan.

Te’o a free agent
Personally, former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o reaching free agency had completely skirted my knowledge until an Adam Schefter tweet crossed my screen. I pass it along in case it evaded any of your purviews, as well, on the off-chance you may wonder where Te’o lands next.

A piece of useless trivia
Chuck Norris’s real name is Carlos. You probably don’t care, but I learned this Wednesday night. More than anything, what amazes me is that this is not commonly-known. During the run of Chuck Norris memes and one-liners, how did Carlos never get into the mix? The internet missed an opportunity, there.

Lastly, I did go see “Logan.” It might have been the best usage of a Tuesday night since I was an undergrad regular at karaoke with $2 double rail drinks. Speaking of drinks, this posted Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET. You know what to do.