Alabama-LSU Week: This Is Why Brian Kelly Left Notre Dame To Become Tigers’ Coach

BATON ROUGE – It was not for the humidity.

It was not for the food, though he likes that.

One of the reasons Brian Kelly became the first Notre Dame head football coach since 1907 to leave for another job was weeks like this – Bama Week.

No. 15 LSU (6-2, 4-1 SEC) hosts No. 6 Alabama (7-1, 4-1 SEC) at 7 p.m. Saturday on ESPN under the lights after each team had its customary open week to think about it before their November clash. It has been that way virtually every season since 2003 with two Games of the Century in 2011 and 2019 over that span along with eight top 10 meetings and six top five pairings.

LSU coach Brian Kelly (left) at his introductory press conference at LSU on Dec. 1, 2021, with LSU athletic dirctor Scott Woodward.

Looking To Play In Big Games In Baton Rouge

“Look, I came down here because I wanted to be with the best,” Kelly said at his introductory press conference at LSU on Dec. 1, 2021. “The resources here are outstanding. Listen, you’re looked at in terms of championships here. I want that. I want to be under the bright lights. I want to be on the Broadway stage. That’s what my passion is.”

Kelly never won a national championship at Notre Dame in his 12 seasons there. But he reached the BCS national championship game in just his third season in 2012 and reached the College Football Playoff semifinal in the 2020 season. He lost both times to more talented Alabama teams, 42-14 and 31-14.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban after one of his seven national championships – six with the Crimson Tide from 2009-2020 and one at LSU in the 2003 season.

He gets another shot at the Crimson Tide and coach Nick Saban Saturday, though at the moment Kelly will be at an overall talent disadvantage again. He just inherited a roster that had only 39 scholarship players for the Tigers’ 42-20 loss to Kansas State on Jan. 4 in the Texas Bowl.


Kelly was told on the SEC teleconference last week that this Saturday would be his first taste of the classic Tiger Stadium – at night against Alabama. And he was asked, “Are you looking forward to it at all?”

“Heck, yeah,” Kelly said. “That’s why I came to LSU. But there’s more to come. This will be obviously an exciting atmosphere, but I don’t want our fans to think that this is the first and last event like this in Tiger Stadium. We expect to be playing in a lot of these games.”

LSU Coach Brian Kelly Has Tigers In Position To Win West

An LSU win will put it in sole possession of first in the SEC West for the first time since the Tigers won the 2019 national championship. No. 11 Ole Miss (8-1, 4-1), which is in a three-way tie for first with LSU and Alabama, is open this Saturday before hosting Alabama on Nov. 12.

“I told our players, ‘You created this by what you’ve done on the field,'” Kelly said of his team’s victories over Florida (45-35) and Ole Miss (45-20) over the previous two weeks after a 40-13 loss to No. 8 Tennessee on Oct. 8.

“It’s a privilege to play in these games,” Kelly said. “So let’s take the time to welcome that opportunity.”

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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