Brian Kelly: Notre Dame Has Nothing To Prove

Coach Brian Kelly says Notre Dame has nothing to prove to anyone in its upcoming College Football Playoff game against top-ranked (and heavily favored) Alabama.

“We’re knocking at the door every year, playing really good teams and great opponents, and they’re elite football teams,” Kelly said. “I don’t know why this narrative continues to pop up when we’re always in the game. No, we haven’t won a national championship. That’s correct. And, you know, I’m not changing the record. But we are there every single year, and we are grinding it out just like everybody else.”

The Fighting Irish finished 10-1 and are coming off a loss to third-ranked Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Clemson faces Ohio State in the other CFP semifinal. That game is expected to be close. The Notre Dame-Alabama game … well, not so much. Alabama is a 20-point favorite.

No matter how it plays out, Kelly says he is proud of the program that he’s built.

“Only one team gets to celebrate at the end of the year,” Kelly said. “We’re going to keep banging, and we’re going to keep getting back here, and that’s our job. That’s our challenge each and every year is to compete for a national championship, and we’ll continue to do that.”

2020-21 College Football Playoff Dates and Times

  • No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Notre Dame | 4 p.m. ET | Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 | Arlington, Texas
  • No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State | 8 p.m. | Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 | New Orleans, Louisiana

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side,


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  1. Except that you can play with the best teams in the nation. Beating up on Pitt, Syracuse, Duke, and the rest of ND’s weak schedule comes to roost when you play a full strength top team. Kelley is just setting up the excuses in advance.

      • North Carolina with no defense and only a running game, a mediocre at best Boston College team, Florida St. another garbage team, USF horrible team, GT horrible team, Louisville garbage, and as I alluded to in my original post a Clemson team in double OT with a back up QB and lots of defense down. ND is one of the most overrated teams every season. If the facts don’t support you case don’t reference the facts.

  2. Prove? They aren’t asked to “prove” anything. All they are good for is their Brand Name, which ESPN figures will gather casual viewers to their Playoff Extravaganza Theatre!

    It’s all about the ratings. That’s why ND is included.

  3. I’m not a fan of Notre Dame by any means, but Kelly does have somewhat of a point. Notre Dame isn’t in a conference so they can’t be dinged for their schedule. They play a fairly tough schedule every year and don’t always duck playing top notch opponents. The SEC is usually the best conference in the country, but only because it’s top heavy. There are always 4-6 really good teams in the conference, but the rest of the conference is so-so at best. At least Notre Dame doesn’t schedule 2-3 sister’s of the poor, Division 2 schools as opponents, something EVERY SEC school does(You want proof…look at the teams they schedule the week before rivalry games at the end of the year). Kelly knows that Notre Dame needs to win the prize to be taken seriously as a powerhouse, but they’re better than 90% of the country most years under his coaching.

  4. Some Irish scheduling notes (regular season games) –

    2022: Ohio State and Clemson
    2023: Ohio State and Clemson

    One of these years could see a WISC resked from this year

    2024: A&M, Miami and FSU
    2025: A&M, Arkansas and Miami
    2027: Clemson
    2028: Alabama, Clemson and Miami
    2029: Alabama, FSU

    All of these are in addition to USC, Stanford and Navyโ€™s crazy wishbone every year

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