Even though his team hasn't technically won anything of significance yet, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly believes that the Fighting Irish football program is back to its "title-game-or-bust" perspective of years past, as Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune writes.
The Irish face the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide for the BCS National Championship on Monday night, looking for their first national championship since 1988. That lack of recent success had dampened expectations for one of college football's most historic programs, but Kelly has reinvigorated South Bend in his latest coaching turnaround.
"Playing in this game is an incredible springboard into the next season, because you set a goal, you set a bar," Kelly said at Sunday's press conference. "They've already been here. You come back the next year, it's unacceptable for a standard to be any less than being back here again. So it's an incredible springboard."
The Irish will lose some key players after the conclusion of this season, including Heisman runner-up Manti Te'o, though Kelly doesn't appear especially concerned about it. He was brought in to bring the Irish back to national relevance after two decades of relative mediocrity, and he's done exactly that.