Well Cincinnati fans Brian Kelly is gone. Despite all of their recent success Cincinnati continues to be a stepping stone program for college head coaches. But lets take a step back and think about it and really look at the situation. You have a coach who came from Central Michigan to Cincinnati, that's a pretty big jump. He is able to have three incredible seasons with a program who was on the rise but not nearly close to the level where they are today. And after those three seasons one of the most storied college football programs comes calling and rolling out the golden carpet. What would you do? Now we can get into all of the issues surrounding Notre Dame right now but think about it Cincinnati Football or Notre Dame football? Just 5 years ago Cincinnati had a hard time filling Nippert Field. They forced Cincinnati basketball fans to buy football tickets if they wanted basketball tickets. They got scrap heap recruits and played a cupcake schedule.
Now, if you read this blog long enough you will know that I am a Kentucky fan. However, I have really enjoyed watching Kelly's offense and I have been watching and cheering for UC football for the past two years. So I will miss him. But as a Kentucky fan I can kind of relate to how you are feeling today. Rick Pitino took over the Kentucky basketball program when we were at our all time low. Eddie Sutton had just sent an envelope full of cash to Shawn Kemp and Kentucky was now at the bottom of the food chain in college basketball. In steps Pitino and within a few years he has Kentucky fighting for national titles. At the pinnacle of that success Pitino bolts for the NBA. Was I initially mad, yes, but now after time I realize what he did for Kentucky and I thank him for that. I think once this all settles down that is what Brian Kelly will be for the Bearcats. But right now its just not there.
I have also said many times on this blog that I think the system in the NCAA is flawed. And many of those flaws were exposed in this situation. The NCAA should create a rule stating that no coach can interview or discuss a position until his teams season has ended. Because its really not fair that the Cincinnati Bearcats will take their undefeated team into New Orleans to face one of the top programs in the country without their head coach. But unfortunately that is the system and not even a coach as hot as Brian Kelly can change the system. There are a lot of people who get screwed in this situation but think of it this way. If Brian Kelly coaches a kid who is a junior, and that junior leads his team to the Sugar Bowl. Then that junior decides that I am going to make a jump to the NFL and leave early what is the difference?
This whole situation with Brian Kelly exposes one of the many flaws of college football, but wake up people. Brian Kelly did not stab Cincinnati in the back. Brian Kelly did what any college football coach would do in that situation. Good luck to Coach Kelly in South Bend, I will continue to follow him and root for him. And good luck to Cincinnati. I really hope they can build on this and continue to compete for BCS bowls.