Posted by Tom Fornelli
Another college football season is right around the corner which means that now is the time of year filled with high expectations for Notre Dame. In spite of the fact that the Irish have won 9 games or more only three times since the turn of the century, Notre Dame finds itself ranked 18th in the preseason Coaches Poll that was released on Thursday. Whether it deserves that ranking or not, I'll let you decide for yourself, but it is somewhat understandable considering how Notre Dame finished the 2010 season.
That being said, Notre Dame has a recent history of not being able to live up to the expectations placed upon it, and now that he's entering his second season as head coach, the pressure on Brian Kelly is even greater. Which isn't the best feeling in the world when you're not even sure who your starting quarterback is going to be.
"If it's an ideal situation, I'd like to know who the starter is before camp," said Kelly in a press conference on Friday.
"I don’t know if there's a certain date (to name a starter) other than we're only going to use the first 19 practices for the evaluation process. We're spending two weeks on South Florida. We're gonna know going into the last 10 days who the starting quarterback is."
Kelly also went on to say that he plans on naming the starter publicly and that there is no need to be "stealth-like." Which is somewhat funny considering that I'm not all that convinced Kelly doesn't already know who his starter is at this point. Dayne Crist is widely-considered to be the favorite seeing as how he started the first nine games of the season for the Irish last season before going down with an injury.
What's thrown a wrinkle in the process is that Notre Dame finished the season very strong under Tommy Rees, Crist's strongest competition this fall. Still, even though Notre Dame won every game Rees started, a lot of the credit for those victories goes to a defense that played fantastic down the stretch and should be even better this season given the haul of players Kelly brought to town in his first recruiting class like Aaron Lynch.
So while the job may not be Crist's yet officially, he's going to have to do a lot in the coming weeks to lose it.