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Notre Dame's Brian Kelly 'Safe And Secure' In Annual Hot Seat Rankings

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A 22-4 record the past two seasons has taken Brian Kelly off the hot seat from two years ago.
A 22-4 record the past two seasons has taken Brian Kelly off the hot seat from two years ago. (Blue & Gold Illustrated)

In his annual “Hot Seat” rankings for 2019, national college football writer Dennis Dodd of CBSSports doesn’t quite yet have Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly in the “untouchable” category, but it’s still a long way away from where the Fighting Irish coach was entering 2017.

On the heels of a 4-8 season in 2016, Kelly and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin in 2017 were the only two Football Bowl Subdivision coaches in Dodd’s dreaded category 5 — “Win or be fired.”

Now the head coach at Arizona, Sumlin was indeed axed in 2017 after a 7-5 output. Meanwhile, Kelly went from 5 to a 2 — “all good… for now” — following a 10-3 finish.

Kelly is now all the way up to 1, which is categorized as “safe and secure.”

Among the 130 FBS coaches, 70 received a 1 or the untouchable 0 rating.

The 12 untouchables in 2019 are considered to be Alabama’s Nick Saban, Army’s Jeff Monken, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Coastal Carolina’s Joe Moglia, Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz (the longest tenured coach at his school as he enters year 21), Nebraska’s Scott Frost, Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, Stanford’s David Shaw, TCU’s Gary Patterson and Washington’s Chris Petersen.

The five categories are:

5 — Win or be fired

4 — Start improving now

3 — Pressure is mounting

2 — All good… for now

1 — Safe and secure

0 — Untouchable

Here are the ratings for Notre Dame’s opposing head coaches in 2019:

Scott Satterfied (Louisville) — 1

Enters his first season after successful stint at Appalachian State.

Bob Davie (New Mexico) — 5

Former 1997-2001 Notre Dame head coach joins Illinois’ Lovie Smith and Rutgers’ Chris Ash as the only ones in this category.

Kirby Smart (Georgia) — 0

Bronco Mendenhall (Virginia) — 1

Scot Loeffler (Bowling Green) — 2

Has never been a head coach until this season.

Clay Helton (USC) — 4

Most probably would have assumed he would be a 5 as well.

Jim Harbaugh (Michigan) — 3

Moved from 0 (2017) to 2 (2018), and now the natives might be getting restless.

Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech) — 2

David Cutcliffe (Duke) — 1

A case could be made that he could be a 0, too.

Ken Niumatalolo (Navy) — 1

Body of work for now trumps last year’s 3-10 meltdown.

Steve Addazio (Boston College) — 3

Seven wins every year might be getting old.

David Shaw (Stanford) — 0


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