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Love him or hate him, Brian Kelly is a top college football coach. 

Fansided released an article ranking the “Top 20 Coaches Not Named Nick Saban” in college football heading into this season, and the Fighting Irish head coach found himself 9th on the list. 

Here’s what Connor Muldowney had to say: 

“The hot seat had Brian Kelly’s name written all over it heading into the 2017 season, but it took a herculean effort from his team to remove it completely.

Notre Dame went from 4-8 with a head coach who had his days numbered to 10-3 with a Citrus Bowl win. You could say he needed a 10-win season to keep his job, and he did just that by changing his coaching style ever so slightly. He was no longer throwing his players under the bus but rather praising them for their quality play and football was fun again in South Bend.

Still, he needs to prove he can do more in South Bend before he moves up on this list. He’s here because of his rise in the ranks from Grand Valley to Central Michigan to Cincinnati and now with the Fighting Irish. He’s won everywhere he’s been.

In fact, he went 118-35 with two Division II national titles with Grand Valley State from 1991-2003, 19-16 with a bowl appearance with Central Michigan (turning the Chippewas around), 34-6 with two BCS bowl berths at Cincinnati and now he’s 48-34 at Notre Dame.

Winning consistently at Notre Dame could put him in the top-five nationally, but right now, he’ll hover around the 9-10 spot.”

Expectations will be high for the Irish again this season. College Gameday has announced they will take their show to South bend for Week 1 against Jim Harbaugh and Michigan. 

Sports Illustrated ranked the Irish 15th in their preseason top 25, and the coaches ranking has them slotted 11th.