Notre Dame’s Kelly won’t play politics for a BCS title game berth

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Brian Kelly was about 15 minutes late to his weekly Tuesday press conference, because he was voting.

And that will be the extent of his participation in the political process. Notre Dame’s coach reiterated Tuesday that he wasn’t going to try to sway voters that an undefeated Irish team should be in the national championship game if Alabama, Oregon and Kansas State also remain unbeaten.

“It doesn’t help,” Kelly said. “If it helped, you know me, I could talk all day. If it really helped, I would be on the stump for it. But it doesn’t do anything. The only thing that does is winning football games. So I try to spend all my time and energy focused on how we can get another win, and getting to 10. That’s really where we’re at right now: How do we get to 10?”

Kelly earned the Notre Dame job largely on the strength of his final season at Cincinnati in 2009. The Bearcats went 12-0, but were ranked fourth and were left out of the BCS championship game, instead relegated to the Sugar Bowl, where they lost 51-24 to Florida.

That was the first time since 2004 — when Auburn was the odd team out — that an undefeated team from a BCS conference was left out of the title game. Kelly said he wouldn’t have — no, couldn’t have — done anything differently that season.

“I knew we couldn’t control the ultimate goal,” he said. “We couldn’t control it in Cincinnati. The way the BCS is set up right now, if you have more than two undefeated teams, you can’t control it. Now, in two years, when you have (a four-team playoff), yeah, now you can control things a little bit more. You may be talking more about your teams. But you can’t now. Maybe in two years, you’ll find me talking a lot more about it.”

When a reporter asked Kelly if he could ever have imagined a 12-0 Notre Dame team suffering the same fate as a 12-0 Cincinnati team, he didn’t take the bait.

“If you told me that Alabama and Oregon were also undefeated, as well as Notre Dame, I would say, ‘Well, there’s a chance,'” Kelly said. “Those are teams that have been there and done that. Notre Dame hasn’t done it in a while. Those teams are undefeated, too. I would say, ‘Well, there’s a chance we may get left out.'”

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