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LSU officially names Brian Kelly next head coach

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Stanford Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Another major power move has changed the college football landscape. Following USC’s pull of Lincoln Riley, LSU plucked Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame on Monday.

Rumors began to swirl in the afternoon, and by the evening, multiple reports surfaced that the move was happening. On Tuesday morning, LSU confirmed the news.

Kelly is getting a hefty raise to go south to Baton Rouge, now set to make $9.5 million per year in base pay.

The LSU search was an interesting one, with the perception out there that they missed out on Lincoln Riley and maybe Jimbo Fisher too. With Billy Napier taking the Florida job, most were circling back to Dave Aranda’s name on Sunday night.

And then Scott Woodward pulled Brian Kelly out of his back pocket.

On the surface, Kelly’s fit with LSU seems strange. He’s never coached south of Cincinnati, a place that he was able to build before taking the Notre Dame job back in 2010. Before that it was Central Michigan and Grand Valley State. Kelly isn’t exactly the most likeable figure either, but you can’t deny his ability to win football games. His path will certainly be tougher in the SEC West, however.

Kelly was 92-39 during his time at Notre Dame, making an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game, along with two playoff appearances. Interestingly enough, Notre Dame is still in the thick of the playoff picture this year. They need some help, but it wouldn’t take a miracle to get them in the final four.

Despite the lack of southern ties — which will likely be addressed with his staff hires — recruiting shouldn’t be an issue. Academics limited Notre Dame’s ability to land some players, and that won’t be the case here. Even with the academic layer, Kelly had the fourth ranked class going in the 2022 cycle, per 247Sports.

At the end of the day, Kelly might have felt like he peaked at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish were clobbered in both playoff games by Clemson and Alabama. Or maybe it was just about the money. Either way, LSU has made a power move, and the SEC West has become even more loaded.

By the way, Tennessee plays at LSU next season.

Kelly’s departure obviously opens up another premier job. Notre Dame joins Oklahoma in the search for a head coach, as this coaching carousel continues to run wild.