Where there's smoke, there's typically fire when it comes to college and NFL coaching changes this time of year.
Following a 45-27 loss to USC and a highly disappointing 4-8 season, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly might just be looking to leave South Bend. According to Yahoo, Kelly has "reached out through representatives to explore coaching options outside Notre Dame."
Kelly, of course, denied those claims.
"I felt that I was clear with the media following [Saturday's] game at USC when I was asked about my desire to be back as the head football coach at Notre Dame, but in light of media reports that surfaced afterward, let me restate my position," Kelly said in a statement released by Notre Dame. "I have not been, am not, and will not be interested in options outside of Notre Dame. I'm fully committed to leading this program in the future."
Kelly doesn't seem to be a good fit for another college job at this time. All of the premier college jobs that a coach of Kelly's caliber would be interested in have already been filled. The Texas and LSU jobs were quickly filled over Thanksgiving weekend. While the Tennessee job could become open, going from the Fightin' Irish to the Vols would be considered a step down for Kelly.
So if Kelly does leave Notre Dame in the next few weeks, expect it to be for an NFL job.
Despite being a Massachusetts native, Kelly has been a "mid-west guy" for three decades now as he coached as Grand Valley State (Michigan), Central Michigan and Cincinnati before getting the Notre Dame gig. Lo and behold, several big NFL jobs in the midwest could open up soon.
The Bengals, Colts, Packers and Bears may all dismiss their respective current coaches and Kelly would certainly be in the mix for any and all of those jobs.