LSU football: Has Brian Kelly proven he's the right coach for the job?

Nov 25, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  LSU Tigers head coach Brian Kelly waves to fans during
Nov 25, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Brian Kelly waves to fans during / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Two years into the Brian Kelly era of LSU football, there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding the program. Don't get me wrong, a second straight double-digit win season is nothing to scoff at, but the Tigers expect more than just 10 wins and an above-average bowl game. They expect national titles.

So when Kelly was hired prior to the 2022 season, it felt like the program was taking a risk on a guy who could get to the big stage but he never thrived on it.

And we're seeing a similar result in Baton Rouge.

Through two seasons, Kelly has seven losses: Florida State (twice), Tennessee, Texas A&M (big season finale in 2022), Georgia (SEC title game), Ole Miss, and Alabama. Sure, he's also beaten Alabama once, but the theme has remained the same in his time at LSU: he can't seem to win that big game. The 2022 win over Alabama was the exception and that feels like an eternity ago.

LSU is 20-7 under Kelly and that's with a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback running the show. He had the best player in college football leading his offense this past season and he still had four losses. That's unacceptable.

Fast forward to this offseason and Kelly has the No. 9 recruiting class coming in along with a handful of talented transfers. But there's a major question mark at quarterback and that defense is in limbo.

If the defense doesn't improve at all this season in the post-Matt House era, I don't think Kelly is going to last in Baton Rouge. If it does and the offense regresses without Jayden Daniels, I think you have the same issue.

So the question about whether or not LSU has the right guy in charge is tough to answer because this 2024 season is going to tell us a lot about him. And this is usually the make-or-break year for LSU football coaches. If Kelly can't make a 12-team playoff this season or contend for an SEC title, it may be time to cut ties even if he is one of the best coaches in college football. Fitting that LSU culture is not an easy task -- even if he tried with the fake accent.