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Raising the bar

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Brian Kelly aspired to end Notre Dame's 25-year title drought when he arrived on campus three years ago.

With No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0) on the door step of winning the BCS championship – the Irish play No. 2 Alabama (12-1) Monday night in the title game – Kelly said just reaching the season's final game has raised the bar for the program to a championship-or-bust mentality from here on out.

"Playing in this game is an incredible springboard into the next season, because as I just mentioned, you set a goal, you set a bar," Kelly said during the final BCS coaches news conference Sunday. "They've already been here. You come back the next year, it's unacceptable for a standard to be any less than being back here again. So it's an incredible springboard.

"When I was playing for championships at the Division II level (at Grand Valley State), it just changes everything when you walk into that building on a day-to-day basis. Everybody is playing for championships. So this will be a great springboard in making sure that we get back to this game."

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.

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