A year ago, Notre Dame seemingly couldn't catch a break. It started with Jonas Gray's fumble on the season's opening drive, and continued with plenty of bad bounces that swung the outcome of a few games.
That's not saying Notre Dame's 8-5 record last year was completely due to bad luck -- far from it. But that seemingly every bounce possible went against the Irish certainly played into it.
This year, though, Notre Dame's 9-0 start has fallen squarely in the "lucky" category. The Irish aren't undefeated by blind luck, but luck has definitely played a role in that start. Look no further than Kevin Harper's missed 33-yard field goal, and the missed penalty that came along with it.
Brian Kelly has experience with an undefeated team, with his 2009 Cincinnati team finishing the regular season 12-0 before he left and the Bearcats were crushed by Tim Tebow and Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
"I don't think I've ever had a lucky football team," Kelly said. "I think I've had a team that's gotten some breaks along the way, but generally those teams have earned them along the way."
That 2009 Cincinnati team needed some breaks along the way, most notably a failed two-point conversion attempt by Pittsburgh that set up a one-point win over the No. 14 Panthers in Kelly's final game with the Bearcats.
Last year, Notre Dame wasn't equipped to deal with bad luck, which only exacerbated the team's underlying flaws. This year, though, Notre Dame is equipped to deal with good luck thanks to an opportunistic team that's proven it can win close games.
"Most of the time you're making your luck, and you're playing through some rough spots," Kelly said. "I've never had a team that won because it was lucky. But I've had many teams that were fortunate because they were good football teams and they found a way to win."