...kept ND "tantalizingly close to making the jump to the next level." The best that I can come up with is the four-game stretch from MSU through Stanford in 2012. That generously assumes that a 7-point home win over a marginal Michigan team that spotted ND six turnovers and out-gained ND (which accumulated an amazing 239 total yards) qualifies as "tantalizingly close..." It also grants credit for the Stanford win, in which Stanford's only TD was the direct result of Kelly's arrogance, stupidity and intransigence and in which David Shaw ran the same play four times in a row at the goal line in OT.
This is further advancement of the BK myth. The fact is that his teams have been maddeningly inconsistent over the span of five years. Under Kelly, ND's losses to inferior opponents have been at least as common as its victories over opponents with equal or greater talent, while disappointing performances against lesser opposition (win or lose) have been commonplace.
In this context, it's worth repeating that Notre Dame was a ridiculous 4th-and-goal from the 20 against Stanford, a roughing the snapper penalty against North Carolina, and a few dropped passes by Navy away from going 4-8 this season. 4-8. Think about that.