Brian Kelly knows the current sunshine in which he's basking is the reason he took the LSU job in the first place. You don't even have to coax it out of him after a season-altering win over Alabama.
"You have to be elite, but you don't have to be perfect," said LSU's coach of chasing a College Football Playoff berth in the SEC.
That's as concise a summary of the moment as you'll get. That's what Kelly bought into when he left Notre Dame after 12 seasons for LSU and the SEC. He knew the competition would be tougher. He also knew the access to talent and playoffs berths would be "easier" to come by.
These Tigers certainly aren't perfect and might not even be elite. But SEC membership has its privileges. Consider that No. 7 LSU is 7-2 after the Alabama overtime win and can see a direct path to one of those CFP berths all the way from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
"There would have been other jobs that would not have been of interest [to me]," Kelly told CBS Sports, "but LSU [had] the resources, the recruiting base, all those things plus the SEC West and [having] a pathway to a playoff without having to be undefeated every year."
That's a subtle reference -- though certainly not an overt dig -- to Notre Dame. With no conference, no league championship game and a lesser schedule, the Fighting Irish have generally had to win them all to get a national title shot since the start of the BCS era (1998).
Three times since 2012, Notre Dame played in a BCS Championship Game or CFP. It lost those games by a combined 68 points. That after a cumulative 34-1 record in those regular seasons.
Three times since 2011, two teams from the SEC made it to BCS Championship Game or the CFP in the same season.