Notre Dame Opens 2014 #17 in Coaches Poll

Notre Dame - #17 in 2014 Pre-Season Poll
(Photo: Matt Cashore / USA Today)

The USA Today Pre-Season Coaches Poll was released on Thursday with Notre Dame sitting at 17th after finishing the 2013 season ranked 24th following their 9-4 campaign.

A year ago Notre Dame started the season off ranked 11th in Coaches Poll following their run to the 2012 National Championship Game but fell completely out of the top 25 by the first week of October.  The Irish should be able to avoid a similar fate this year with the only questionable game before October coming in week two when Notre Dame hosts Michigan for the final game currently scheduled between the two long standing rivals.

Speaking of Michigan, the Wolverines find themselves outside of the pre-season top 25 in year three of the Brady Hoke era.  That means Notre Dame will potentially make it out of September without facing a ranked opponent.

Things will more than heat up from there.

While Michigan is not ranked to start the season, the Notre Dame schedule is littered with opponents who are.  Defending national champion Florida State is Notre Dame’s highest ranked opponent in 2014 as they open their title defense in the top spot in the poll.

Florida State will be the first game in a brutal three game stretch that currently has Notre Dame scheduled to face three straight ranked opponents in consecutive weekends.  Before taking a trip to Tallahassee, Notre Dame will host the 11th ranked Stanford Cardinal and #23 ranked Tar Heels of North Carolina in back to back weekends.

November will see the Irish square off against two more ranked opponents – both on the road.  On November 18th the Irish will travel to Tempe, Arizona for a showdown with the 18th ranked Sun Devils before closing the season out in the Coliseum against the 15th ranked Trojans of USC.

That makes five different opponents in the pre-season top 25 for Notre Dame.   Another three opponents –  Michigan, Northwestern, and Louisville – are also listed in the others receiving votes section meaning Notre Dame has at least 8 top 25 caliber teams on the 2014 season.

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  1. Well, Canadian Irish I will do so but solely under the stipulation that it is a fool’s errand.

    My guesstimates are that the SEC title participants would be Bama and Georgia. Were you to criticize me of going with chalk I would merely
    wag a finger at you and white chalk dust would fly!

    The Final Four would be Bama, FSU, Oregon and our
    Fighting Irish. It is August, and for me, on this 50th anniversary of Ara’s first year, hope, indeed, is a sweet reminiscence if not a strategy.

    Nope, I ain’t predictin’ the Irish regular season record so I forfeit that
    round. But the October gauntlet, with Stanford, North Carolina and FSU packed into 15 days should be riveting. I predict UCLA and Oregon will play for the Pac XII title.

    On peripheral notes, I think that Rutgers will have a horrific Big X record, and that Vanderbilt, post-Franklin, will revert to the dregs of the SEC.

    Again, I responded given the courtesy of your rejoinder, but I remain convinced that this is a fool’s errand.

    1. Michigan is always a must…If you look back at every single NC year that ND has had, it all starts with beating Michigan. Of course they have had to stay clean the rest of the year and beat USC along the way but it starts with Michigan.

      Tommy Rees just could NOT beat Michigan…Golson could.


  2. With a top 5 toughest schedule, and versus Michigan and Stanford who have beaten us four of the last five years,
    then throw in @ Florida State, and @ $C, that’s four games we could easily lose. Then there’s the trap game versus N.Carolina, and the annual game every year (except ’12) that we shouldn’t have lost but do, making a top ten finish tenuous for what is a predominantly young team.

    But the last time we had a talented QB who could do it all we won 12. And he’s back, but with a front seven D’ untested and an uncertain despite Day and Jaylon. How quickly they develop (i.e. beating Michigan), and how they weather October (Stanford, NC and Fla. St. all in a row is brutal) will dictate their final rank. It’s the year to score more or there’s at least three or more losses on the near horizon. It’s time for that BK offensive production that we’ve all been expecting to finally be evident. I’m not expecting many 14-10, 17-13 victories this season. This edition must score early and often, with TDs inside the red zone and not FGs. Also, at least decent kick coverage, and pressure on D to force TOs and mistakes.

  3. Now that the pre-season coaches poll is out, a check of the NCAA 2014 SOS rankings provide for some interesting comparisions.

    The 2014, NCAA top 5 SOS teams:
    4.Notre Dame

    The top ranked teams in the coaches poll and their NCAA SOS rankings:
    1.FSU #47
    2.Alabama #95
    3.Oklahoma #93
    4.Oregon #49
    5.Auburn #16
    6.Ohio St. #35
    7.UCLA #60
    8.Mich.St #55
    9.S.Carolina #13
    10.Baylor #67
    11.Stanford #42
    12.Georgia #19.

    SOS of the ND 2014 Opponents:
    1.Rice #116
    2.Mich #59
    3.Purdue #43
    4.Syracuse #8
    5.Stanford #42
    6.UNC #20
    7.FSU #47
    8.Navy #96
    9.ASU #52
    10.Northwestern #78
    11.Louisville #80
    12.USC #29

    *Remember, “SOS” is now supposed to be one of the deciding factors in the new playoff format.

      1. You’ve just pointed out why everyone DOES care about SOS….avoiding a strong one is your best shot.

      2. Excellent post, Shaz.

        I understand that most teams play in a conference, so most of their schedules are pre-determined. But note who they choose to play during no conference games.

        Reality is a place the ND schedule-makers don’t inhabit. If you want to be among the best, play mostly weak teams and gear up for the two or three that have any chance of beating you. Not like ND which will be playing at least a half a dozen teams capable of beating most anyone in a given week.Having a top 5 toughest schedule will more likely than not eliminate any reasonable chance at getting a playoff bid, as the traditional powers have long ago realized. So enjoy the competition, week-in and week out, domers. Just understand the consequence of such. And no crying in December when ND is not in the mix due to numerous elite opponents every other week.

    1. I read somewhere that USC, UCLA, & Notre Dame are the only remaining major college football programs to have “never” scheduled a Div-II team.

      That was a couple years ago so I’m not sure that still holds true for the two Pac-10 teams, but we all know it still does for the Irish.

      With that in mind, consider the fact that currently, ND also holds the highest lifetime winning percentage in all of Div-I college football.

      We take a back seat to no one!

      “We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

      – John F. Kennedy, 12th of September, 1962

  4. I’m an ND fan, but this timeless scam is SO transparent. Pre-season polls are meaningless…except for selling magazines. Any marketing person worth their salt knows that you put ND in thre Top 20…every year.

    20th would be too obvious….15 to 19 minimizes the scorn, and achieves the goal.

  5. it all comes down to stanford and florida state, i remember when we played
    miami in 1988 lou had a different defensive set up every time miami came to the line, he was a genius, lets see if kelly can think outside the box and motivate like lou. if we win those games we are truly real, if not another decade of ……………..

    go domers

    1. bj,

      I disagree with Lou being the genius in the defensive set, it was Barry Alvarez. We saw what he could do as a head coach at Wisconsin.

    2. So what you want us to believe is that ND lined up differently 50+ times vs Miami.
      This is perhaps the most idiotic thing uttered on this board ever.

  6. I was listening to Phil Steele and another guy and they feel FOR is the second coming. They did say if they played Alabama in the Championship they may lose because of a tough game against OSU. I think there are some dark horses out there and we will be surprised

  7. duranko, you have a good point – but give us your prediction for the SEC title game, the four playoff teams, ND’s regular season record .. whatever you like. I will do the same and maybe others will too. Not saying I will beat you, just a challenge for interest’s sake.

  8. And I throw down this gauntlet to the football media.

    Every single one of you who had Auburn and Missouri playing in the SEC championship game at this time last year raise your hand!

    Every single one of you who had Michigan State as the Big Ten and Rose Bowl champion raise your hand.

    the media, physiologically and intellectually speaking, appears to have a rotator cuff problem.

    Udderwise, ya don’t know what you don’t know.

    Only fools predict, and bigger fools believe them.

  9. Such an easy, theoretical, mathematical equation…IF ND can beat Michigan in week 2 then they will have a great season and stay in the top 25 for the year. Even with a loss to FSU (expected) this can be a playoff team. There are a lot of variable along the way, like Michigan beating OSU and USC keeping their game up against everyone but ND but overall the mathematical understanding is that if we beat Michigan, we have a good year.

    If we lose to Michigan then it opens up the door to lose to Purdue, North Carolina, Louisville and even Arizona State and/or Navy…god forbid USC

    The fluctuation just went from 10-2 or even 11-1 to 7-5 or even 6-6 because of the way they played in one game. Welcome to college football and the mental maturation of a team as it fights through a season.

    1. ND won’t lose to Purdue, as the article specifically says that MICHIGAN is “the only questionable game before October.” We’ll probably beat Purdue is yet another squeaker, and that’s when everyone will talk about how tough Purdue is this year as they finish 1-11.

    1. I sure hope so. If we can destroy that girl-coach Biffy Jhoke and his WolverTards, that’ll be a statement. Let’s hope Coach BK doesn’t have any let-downs like Pitt last year.

      1. HURLER,

        I found it kind of amusing that in the spring of 2013 Coach Hoke was a speaker at a Michigan Alumni dinner and decided to started his whole “ND is chicken” jabber, and then continued to fan the flames right up to game time. (which just so happen, (surprise, surprise) to be at Michigan Stadium)

        This year the great “Hokey Pokey” and his team has to travel to ND ( for the last time in the foreseeable future) and in true Brady Hoke form, he has suddenly become as quiet as a popcorn fart.

        I’ll tell you this, after The Fighting Irish gives his team what fer, the fans in the stadium should do the same to him!

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