After finishing the 2015 season ranked 12th in the Coaches Poll, the Irish will start the 2016 season just inside the top 10 checking in at #9. The top 10 start is the highest for Notre Dame football under the guidance of Brian Kelly
Three Notre Dame opponents are featured in the pre-season Coaches Poll with Stanford #7, Michigan State #11, and USC #17. Michigan State’s 11th place start sets up a potential Top 10 showdown between the Irish and Spartans in week three assuming both teams take care of business and one other team in the top 10 slips up.
A fourth opponent just missed out on making the Top 25 with Miami the highest ranking “Others Receiving Votes” team. Texas, Navy, and Duke all also received some votes in the poll leaving just Syracuse, Nevada, Army, Virginia Tech and NC State among the teams on Notre Dame’s 2016 schedule without any representation in the poll.
Notre Dame has not started the season in the Coaches Poll in the top 10 since 2006 when the Irish opened the season third behind Ohio State and Texas.
Most pre-season publications have had the Irish right around the top ten/low teens leading up to the release of the Coaches Poll making the 9th ranking one of the higher pre-season rankings for the Irish. All of these rankings and even the AP Poll that will be released later this month of course are just for the sake of debate and argument now that the College Football Playoffs are determined by the CFP Committee, but it’s still good to see the Irish start the season in the 10.