While the mood around Notre Dame football was a bit somber this weekend following the two separate incidents that resulted in six players arrested, the Irish received good news on Sunday with the first AP Poll of year. Notre Dame comes in ranked in the top 10 for the first time in a decade right at #10.
While the AP and Coaches Poll no longer play a roll in the determining the National Champion, a team’s placement in both polls are a good indicator of where they will eventually be ranked in the College Football Playoff rankings when they are eventually announced. Notre Dame will start the season in the top 10 of both polls after being ranked 9th in the Coaches Poll released earlier this month.
Voters in the AP Poll had to submit their pre-season rankings before news broke of the six players being arrested over the weekend. Prior to that news, however, AP voters thought highly of the Irish with Notre Dame being one of only nine teams to be listed on every ballot.
Only 9 schools listed by all 61 AP voters on preseason ballots: Alabama, Clemson, OU, FSU, LSU, Ohio St, Michigan, Tennessee, Notre Dame
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 21, 2016
Only one Notre Dame opponent is ranked higher than the Irish to start the season with Stanford coming in at #8. Week three opponent Michigan State comes two notches lower than Notre Dame at #12. Notre Dame’s opponent in the season finale – arch-rival USC – is the third and final Irish foe at #20. Miami, Texas, and Navy all received votes as well with the Hurricanes just outside the top 25 at #26.
Last season Notre Dame started and finished the season #11. Notre Dame hasn’t started the season within the top 10 since opening the 2006 season ranked #2 in Charlie Weis’s second season in South Bend.
How this weekend’s off the field issues impact the Irish this fall remains to be seen as no word on any disciplinary has been announced.