Pre-Season Coaches Poll Ranks Notre Dame in Top 10

The 2019 Pre-Season USA Today Top 25 was released on Thursday afternoon, and Notre Dame checked in at #9 marking the first time they are starting the season in the top 10 since, gasp, 2016 when they were also ranked 9th to start the season.

We’ll get to Notre Dame’s ranking in a minute, but first off, the top 5 look good to me.  The first 2 are obvious locks with Clemson and Alabama the clear tier 1 teams in college football.

You could make an argument that Georgia is overrated again, but they have been close to beating Alabama for two years running now and return Jake Fromm.  I’d probably have Oklahoma rated a little higher since they are coming off back-to-back playoff appearances and have a QB in Jalen Hurts that has beaten UGA before.  Ohio State has a new coach and QB, but they are the best team in the Big Ten again, so 5 seems right for them.

The next 3 of LSU, Michigan and Florida all seem overrated to me.  LSU isn’t beating Alabama, and they will lose at least three games with Ed Orgeron coaching.  Michigan is a joke and overrated as usual.  I could see them losing to Army early.  Harbaugh and company will lose at least four games this season.  Florida is getting some hype because they killed a wounded Michigan team in the Peach Bowl, but I don’t see them beating UGA. They could drop multiple games to teams like Mizzou and South Carolina.

Notre Dame at 9th is underrated.  I would have them around 6th at the lowest with Ian Book back and the potential of a great defense returning.  Texas also should be ranked higher than 10 with QB Sam Ehlinger back and one of the best young coaches in the game Tom Herman.  Herman already has impressive resume wins over Oklahoma and Georgia.

The Aggies at #11 seems accurate.  Their schedule is challenging, but if anybody can beat Clemson this season, it’s Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M.  They nearly did it last season.

Washington and Oregon are the two best ranked PAC-12 teams.  It will be interesting to see what Jacob Eason does for the Huskies.  I wasn’t that impressed with his accuracy at UGA.  Everybody loves Justin Herbert at Oregon but do the Ducks have enough defense to beat Washington?  I’m not so sure, and I actually like Utah better than the Huskies and Ducks this season.  Just a gut feeling but I think the Utes win the PAC-12 so them at #15 seems too low.

A third Notre Dame opponent, Stanford checks in at #23 after somewhat of a down year for them in 2018.  There is a good chance that they will not be ranked by the time Notre Dame travels to Palo Alto to close out the regular season.

Penn State still has James Franklin coaching.  I’d have them borderline top 25 and most certainly not top 15.

The rest of the top 25 starting with Auburn at #16 seems accurate.  It’s rather sad to see teams like Nebraska, Miami and USC not ranked preseason.  The Hurricanes are in for a long season with a new coach.  I think Nebraska and USC will be top 20 teams this year because they both have excellent QBs and it’s not like they don’t have talent at other positions.  Frost will get Nebraska at least 9 wins this season and USC should win at least nine too with the amount of 5-star talent they got on their roster.

Also, when Army beats Michigan, they will jump into the top 25.  Write that down.

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  1. I’m revising this comment… “To state the obvious…opening poles don’t usually mean much.” That’s not totally accurate. By opening in the top 10 (#9), it’s a lot easier to stay in the in single digits than if they put us at say 15th for instance. But, an early loss to a good team will move us back over the 10 mark. Again it all hinges on whether the OL can give Book the time to execute the designed play or to provide our backs with some openings to run through. I’ve not ever been a Kelly fan, but from his recruiting efforts, I think he’s done a great job. The clock is ticking on his final years as HQ, though.

  2. To state the obvious…opening poles don’t usually mean much. I’ll know what kind of season we’ll have when I see the OL operate as a unit.

  3. You’re high. Notre Dame has to prove it can win in Athens or Ann Arbor. I don’t see either happening. As much as I would like to see it however. Too much defensive playmaking is gone and we always lose a game we should’ve won. 2012 and 2018 the exception. Pitt could’ve and should’ve won each of those two. Praying for luck to be on our side is about as much as we can hope for. We definitely lose 2 or 3 games this year.

  4. If those are the numbers, I’d say they are pretty accurate. Notre Dame can move up from 9th easily. But we have to prove that a couple of units losing big time game experience (Special Teams – who could decide a Georgia or a Michigan game, and the linebackers, who are a key to every game). If they hit the excellent execution standard, we’ll be in the top three by game four just by natural rising in the polls over those four weeks. On the other hand, those units might just be average, or even functioning poorly, and then you hide your eyes, or say a hail Mary, or something. In that case, #9 would be about right because of the veteran offense (in a fairly complicated offense, I might add.
    Don’t underestimate LSU or Florida (or, as you say, Texas) These teams did last year what Notre Dame did in 2017…10-3 with a big bowl win. That at least two of the three will still be in the talking for a playoff in mid-November is almost likely. And I have to say this: Oklahoma is the luckiest school in a string of QB’s since Brigham Young and Miami back in the days.
    Notre Dame is not the only rising power teams who believe in their coaches.

    BGC ’77 ’82

    1. On Michigan:Having us in the middle of the year helps them. They are a team that sometimes gells in the middle of the season. But it also is OK from our point of view because we will have played Georgia. We will know a really tough road game is already behind us. Good either way (win or lose)…good if we win is self-evident…good if we lose in the sense that we will have identified our vulnerabilities and addressed them in plenty of time before Michigan. It makes sense for both teams to play this in October when Leahy played a series. But as for excitement, it won’t draw the level of our home opener (unless both teams are undefeated, of course).

      BGC ’77 ’82

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