Notre Dame Opens Season Ranked Highest in Coaches Poll in Brian Kelly Era

Notre Dame's 7th place rakning in the preseason Coaches Poll is the highest for the Irish since 2006.

Notre Dame opened the season a bit higher than many might have expected in the Pre-Season Coaches Poll at #7. It is also the highest that Notre Dame has been ranked in the preseason Coaches Poll in the Brian Kelly era on the heels of last year’s playoff run that ended in the Cotton Bowl at the hands of Alabama.

The ranking is a bit higher than some expected leading a lot of journalists to use the ranking for click-bait articles about Notre Dame being one of the most overrated teams to start the season. Not too many other teams starting the season in the top 10 can say they have 33-5 record over the last three seasons though.

Notre Dame started the 2020 season ranked 10th before a fifth-place finish. The last Notre Dame team to start a season ranked higher was Charlie Weis’s second Fighting Irish squad in 2006. They started the season ranked 3rd before finishing the year 19th following a blowout at the hands of LSU in the Sugar Bowl.

Four Notre Dame opponents open the season ranked in the top 15 with North Carolina coming in the highest at #9. Cincinnati is one spot below the Tar Heels at #10. Arch-rival USC starts the season at #14 USC, and Wisconsin, the team most think is the toughest opponent of the season comes in at #15. Of the group, Notre Dame hosts Cincinnati, North Carolina, and USC at Notre Dame Stadium while they face Wisconsin on neutral ground at Soldier Field.

The Badgers coming in ranked the lowest of Notre Dame’s ranked opponents is interesting since most Irish fans would say they are the most worried about the September 25th contest with Wisconsin in Soldier Field. USC being ranked ahead of them is particularly eyebrow-raising. The Trojans were 5-1 last season in their shortened season but preseason odds have the Irish favored against the Trojans and underdogs to the Badgers.

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  1. In related “pre-season ND over-ranking clickbait” news:
    ESPN ranks Brian Kelly at 36 on its list of top 100 college head coaches of the past 50 years.

    I mean, this is just abject contempt.

  2. Don’t mean to nitpick but you spelled ranking wrong in the sub header to the article. I normally wouldn’t even mention it but since it’s in part of the headline I’d bring it up.

    But yeah, I hate being ranked highly in pre-season polls. All that does is bring out the haters and trolls talking about how ‘over-rated’ we are. 10-20 would be ok. High enough to give you something to build on, but low enough that it doesn’t attract that much attention.

    But top 10? All that does is if you have any hiccups then the haters start yelling ‘over-rated’ and ‘they should have lost.’

  3. Don’t mean to nitpick but you misspelled ranking (as rakning) in the subtitle to the article. I figured since it’s part of the heading I’d bring it up.

    But I always hate when the Irish are ranked that highly in pre-season polls. All that does is bring out the haters and the trolls. 10 to 20 is ok. High enough to give you something to build on, but low enough that it doesn’t attract as much attention.

    When you are ranked that highly, even if you win a game you basically have to blow out an opponent or all the trolls start coming out saying they’re over-rated, they ‘almost lost,’ and all that kind of BS.

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