NCAA Releases Updated Preseason Top 25 College Football Rankings With The Notre Dame Fighting Irish In Top 15
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NCAA.com Releases Updated Preseason Top 25 With Notre Dame In Top 15

The weeks following the conclusion of spring football practices have unofficially become a time to drop updated preseason top 25 rankings. “Way-too-early” ones released en masse in the seconds following the national title game earn the upgrade to “early” after digesting 15 practices and the endless minutiae and updates that come from them.

That post-spring time has arrived, and earlier than expected due to the coronavirus pandemic forcing cancelations of practices and campus closures. Some teams got a few practices in. Some got none. Notre Dame had one. Lucky Coastal Carolina somehow completed all 15.

And the polls keep coming.

Ian Book (12) takes a snap during Notre Dame’s 2018 win over Northwestern
Quarterback Ian Book (12) and the Fighting Irish checked in at No. 11 in NCAA.com’s updated rankings. (Bill Panzica)

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NCAA.com’s Wayne Staats released an updated preseason ranking on Friday. Like almost every other 2020 preseason top 25, Notre Dame is in the top-10 conversation and inside the top 15. Staats slotted Notre Dame No. 11, one spot behind Auburn and directly ahead of Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas.

“After a blowout loss to rival Michigan, the Irish quietly won out to go 11-2 one season after making the College Football Playoff,” Staats wrote. “With QB Ian Book’s return, Notre Dame should be potent on offense. And the defense should be strong, though the secondary is the biggest question mark there. The schedule is also tough: vs. Navy in Dublin, vs. Wisconsin at Green Bay, home against Clemson, home against Louisville and at Southern California to end the season.”

Three Notre Dame opponents also appeared in Staats’ top 25: Clemson (No. 1), Wisconsin (No. 16) and USC (No. 19). He broke down each.

Clemson: “This was set regardless of what happened in New Orleans. QB Trevor Lawrence could be the clear Heisman favorite going into 2020, plus he'll get to throw to Justyn Ross. And in big news, RB Travis Etienne, the Tigers' all-time leading rusher, said he's coming back for 2020. There will also be turnover on the offensive line and with losing key defensive standouts, but DC Brent Venables will keep this a powerful unit. The incredible recruiting class will help.”

Wisconsin: “The Badgers and Paul Chryst get the benefit of the doubt here, as RB Jonathan Taylor is going to the NFL and LBs Chris Orr and Zack Baun have finished their college careers. However, save for a rare off year in 2018, Wisconsin has proven to be the Big Ten West’s best. QB Jack Coan (should he hold his job over Graham Mertz) might be asked to do more. The schedule won't be easy, either. The Badgers play Appalachian State, Michigan, Notre Dame and Minnesota in four consecutive weeks.”

USC: “The potential is there. QB Kedon Slovis finished with 3,502 passing yards and brings back a bunch of skill players led by WR Amon-Ra St. Brown. The defense could also be better once the new coordinator is hired. But the truth remains the Trojans have gone 5-7 and 8-5 the past two seasons.”

Full top 25:

1. Clemson

2. Ohio State

3. Alabama

4. LSU

5. Georgia

6. Oregon

7. Oklahoma

8. Penn State

9. Florida

10. Auburn

11. Notre Dame

12. Oklahoma State

13. Texas A&M

14. Texas

15. Michigan

16. Wisconsin

17. North Carolina

18. Minnesota

19. USC

20. UCF

21. Cincinnati

22. Utah

23. Iowa State

24. Iowa

25. Arizona State