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Notre Dame Opens No. 9 In Associated Press Preseason Poll

On Monday afternoon the Associated Press gave Notre Dame its highest preseason ranking in head coach Brian Kelly’s 10 seasons with the Fighting Irish, and the highest for the team in 13 years.

The No. 9 placement to begin the season is the loftiest perch since August 2006, when Notre Dame started at No. 2 in head coach Charlie Weis’ second year. The Irish would finish No. 17 with a 10-3 record.

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Notre Dame has its highest preseason AP poll ranking since 2006, when it started No. 2.
Notre Dame has its highest preseason AP poll ranking since 2006, when it started No. 2. (Mike Miller)

Notre Dame’s 2019 opponents include road games at No. 3 Georgia (Sept. 21), No. 7 Michigan (Oct. 26) and No. 25 Stanford (Nov. 30). Also receiving votes were Virginia (No. 32) Virginia Tech (No. 36) and arch rival USC (No. 46) with one point.

As expected, Clemson and Alabama, who have split the last four national titles between them, were 1-2.

Since its most recent “Golden Age” from 1988-93 when it was 64-9-1 (.872 winning percentage), including 5-1 in major bowls, a national title and two No. 2 finishes, Notre Dame football has not been quite the same, and it can be partly reflected in the AP poll.

In the 25 football seasons from 1994-2018, Notre Dame was ranked 16 times in the AP preseason top 25 — and last year was the first time it finished higher (No. 5) than where it started (No. 12).

Conversely, in the nine other seasons the Fighting Irish were not ranked in the AP preseason top 25 from 1994-2017, they finished in the final rankings five times — including the top 10 in both 2012 (No. 5) and 2005 (No. 9). Those two seasons plus 2019 mark the last three times since 1994 Notre Dame concluded the campaign amongst the top 10.

This year the Irish will attempt to place in the final top 10 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1992 (No. 4) and 1993 (No. 2).

Interestingly, the highest previous preseason ranking under Kelly was No. 10 in 2016 — the year Notre Dame finished 4-8.

Here have been the preseason AP rankings in Kelly’s previous nine seasons:

2010: Unranked

Finished 8-5 and unranked.

2011: No. 16

Finished 8-5 and unranked.

2012: Unranked

Finished 12-1 and No. 4 (the highest since No. 2 in 1993)

2013: No. 14

Finished 9-4 and No. 20.

2014: No. 17

Finished 8-5 and unranked.

2015: No. 11

Finished 10-3 and No. 11

2016: No. 10

Finished 4-8 and unranked

2017: No. 28

Finished 10-3 and No. 11

2018: No. 12

Finished 12-1 and No. 5


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