{{ timeAgo('2020-01-14 08:44:44 -0600') }} football Edit

Notre Dame Places No. 12 In Final Associated Press Poll

Eleven victories during a college football season don’t mean what they used to, or at least not at Notre Dame.

The 2019 Fighting Irish finished No. 12 in the Associated Press poll despite an 11-2 ledger.

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Three straight AP Top 12 finishes are the first at Notre Dame since 1988-90.
Three straight AP Top 12 finishes are the first at Notre Dame since 1988-90. (Andris Visockis)

Four other schools with the same 11-2 record finished ahead of Notre Dame — Florida (6), Alabama (8), Penn State (9) and Minnesota (10) — while a fifth, Wisconsin, was No. 11 with an 10-4 mark, with two losses to No. 3 Ohio State taken into account.

Despite winning their final five games by 31, 32 (versus No. 20 finisher Navy), 33, 21 and 24 points, the latter in the 33-9 Camping World Bowl victory versus Iowa State, head coach Brian Kelly’s 10th edition at the school saw minimal movement in the poll following the 45-14 meltdown at Michigan on Oct. 26.

That setback dropped the Fighting Irish from No. 8 to No. 16 in the AP, and six straight wins thereafter — the longest winning streak by Notre Dame to end a season since the seven in a row in 1992 — elevated them only four spots since then.

Two likely factors contributed to this lack of movement.

One, it didn’t help that three of the other 11-2 teams (Alabama, Penn State and Michigan) all defeated the Wolverines.

Two, the lack of marquee victories during the season, plus playing a 7-5 Iowa State team in the bowl, created a “meh” factor.

The 11-2 Minnesota team finished in the AP Top 10 for the first time since 1962 (and third time overall in the Top 25 since then) on the strength of defeating teams that finished No. 10 (Penn State) and No. 14 (Auburn), the latter in a bowl.

For the second time in five years, Notre Dame’s lone victory against a final Top 25 team came against Navy.

The 2015 Irish team that finished 10-3 and No. 11 recorded its sole win against a final AP Top 25 team versus No. 19 and 11-2 Navy at home (41-24). This year it was versus the No. 20 and 11-2 Midshipmen (52-20), again at home.

This is in contrast to defeating four teams in the final Top 25 in 2017 and three in 2018.

In the “also receiving votes” category, Notre Dame won at home versus No. 29 Virginia (35-20) and No. 30 USC (30-27), both of which finished with five defeats.

Some other data include:


1. This was the fourth time Notre Dame finished with 11 wins

The first two were in 1973 (11-0) and 1977 (11-1) — both resulting in national titles.

The third was in 1993 (11-1), a No. 2 outcome despite defeating No. 1 Florida State (31-24) in November.


2. Since the start of the AP poll in 1936, this was the fourth time a two-loss Notre Dame (not including ties) team did not place in the Top 10.

Head coach Elmer Layden’s 1939 and 1940 units, his last two at Notre Dame, finished No. 13 and unranked following back-to-back 7-2 campaigns.

Head coach Ara Parseghian’s 1971 team that finished 8-2 and voted to not go to a bowl game came in at No. 13, the first time in his eight seasons with the Irish they finished outside the Top 10.

His 8-2, 7-2-1 and 8-2-1 teams from 1967-69 all finished No. 5.


3. The No. 12 finish is the second for Notre Dame in the AP’s history.

The other occurred in 1976 with a 9-3 outcome following a 20-9 victory versus Penn State in the Gator Bowl. Notre Dame went on to capture the national title the next season (hint, hint).


4. The No. 12 finish is the seventh highest for the Irish in the last 26 years, or since 1994.

Notre Dame placed in the Top 10 in 2005 (9), 2012 (4) and 2018 (5). It also was No. 11 in 1995, 2015 and 2017.

The Fighting Irish still have not had consecutive AP Top 10 finishes since 1992 (No. 4) and 1993 (No. 2).

However, the three straight Top 12 placements are a first since 1988 (No. 1), 1989 (No. 2) and 1990 (No. 6). The 10-3 team in 1991 placed 13th.


5. In the AP poll’s 84-year history, this is the 41st time the Irish placed 12th or higher.

The eight national titles, with the most recent in 1988, are the highlight, with five other No. 2 placements.

The final 2019 AP poll:

1. LSU (15-0) — 1,550 total points

2. Clemson (14-1) —1,487

3. Ohio State (13-1) — 1,426

4. Georgia (12-2) —1,336

5. Oregon (12-2)— 1,249

6. Florida (11-2) — 1,211

7. Oklahoma (12-2) — 1,179

8. Alabama (11-2) —1,159

9. Penn State (11-2) — 1,038

10. Minnesota (11-2) — 952

11. Wisconsin (10-4) — 883

12. Notre Dame (11-2) — 879

13. Baylor (11-3) — 827

14. Auburn (9-4) — 726

15. Iowa (10-3) — 699

16. Utah (11-3) — 543

17. Memphis (12-2) — 528

18. Michigan (9-4) — 468

19. Appalachian State (13-1) — 466

20. Navy (11-2) — 415

21. Cincinnati (11-3) — 343

22. Air Force (11-2) — 209

23. Boise State (12-2) — 188

24. UCF (10-3) — 78

25. Texas (8-5) — 69

Italics indicate 2019 Notre Dame opponent.

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