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Irish 24th in preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll

Aug 2, 2012, 2:50 PM EDT

Kelly tunnel

Notre Dame finds itself ranked 24th in the preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Irish slot in between SEC teams Florida (No. 23) and Auburn (No.25) and gathered 166 points in voting. LSU, Alabama, and USC are the top-three teams, with the Tigers garnering 18 first place votes, two less than the defending champs (20) and one less that the Trojans’ 19 first place votes.

Any validation the Irish’s daunting 2012 schedule needs seems to be found within this poll. The Irish play No. 3 (USC), No. 4 (Oklahoma), No. 8 (Michigan), No. 13 (Michigan State), No. 18 (Stanford), while also facing returning 10-win team Brigham Young, an improved Purdue team, not to mention teams like Miami, Pitt, Boston College, Navy and Wake Forest.

Seven SEC teams are ranked, including five of the top ten. The new Big 12 also has six teams in the rankings. Four Big Ten teams are ranked, while the ACC and Pac-12 had three each.

Here is the Top 25 in its entirety:

1 LSU (18) 0-0 1403 2
2 Alabama (20) 0-0 1399 1
3 USC (19) 0-0 1388 NR
4 Oklahoma 0-0 1276 15
5 Oregon 0-0 1258 4
6 Georgia 0-0 1061 20
7 Florida State 0-0 1055 23
8 Michigan 0-0 1023 9
9 South Carolina 0-0 981 8
10 Arkansas 0-0 948 5
11 West Virginia 0-0 833 18
12 Wisconsin 0-0 743 11
13 Michigan State 0-0 717 10
14 Clemson 0-0 598 22
15 Texas 0-0 549 NR
16 Nebraska 0-0 501 24
17 TCU 0-0 499 13
18 Stanford 0-0 497 7
19 Oklahoma State 0-0 476 3
20 Virginia Tech 0-0 461 17
21 Kansas State 0-0 398 16
22 Boise State 0-0 271 6
23 Florida 0-0 250 NR
24 Notre Dame 0-0 166 NR
25 Auburn 0-0 66 NR
  1. mattnef - Aug 2, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    How does Auburn feel today being behind a team with no starting QB and a suspect group of WRs and DBs? That has to hurt a little.
    Don’t get me wrong. I think Golson is going to work out with the potential for greatness, I think the WRs will be serviceable with the potential to be good, and I think the CBs will not completely fall on their face. But with all these question marks and the RIDICULOUS schedule, it would be nice to fly a bit under the radar (not that Notre Dame could ever fly that much below the radar). Hard to believe a potentially dynamic run game, awesome TE, and a solid front 7 can make the #24 team in the country.

  2. jimbasil - Aug 2, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    QB and Secondary! If ND can manage decent production out of these two positions and manage to have decent Special Teams play they might (knowing the tough schedule) retain a top 25 position for the season with a possible 10 and 2 or – 9 and 3 conclusion. If one of those spots performs well below reasonable expectations, this will be all they get in the rankings.

  3. bernhtp - Aug 2, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    I think the ranking is about right. If the QB and CB positions don’t coalesce, the schedule will kill us and we won’t have anything resembling a ranking at the end. If a few kids really step up, there will be tremendous upside for this team leading to some signature wins and even a top-ten rank by the end.

    While it would be nice to be more under the radar, a pre-season ranking allows you to move up further and faster if you perform well.

  4. bearcatirishfan - Aug 2, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    I personally don’t like it, this team has done nothing to justify this ranking, I think it makes the athletes work harder if they have to earn it. I know that this helps sell early season tickets and tv rankings, but really this is not justified by last years results.

    • jimbasil - Aug 2, 2012 at 5:41 PM

      Thank you Debbie D!

    • kleinick - Aug 2, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      I agree. I wish we weren’t ranked. You guys could probably fact check me on this, but I feel like we always sneak in the top 25 no matter how bad we are. (not saying we are bad this year)

      WE ARE 1 MONTH OUT……

  5. runners00 - Aug 2, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Can we hold onto the football? That is the issue. I don’t care who is quarterbacking. If we retained the football in 2011, we would have won ten games. No one moans about a ten-win season. So, if we hold onto the football, I think we can win ten games in 2012. I think we have a good running game. We have a very powerful defense. We have some decent receivers and we’ll figure out the quarterback position.

    But it’s very hard to win if we put the ball on the ground. The teams — the schedule is just brutal.

    • bodonnell1120 - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:12 PM


    • nudeman - Aug 2, 2012 at 7:13 PM

      Agree 1 million %.
      If Rees just turned it over 10 times (still too much) the season turns out much differently

      One other thing:
      Can anyone tell me where ND was preseason rated in 2011? Or maybe 2010?
      Of course not.

      Preseason rankings are meaningless
      All that matters is winning.

      • dmac4real - Aug 2, 2012 at 10:08 PM

        2011- 16th
        2010- unranked
        2009- around 23rd

        Did that without looking it up

        Also, 10 is not to much. Andrew Luck threw 10 picks last year. Id be real happy in Golson/ Hendrix/ Rees only had 10 picks this year

        But yes, presason rankings are meaningless, and all that matters is winning.

      • jrct2450yahoo - Aug 3, 2012 at 3:45 PM

        Agree with the comments relative to rankings but may I remind you all that this tean doesn’t have a proven QB. (All it has is an unproven one). With their schedule, 7 and 5…..And yes, I would love to have to eat these words at seasons end……

  6. bearcatirishfan - Aug 2, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    That’s Debbie double dd to you sir!

    Right about that nude, wht ever happened to the idea of not ranking teams until week 6 or 8?

  7. joeschu - Aug 3, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Given that the “rankings” have a significant impact on who is designated to play in the “championship” game, I believe these pre-season polls need to be banned. There’s no way you can know what a team is going to do before camps even open, and you set an artificial bar for teams to have to “jump” one another based on this arbitrary first rating. Week 4-5 seems much more appropriate for this.

    Anyone else think that 8 is REALLY high for Michigan? How fun could it be to send them tumbling down the list?

    • ibleedirish - Aug 3, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      Agree. Michigan is WAY overrated and was last year too. Their 2011 schedule was weak with most tough games at home. They got absolutely destroyed by the same MSU team that we beat and won some games they had no business winning. Here’s the thing though: that’s what having a dynamic playmaker at QB does for you. It gives you a chance to exceed expectations. With a one dimensional QB it makes everything easier for the opposing team. With Rees, we more or less won games that we were supposed to. Here’s hoping we can begin to win games that we might not have been in otherwise.

  8. smurphdoggy29 - Aug 3, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Daunting schedule ? Yes
    Filled with tough teams ? Yes
    Tough for the Irish to overcome ? Possibly, time will tell…

    BUT (there’s always a but isn’t there ?)

    Doesn’t there always seem to be a team coming from the fringes (under the radar if you will) that plows right through and is still standing at the end ?
    (Auburn seemingly has a knack for this actually)

    So where did all those Irish faithful go who look across this “daunting” schedule and think, hmmm, we have beaten all these teams before in one circumstance or another. Also haven’t teams prepared to face their opponents leading up to the game.

    So why wonder if we “can” finish at 8 or 9 wins in a sort of trepidation ? Looking at the schedule I feel they can win all of those games, but what does it come down to ?

    Production. They get out of it what they put in week to week. They prepare properly leading in and produce on gameday, they win. Simple. None of those teams in that ranking are unbeatable. Just don’t beat yourselves even before you play them.

    One thing boggles my mind though. How is USC so highly regarded ? They do have talent, but did they not suffer beatings in the PAC 7000 last year with essentially the same group ? Is Matt Barkley that good he gets them to that ranking ?

    I have a hard time believing that USC is that….oh wait that is right ! The NCAA needs the cash cow to keep producing, sorry my fault. Cheat on !

    GO Irish !

    See you in Dublin !

  9. mtflsmitty - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Unproven QB….Think Tony Rice.

  10. irishdodger - Aug 3, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    QB will work itself out. I can’t fathom Hendrix &/or Golson accounting for 14 turnovers. I’m more concerned w/ the defensive backfield, specifically CB. It doesn’t help going against some of the most prolific offenses in the nation.

    Bama one it all last year w/ a 1st yr stating QB. Auburn did it the year before. I think McElroy was a 1st year starter when Bama won in ’09. Hell, just give me a Kevin McDougal-type performance & I’ll be happy,

  11. smurphdoggy29 - Aug 4, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Who’s got the comparisons to the storied past in regards to where the team was ranked heading into the season and eventually wound up as champions/ranked top five ?

  12. runners00 - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    I’m not worried about an unproven quarterback. The college game is just so different. What a successful team needs is a strong defense — which we have — and a very potent offensive line (which we’re working on). And, then you have to take care of the football. If we perform on offense — if we take care if the effing football — I like our chances. We have a strong defense that tackles well and does a decent job of keeping games close. And we have a good running game.

    The question is whether 2012 is the start of something huge. That is how we have to look at it. We’ve been out of the national title/big bowl matchups pretty much since I was in college in the early 1990s. When we got into the BCS since that time, it was because we squeaked out some tough late-season wins (after losing early). This year, what we need is to simply play to our capability and we’ll win a lot of games. We have speed and skill on both sides of the football. We should be able to win ten games.

    That said: I hold no hopes for a national championship season. Shoot, we’ve been a nightmare for most of the last decade. Most title contenders don’t stumble upon their success. It’s gradual. If we start this year by building — getting some key wins against Michigan, Oklahoma, Miami etc. — the coming decade will be nice. But we have to start. . . . Now.

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