Aug 1, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT
After a surprising twelve win season, Notre Dame will open up 2013 ranked 11th in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll. Defending national champion Alabama is ranked first, capturing all be three of the first place votes, and Ohio State is ranked second.
The Irish will face four preseason ranked opponents this season, with Stanford setting the bar at fourth in the opening poll. Other ranked opponents include Oklahoma (16th), Michigan (17th), and USC (24th). Opponents receiving votes included Michigan State, Arizona State, and BYU.
Notre Dame is ranked outside the top ten despite returning 15 starters from a one-loss season. The only other one loss team in the poll is Oregon, ranked No. 3. The seven slots between the Ducks and the Irish are filled with two loss teams, starting with a Stanford squad the Irish beat in overtime.
The Irish opened last season 24th before finishing the year ranked No. 3 in the Coaches Poll. This is the highest preseason ranking for Notre Dame since 2006, when a Brady Quinn led Irish squad opened the season at No. 3.
The AP preseason poll will be released on August 17.