Irish 24th in preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll

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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