Despite a thrashing by Alabama in the National Championship, losing Everett Golson, and graduating their defensive leader, Notre Dame found themselves ranked at #11 in the preseason coaches poll. With all that considered, I’ll definitely take this ranking, but more on that later. First, here’s the poll in full:
USA Today Coaches Preseason Poll
|Rank||Team||Record||Points||First Place Votes||Previous Rank|
Schools Dropped Out
No. 11 Kansas State (11-2), No. 17 Utah State (11-2), No. 20 Vanderbilt (9-4), No. 21 San Jose State (11-2), No. 22 Cincinnati (10-3), No. 24 Northern Illinois (12-2), No. 25 Tulsa (11-3)
Others Receiving Votes
Kansas State (11-2) 113; Miami (Fla.) 101; Michigan State 89; Baylor 80; Virginia Tech 65; Fresno State 62; Arizona State 51; Mississippi 32; Vanderbilt (9-4) 29; Utah State (11-2) 23; Brigham Young 20; North Carolina 19; Northern Illinois (12-2) 19; Tulsa (11-3) 9; Ohio 8; San Jose State (11-2) 8; Arizona 5; Cincinnati (10-3) 3; East Carolina 3; Kent State 3; Mississippi State 3; Washington 3; Central Florida 2; Arkansas 1; Arkansas State 1; Rutgers 1; Tennessee 1; Toledo 1.
As I said to start, I’ll gladly take the #11 ranking for Notre Dame. While I’m sure a lot of the focus will be on teeth-gnashing as to why certain teams are ranked above us, the reality is that this rank is a solid position for the Irish.
The reason is simple. The preseason polls can greatly affect the BCS standings. It is much harder to climb up the rankings than to drop during a season. While no one in South Bend will say anything beyond a return to the title game, a much more realistic outcome this season is shooting for a BCS berth. #11 puts the Irish right in that mix as a rank of #8 or higher will secure an automatic BCS bid.
If the Irish do happen to catch lightning in a bottle again though, #11 does put them right in striking distance for a title bid as well. Most of the teams above them are from the SEC and they will start knocking each other out. Oregon and Stanford will eventually end up in a collision course as well. As far as Clemson and Louisville go, Clemson just has too long a history of falling on their faces so I expect them to fall and Louisville will likely fall victim to their weaker schedule by the computers.
That leaves Ohio State as the clear cut favorite at the top and the one that could through a monkey wrench into any title pipe dream. They have an easier path to go undefeated, a talented QB in Braxton Miller, and then there is that Urban Meyer guy that does pretty good at the coaching thing whether we like to admit it or not.
Considering that I think we aren’t in a world where the SEC champ doesn’t go to the title game, that will create quite the glass ceiling for everyone else.
Some other quick-hits that I have from the poll:
- I’m chuckling at the Aggies having one first place vote. WHERE COULD THAT HAVE COME FROM?!
- Despite the weak schedule, I’m still interested in Louisville. They will be underrated due to that mess, despite their talent. Just ask Florida how good Teddy Bridgewater is.
- Most overrated? Give me Texas. Of all the teams on the poll, I predict they take the fastest dive out.
- Southern Cal at #24 cracks me up. That’s the ranking of “yeah, we know you have talent, but holy crap have you been awful.” ND has been in that position for too long so I’m glad the Trojans took over the job.
- All the SEC teams in the top ten — look, it’s just the way it is. Those teams are good and the SEC is still held in high regard. It’ll even itself out soon enough.