SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame football begins its 2019 journey matching the highest preseason poll position in the Amway coaches poll during head coach Brian Kelly’s 10 seasons at ND.
The ninth-ranked Irish, who open the season Sept. 2 at unranked Louisville, face three teams in the inaugural coaches poll of 2019 — No. 3 Georgia, No. 7 Michigan and No. 23 Stanford — all on the road.
Five other Irish opponents garnered votes — Virginia Tech, USC, Virginia, Duke and Boston College. The Associated Press writers preseason poll comes out Aug. 19 at noon EDT.
Defending national champion Clemson and runner-up Alabama went 1-2 in the coaches poll. The Tigers garnered 59 of the 65 first-place votes, with Alabama collecting the other six.
Florida finished a mere three poll points ahead of the Irish (1,103 to 1,100), at No. 8.
Kelly is not a member of the 65-man panel of voters, having given up his ballot after the 2016 season to rid himself of that time commitment. The Irish finished 4-8 that year.
That’s also the season Notre Dame was ranked No. 9 in the preseason coaches poll, establishing a Kelly Era high. The last time ND began the season ranked higher than ninth was 2006, when Charlie Weis’ second Irish team was the preseason No. 3 team in the coaches poll.
The Irish were No. 11 in the 2018 preseason coaches poll and finished No. 5 in both polls after a 30-3 loss to Clemson, Dec. 29 in a College Football Playoff semifinal.
Kelly meets with the media en masse Friday for the first time since mid-April. The Irish open training camp off campus Sunday in Culver, Ind.
AMWAY COACHES PRESEASON POLL