Notre Dame lands at No. 9 in ESPN's early top 25 rankings
No Jaylon Smith. No Ronnie Stanley. No Will Fuller. No C.J. Prosise. No Nick Martin. No KeiVarae Russell.
In his seventh season as Notre Dame's head coach, Brian Kelly has proved that he can develop and replace talent in South Bend, and ESPN acknowledged that trend on Tuesday. Mark Schlabach ranked the Irish No. 9 in his latest way-too-early top-25 poll, despite the fact that Notre Dame will replace 13 starters in 2016.
Four of Notre Dame's 2016 opponents — No. 8 Stanford, No. 12 USC, No. 16 Michigan State and No. 24 Miami — also appeared in ESPN's rankings. Schlabach's predicted playoff consisted of No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Florida State.
What do you think of Notre Dame's positioning in ESPN's rankings? Too high? Too low? Just right? Let us know in the comments.