Notre Dame Football: Irish finish 20th in final AP poll

South Bend Tribune

Roughly three hours after Florida State was crowned college football’s national champion in the 16th and final season of the BCS Era, Notre Dame finally got to see where it stood in the finally pecking order.

The Irish (9-4) concluded their season on Dec. 28 with a gutsy-but-unaesthetic 29-16 victory over unranked Rutgers in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York. That, along with attrition by some teams ahead of the Irish in the Associated Press Top 25, lifted ND five spots to a final ranking of No. 20.

Notre Dame was the No. 14 team in the preseason poll. 

ND ended up No. 24 in the final USA Today coaches poll. The entire polls can be found here:

The Irish ended up playing five teams in the final AP Top 25 – defeating No. 3 Michigan State, No. 21 Arizona State and No.19 USC, while losing to sixth-ranked Oklahoma and 11th-ranked Stanford.

Meanwhile, the Irish checked in at No. 23 in ESPN college football writer Mark Schlabach’s “Way-Too-Early Top 25” for 2014. Notre Dame plays five teams ranked ahead of it in Schlabach’s projection, including the now reigning national champ, Florida State, on the road next season.

The other projected top 25 opponents for the Irish next season are No. 4 Stanford, No. 14 USC, No. 17 North Carolina and No. 22. Arizona State.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, here celebrating ND's Pinstripe Bowl victory on Dec. 28, will have to navigate a 2014 schedule that will include newly crowned national champion Florida State.