Notre Dame ranked No. 10 in preseason Associated Press poll

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Heavy roster churn, with just eight starters returning from 2015, didn’t keep the Notre Dame football team from a lofty preseason ranking.

ND’s No. 10 position in the preseason Associated Press top 25 poll, released Sunday, is one spot higher than last year and its highest preseason projection since debuting at No. 2 in the 2006 AP preseason rankings,

Three of Notre Dame's 2016 opponents made the list: Stanford (No. 8), Michigan State (No. 12) and USC (No. 19). Florida nudged Irish opponent Miami out for the 25th spot, with the Hurricanes landing as the top unranked team receiving votes.

Texas, ND’s season-opening opponent Sept. 4 at Austin, Texas, picked up 12 points in the voting.

Defending national champion Alabama checked in at No. 1 and will try to become the first preseason No. 1 team to win a national title since USC accomplished the feat in 2004.

A little history, in the AP preseason rankings, Notre Dame has now been ranked 13 times in the 20 seasons that followed the end of the Lou Holtz Coaching Era.

In the 12 previous times ND started the season in the top 25 in those years, the Irish have never finished higher in the poll than where they started, and in nine of those seasons ND finished outside the top 25 — albeit just barely in 2014.

The Irish almost broke that streak last season, matching their preseason poll position with a final No. 11 rating.

Conversely, of the seven times ND was snubbed in the preseason AP Top 25, the Irish finished in the top 25 four of those times.

That included a No. 4 showing in the finals polls after the 2012 season. The Irish finished No. 3 in the coaches poll that year.

The Irish were ranked ninth in the Amway Coaches poll, released earlier this month.

The AP ballots had to be submitted the first week in August, so Saturday’s news of six ND players being arrested in two separate incidents over the weekend wasn’t something that the voters even considered.

Senior safety Max Redfield was the only projected starter among the six, and he was dismissed from the team Sunday afternoon. That reduced ND's overall total to seven of players who started at least half of the team's games last season.

njured backup cornerback Devin Butler, also among the six arrested, was indefinitely suspended by ND head coach Brian Kelly on Sunday.

The full AP Poll is listed below:

1 Alabama(33) 0-0 1469

2 Clemson(16) 0-0 1443

3 Oklahoma(4) 0-0 1352

4 Florida State(5) 0-0 1325

5 LSU(1) 0-0 1269

6 Ohio State(1) 0-0 1224

7 Michigan(1) 0-0 1147

8 Stanford 0-0 1029

9 Tennessee 0-0 1021

10 Notre Dame 0-0 1006

11 Ole Miss 0-0 718

12 Michigan State 0-0 710

13 TCU 0-0 707

14 Washington 0-0 651

15 Houston 0-0 644

16 UCLA 0-0 496

17 Iowa 0-0 484

18 Georgia 0-0 448

19 Louisville 0-0 447

20 USC 0-0 344

21 Oklahoma State 0-0 316

22 North Carolina 0-0 283

23 Baylor 0-0 280

24 Oregon 0-0 218

25 Florida 0-0 180

Others receiving votes: Miami 159, Texas A&M 81, Utah 74, Washington State 68, Boise State 49, San Diego State 46, Wisconsin 42, Auburn 22, Pittsburgh 15, Arkansas 14, Texas 12, Nebraska 11, Navy 8, Northwestern 5, Western Kentucky 4, South Florida 2, Toledo 2

Quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) runs during practice on Notre Dame Football Media Day Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, at LaBar Practice Field on the Notre Dame campus in South Bend. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN

Here's the preseason ballot of AP voter and Notre Dame football beat writer Eric Hansen:

1. Clemson

2. Alabama

3. LSU

4. Oklahoma

5. Ohio State

6. Stanford

7. Florida State

8. Georgia

9. Notre Dame

10. Michigan

11. Houston

12. UCLA

13. Tennessee

14. Michigan State

15. Washington

16. TCU

17. Louisville

18. Ole Miss

19. USC

20. Miami (Fla.)

21. Oklahoma State

22. Utah

23. Boise State

24. South Florida

25. Nebraska