A benevolent snub? History kind to preseason unranked Notre Dame teams

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

That Notre Dame fell short of landing in the preseason Amway coaches college football poll may not be such a bad thing — particularly if the Associated Press writers poll follows suit.

In fact, it actually may constitute good news for Irish eighth-year head coach Brian Kelly.

As it stands, the Irish garnered 49 points, tied with Boise State for the 29th-largest total in the coaches rankings, released Thursday. Four ND opponents landed in the Top 25: No. 4. USC, No. 14. Stanford, No. 15. Georgia and No. 18. Miami (Fla.).

Sixty-five coaches make up the electorate this season, but ND’s Kelly is not among them.

National title runner-up Alabama begins the year at No. 1, followed by Ohio State and Florida State. Defending national champ Clemson is No. 5.

Should the AP pollsters agree that the Irish belong outside the top 25, it would mark the eighth time in the 21 seasons that constitute the post-Lou Holtz Era at Notre Dame in which the Irish were snubbed by that poll in the preseason. But of those previous seven AP preseason unranked Irish teams, four of them finished the year in the top 25, including the 2012 squad at No. 4 (No. 3 in the coaches poll).

The AP poll drops Aug. 21.

Conversely, in the 12 times in which the Irish started the season in the top 25 in those post-Holtz years, they have never finished higher in the poll than where they started. And in eight of those seasons ND finished outside the AP Top 25.

Last season was one such season. ND was ninth in the preseason coaches poll, 10th in the AP rankings, and finished 4-8 and without a single vote in either final poll.

Notre Dame opens the season Sept. 2 in renovated/reconfigured Notre Stadium against Temple. The Owls received eight poll points from the coaches.

AMWAY COACHES TOP 25

The Amway coaches poll with first-place votes in parentheses. The panel is chosen by random draw, conference by conference plus independents, from a pool of coaches who have indicated to the American Football Coaches Association their willingness to participate. Each coach submits a Top 25 with a first-place vote worth 25 points, second place 24, and so on down to one point for 25th.

RK TEAM PTS

1. Alabama (49) 1,603

2. Ohio State (5) 1,512

3. Florida St. (4) 1,434

4. USC 1,415

5. Clemson (7) 1,367

6. Penn State 1,257

7. Washington 1,245

8. Oklahoma 1,237

9. Michigan 959

10. Wisconsin 936

11. Oklahoma St. 912

12. LSU 834

13. Auburn 819

14. Stanford 732

15. Georgia 701

16. Florida 681

17. Louisville 676

18. Miami (Fla.) 472

19. Kansas State 339

20. West Virginia 319

21. South Florida 247

22. Virginia Tech 235

23. Texas 193

24. Tennessee 155

25. Utah 109

Others receiving votes: Washington State 99, Colorado 72, TCU 58, Boise State 49, Notre Dame 49, Texas A&M 46, Pittsburgh 45, NC State 39, Oregon 37, Northwestern 25, Nebraska 23, Arkansas 22, Memphis 22, Mississippi State 19, San Diego State 18, Appalachian State 11, BYU 10, Georgia Tech 10, Tulsa 10, Wyoming 9, Western Michigan 8, Temple 8, North Carolina 8, Houston 7, Minnesota 6, Troy 6, Iowa 5, Louisiana Tech 4, Syracuse 3, Arizona 2, UCLA 1, Colorado State 1, Maryland 1, Michigan State 1, Toledo 1, Army 1

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly talks to the Irish players during the first day of fall camp, Tuesday at Culver, Ind. The Irish were not ranked in the coaches preseason poll, released Thursday. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)