Notre Dame ranked No. 10 in preseason coaches poll

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The hype for the Notre Dame-Clemson matchup on Nov. 7 in South Bend added a little more buzz Thursday.

The preseason release of USA TODAY’s Amway Coaches Poll expectedly put the early stakes high with a No. 1 ranking for Clemson and a No. 10 ranking for Notre Dame.

The Tigers are coming off a 14-1 season with their only loss coming to LSU in the College Football Playoff National Championship. The Irish (11-2) finished the season strong with six straight victories, but they came up short in their biggest games at Georgia and Michigan.

Because the Irish are competing in the ACC with a 10-game conference schedule this season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Clemson and Notre Dame could meet twice with a rematch in the ACC Championship.

Notre Dame’s path to its first conference championship includes only one other preseason ranked team: No. 19 North Carolina. Two of Notre Dame’s previously canceled opponents also made the preseason poll: No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 17 USC.

Notre Dame has been ranked in the preseason coaches poll in every year except for two in head coach Brian Kelly’s tenure: his first season in 2010 and in 2017 coming off a 4-8 season. However, the Irish have finished the season unranked five times under Kelly: 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

In the three seasons since the catastrophic 2016 season, the Irish have finished each season ranked among the top 11 teams. Last year, Notre Dame started the season ranked No. 9 and finished the year at No. 11.

Kelly is one of 65 head coaches serving as a voter for this year’s coaches poll.

Amway Coaches Poll powered by USA TODAY Sports

1. Clemson

2. Ohio State

3. Alabama

4. Georgia

5. LSU

6. Oklahoma

7. Penn State

8. Florida

9. Oregon

10. Notre Dame

11. Auburn

12. Wisconsin

13. Texas A&M

14. Texas

15. Michigan

16. Oklahoma State

17. USC

18. Minnesota

19. North Carolina

20. Utah

21. UCF

22. Cincinnati

23. Iowa

24. Virginia Tech

25. Iowa State

Notre Dame finished the 2019 season with a 11-2 record following a 33-9 win over Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl.
Notre Dame quaterback Ian Book scrambles the last the Irish faced Clemson on Dec. 19, 2018 in the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas. The No. 10 Irish are set to face the No. 1 Tigers on Nov. 7 at Notre Dame Stadium.

There will be a 28-page Notre Dame Football special preview section included in Sunday's South Bend Tribune. It will include season predictions, 20 questions with Brian Kelly, position analysis and much more.