Notre Dame comes in at No. 10 in undiluted AP Preseason Top 25

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

The preseason version of the 85th Associated Press college football poll, released Monday, is a mirage of sorts.

The lofty expectations that go along with Notre Dame’s No. 10 ranking, though, are real — that is as long as a 2020 season actually unfolds for the Irish.

As of Monday, Notre Dame and 75 other FBS schools continue to creep toward a fall season. The AP asked its 62 voters to also include the 54 teams that have deferred to the spring over COVID-19 concerns on their preseason ballots, to help provide a picture of what might have been.

In subsequent polls, voters will only consider the teams that are actually participating in fall football.


Similarly, the AP preseason All-America team — set for a Tuesday release — includes both players that opted out individually and players on teams not playing in the fall for an undiluted snapshot of who were expected to be the nation’s top players.

The Irish were ranked No. 10 in the coaches poll, released on Aug. 6.

Nineteen days before its scheduled Sept. 12 opener with visiting Duke, Notre Dame garnered an AP preseason top 10 ranking in consecutive seasons for the first time since Lou Holtz’s final eight teams as Irish head coach (1989-96) accomplished the feat.

The Irish were No. 9 in last year’s AP preseason rankings, the second-highest preseason poll position in the post-Holtz Era behind only then-coach Charlie Weis’ 2006 Irish. ND started that season at No. 2.

College Football Playoff runner-up Clemson tops the 2020 preseason poll. If the Tigers hold that ranking through Nov. 7, they’ll be only the second top 10 team at the time of the game to visit Notre Dame Stadium in the Brian Kelly Era (2010-present), joining No. 7 Stanford in 2018.

It would also mark the 26th time in history — and the first since 2005 vs. USC — that the Irish faced an AP top-ranked team — home, away or at a neutral site.

The only other Irish opponent in the preseason top 25 is North Carolina, at No. 18.

From ND’s original schedule Wisconsin checked in at No. 12 and USC at No. 17.

Notre Dame returned to practice Saturday and Sunday after a three-day hiatus in part due to COVID-19 outbreaks among the general student population last week that prompted university president Rev. John Jenkins to shift in-person classes to remote learning until at least Sept. 2.

The Notre Dame coronavirus dashboard, updated Monday at noon, showed 30 new cases in 359 positive tests from Sunday for a positivity rare of 8.4%. The cumulative numbers since the return of the general student population of Aug. 3 are 448 cases in 3,222 tests for a 13.9% positivity rate.

The dashboard now features some additional details. All but 18 of the 448 cases are undergraduates. Seventeen grad students and one employee have also tested positive. 

Junior nose guard Ja’Mion Franklin (55) runs a drill during Notre Dame’s Sunday practice session at the LaBar Practice Complex.

Here's ND Insider Eric Hansen's preseason ballot for the AP Top 25. Teams in italics are not among those attempting to play a fall schedule and won't appear in subsequent polls.

1. Clemson

2. Ohio State

3. Alabama

4. Auburn

5. Oklahoma

6. Notre Dame

7. Georgia

8. Oregon

9. LSU

10. Texas

11. Penn State

12. North Carolina

13. Wisconsin

14. Florida

15. Cincinnati

16, Michigan

17. Utah

18. Iowa State

19. Texas A&M

20. USC

21. Oklahoma State

22. Iowa

23. Tennessee

24. Louisville

25. Boise State