The Notre Dame Fighting Irish opened up at #17 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Notre Dame opens with their third highest ranking under Brian Kelly. Of course, during their most successful season under Kelly, the Irish opened up unranked.
Several Notre Dame opponents find themselves in the Top 25 as well. The Florida State Seminoles rank as the top team in the country. The Seminoles are the defending national champion. They also return the defending Heisman Trophy Winner Jameis Winston.
The Stanford Cardinal also appear in the poll as the 11th team. The Cardinal won 11 games in the 2013 season.
Arch-rival USC enters the 2014 season two slots ahead of Notre Dame at 15th. The Trojans won 10 games last year.
Arizona State falls one spot behind the Irish at 18th. The Sun Devils won double-digits and made their way to the Pac-12 Championship game.
The final Notre Dame opponent in the poll, North Carolina, landed at 23rd.The Tar Heels only won 7 games in 2013. However, they closed the season with 6 victories.
Three other Notre Dame opponents were in the other receiving votes: Michigan, Louisville and Northwestern.
Eight of Notre Dame’s twelve opponents are in the top half of college football. On paper, this is one of the toughest schedules for Notre Dame.