The latest installment of the 2021 AP Poll is out, and Notre Dame football makes a slight move in the right direction, moving to No. 8 overall.
The second AP Poll of the season is officially out, and it has the Irish ranked 8th in the country. This comes after Notre Dame football was ranked 9th in the initial preseason AP Poll, meaning they moved up one spot in the polls following a tight road win over Florida State.
This means that for all the talk that was going on about how Notre Dame football might be exposed against a down Seminoles team, it seems to have been overblown. At the very least, other teams got exposed worse than Notre Dame did.
Notre Dame football ranked No. 8 in the country
That number 8 spot is about where Notre Dame should continue to sit, for the time being. This is a team with some major issues that it needs to work on, particularly on the offensive line and against the run on defense. Still, the Irish won, and you can hardly drop a team after a win.
That’s before you consider that Jack Coan looked great, the wide receivers were better than they’ve been in years, and Kyle Hamilton is still the best defensive back in America. So, no, this isn’t an elite team, but they are a great team that is right to have extremely high expectations after Week 1 for the rest of the year.
Other notable bits of movement for Notre Dame include North Carolina, who fell all the way to 24 after their abysmal start to the season at Virginia Tech. If the Tar Heels don’t turn things around, one of the biggest games on Notre Dame’s schedule is going to be a laugher.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin, who struggled on offense in a loss to Penn State, fell all the way to 18. In either case, both of those games won’t look as challenging as they did before the season. Two of Notre Dame’s future opponents did move up in the poll after big wins. USC and Cincinnati are now 14th and Cincinnati is ahead of Notre Dame at 7th.
That makes these the two premier games of this season, as of right now.
The question with the AP Poll is always going to be with how valuable it is as a tool in the modern game. After all, it’s not even the poll that is currently used to determine who goes to the College Football Playoff. This means that by the end of the season it’s almost irrelevant. However, it is worth pointing out that the ranked wins that come from being ranked in the AP Poll are used by the initial College Football Playoff rankings to determine a top-25.
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It is not debatable the historic relevance of the AP Poll, which used to be the standard way to determine a national champion. If you’re looking into college football’s long history, for most of it the best way to understand the general thought about who was best at the time is through the lens of the AP Poll. That makes it a great tool that should never die.