Yes, someone really believes Notre Dame football isn't a Top 35 team

Most predictions have Notre Dame football in the Top 12 at the very least heading into the 2024 season, except for one analyst who believes SMU is better.
Julie Vennitti Botos / Canton Repository

When it comes to Notre Dame football and expectations for the 2024 season, almost every analyst around the sport agree that the Fighting Irish are among the Top 15 if not Top 10 teams in the country. It seems darn near everyone has them making it to the new 12-team playoffs. And then there's Brandon Marcello.

Tis the season for everyone to put out where they think the Top 25, or Top 30, or Top 35 teams are going to land for 2024. Marcello did the same on Wednesday, though his rankings immediately caught the attention of Notre Dame football fans and media and not for good reasons.

Marcello's rankings looked normal at first glance. There was Ohio State right at the top. Georgia and Oregon near the top of the list as well. There were a few oddiites, like Ole Miss in the number four spot. Some flyers like Nebraska and North Carolina state in the Top 25 and … oh wait.

Notre Dame football was nowhere to be seen. Not in the Top 5. Not in the Top 10. Not in the Top 20. Not in the Top 30. In fact, not only didn't Marcello have the Irish ranked in the Top 30, a follow up post of teams to watch; Auburn, Boise State, Maryland, Texas Tech, UCF, and Wisconsin shows that Marcello doesn't believe the Golden Domers are a Top 35 squad.

Notre Dame football fans getting trolled? Or incompetent analyst?

The first reactions to the ranking were that Marcello must have simply been fishing for interactions on social media. However, that seemed odd since the analyst isn't just some clout chasing account on X. 

Marcello works for 247Sports. It doesn't make a ton of sense for an analyst to beclown himself intentionally. He seemed to make it clear in further tweets that he was beclowing himself accidentally.

"Why no Notre Dame?" Marcello wrote. "Too many new pieces at crucial spots (QBs, WRs). Want to see how they fare against Texas A&M before fully jumping on board. Loved the coaching late last season. I had a very hard time deciphering what to expect and chose to keep them for early summer."

It's here where it's worth pointing out that the Texas A&M Aggies team he thinks will be a good barometer of where Notre Dame football is has had more turnover than the Fighting Irish did. Including a brand new coaching staff. And yet, Marcello has them ranked 17th.

There are also other oddities, if the analyst is sticking to that explanation. LSU is ranked 11th despite losing its offensive coordinator (to Notre Dame) and its Heisman winning quarterback and two starting wide receivers to the 1st round of the NFL Draft. 

Pair that with a defense that was bad in 2023 and a head coach who admitted they didn't do enough to improve it over the offseason. And yet, Marcello has LSU ranked 11th.

Finally, there's USC in these rankings. They lost Caleb Williams. They retooled a bad defense and coming off an 8-5 season with Williams. Oh and they're playing in a much better Big Ten conference. Marcello has them ranked 8th.

What's the moral of this story you ask? Mainly that it's usually better to admit you just forgot to add Notre Dame football into your list, then to make up excuses that only make you look sillier.