Notre Dame football 'way too early' rankings show playoff contention

ESPN believes that Notre Dame football is going to be among the top teams in the country and that should mean title contention.

Notre Dame's Jeremiyah Love (12) at the 90th Sun Bowl game against Oregon State
Notre Dame's Jeremiyah Love (12) at the 90th Sun Bowl game against Oregon State / GABY VELASQUEZ/ EL PASO TIMES / USA
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While the 2023 season didn’t go anywhere near what Notre Dame footbal faithful had hoped, it looks as though 2024 could make up for that. It definitely will if some of the “way too early” rankings released by ESPN can be believed.

Those rankings show that Marcus Freeman and his revamped Fighting Irish roster will be among the country's best. The site’s updated rankings have Notre Dame starting the season ranked 5th, which means they’re going to kick things off as playoff and National Title contenders.

“The Fighting Irish weren't bad in coach Marcus Freeman's first two seasons, winning 19 games,” wrote Mark Schlabach.  “But it's time for them to turn the corner, and Freeman has laid the groundwork by adding former Duke quarterback Riley Leonard and bringing back offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock, who directed LSU's high-flying offense in 2023.”

Schlabach also pointed out that Notre Dame football added transfer receivers Kris Mitchell (Florida International) and Beaux Collins (Clemson). If there is a reason why Notre Dame might not rise to the heights that ESPN has predicted, it will be because both starting offensive tackles from 2023 are now trying to make their way in the NFL.

It’s worth pointing out that Freeman’s squad seems to have more believers than it did in ESPN’s first “way too early” rankings as they were ranked 10th previously. 

Notre Dame football 'way too early' rankings show playoff contention

Schlabach believes only Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon and Texas are ranked ahead of the Fighting Irish. Normally, that would mean that the Golden Domers just miss the playoff field, however with 12 teams getting in this year and some question of just how that will shake out, it certainly appears Notre Dame would be in.

Notre Dame football will have three opportunities to really show how good they are as the schedule isn’t particularly tough. Florida State (15th), Louisville (21st) and Texas A&M (25th) are all in the way too early Top 25.