The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will begin the 2011 Season ranked in the top 25 in both the AP and USA Today/Coaches Poll. Notre Dame is currently ranked 16th in the AP Poll and 18th in the USA Today Coaches Poll. This marks the highest preseason rankings for the Irish since 2006 squad. The Irish have appeared in 50 of the 62 AP preseason polls, most recently in 2009.
Three Notre Dame opponents appear in the 2011 preseason poll: Stanford (#4), Michigan State (#18), and USC (#25). Air Force, Pittsburgh, Michigan, and Maryland also received votes. With more than half of it’s opponents receiving votes in the opening poll, Notre Dame’s 2011 schedule will certainly put the ranked Irish to the test.