Notre Dame Football: Why the Irish Were Not Ranked in the Associated Press Poll
The AP preseason poll was just released, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were not in it. Now, of course, this poll doesn't mean much, as the rankings will change throughout the season. But it's a little odd that the Irish are not considered a Top-25 team heading into the year.
Notre Dame returns seven starters on each side of the ball, and you would think it has enough talent to compete with some of the top teams in the country. The good news is that Brian Kelly's club has many tough opponents on the schedule, which will give his team plenty of opportunities to prove itself to the college football world.
But how did this team not sneak into the Top 25?
Well, there are probably many reasons why. Here are a few of them.
Sloppy Play the Last Two Seasons
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
When Brian Kelly took over for Notre Dame, he was supposed to become the savior of this football program. A team that was struggling mightily to get back into the BCS spotlight and couldn't win a bowl game, the Irish hired Kelly after he had so much success with the Cincinnati program.
In his first two seasons, he has led the Irish to a combined 16-10 record and is 1-1 in bowl games. While that is not exactly what was expected of him, it is the sloppy play that has held this team back more than anything under Kelly.
In the last two years, this team has turned the ball over 53 times. That includes 29 turnovers last season alone, with five of them coming in each of the first two games of the season. Under Kelly, the Irish are 3-8 when they turn the ball over at least three times.
Now, nobody expects to win many games when you cough the ball up so many times, but to have 11 games with at least three turnovers is inexcusable.
It is hard to be considered a Top-25 team when you are not disciplined, but a lot of that has to do with poor quarterback play, which leads us to another reason...
No Answer at QB Yet
Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE
I really like the quarterbacks Notre Dame has on its roster right now.
Andrew Hendrix has the mobility, size and a strong arm to possibly become an NFL prospect if he ever gets the chance to play.
Everett Golson is a dual-threat quarterback and could provide this offense with a playmaker at the position. Like Hendrix, he also has a strong arm and throws a pretty football.
And then, of course, is Gunner Kiel, who was a 5-star recruit in the 2012 class for a reason.
But while there is all of the talent at quarterback, there still isn't a starter who has been named. There also is no guarantee that any of these players will pan out when their name is called.
The Irish have struggled to find consistency at quarterback ever since Jimmy Clausen left the program after the 2009 season.
Nearly every other team in the Top 25 is set at the quarterback position—even Louisville, who just beat out Notre Dame for the 25th spot. If Notre Dame had a proven single-caller leading the way in 2012, this is a team that would have easily cracked the rankings.
Tired of Disappointment
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
If you are not a Notre Dame fan, you hate seeing this team in the rankings due to the lack of success over the years. They have not had a competitive football team under coach Kelly, but seem to receive a pass year in and year out.
Usually, voters try their best to give Notre Dame the benefit of the doubt and will rank them as a top team just based off the name of the program. Maybe after five straight seasons of at least five losses, the voters are now making this team earn its way into the rankings.
But even with that said, the Irish did receive the most votes of any other team that was not ranked. So, with a victory in Week 1 against Navy, that door will open up once again and the Irish will be a ranked team. And then everyone can forget about why they didn't start off that way to begin with.