College Football Rankings: Notre Dame's Climb

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College Football Rankings: Notre Dame's Climb
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish start the 2011-12 season at 16th in the AP Top 25. The team's only ranked preseason opponents on the schedule are Michigan State at 17th, USC at 25th and Stanford at No. 7 in the polls. That's not to say that the other games will be a cake walk.

So how difficult will it be for Notre Dame to rise up the polls? And what are the chances of a BCS bowl appearance?

Taking a look at the road ahead, we'll see just what the Irish will be up against and how it could all pan out.

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