Notre Dame entered the preseason USA Today coaches' poll on Thursday at No. 24, marking the third time in the past four years that the Irish have been ranked in the preseason poll.
Five of the Irish's 2012 opponents appear in the poll ahead of them, led by No. 3 USC and No. 4 Oklahoma. Michigan checks in at No. 8, followed by Michigan State (13th) and Stanford (18th).
Brian Kelly is one of the 59 head coaches who is listed as having a vote in the poll. Seven head coaches who will play Notre Dame this season are also listed as having a vote: Lane Kiffin (USC), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Brady Hoke (Michigan), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Al Golden (Miami), Bronco Mendenhall (BYU) and Jim Grobe (Wake Forest).
Since 2002, Notre Dame has appeared in the preseason USA Today coaches' poll five times -- 2003 (18th), 2006 (3rd), 2009 (23rd), 2011 (18th) and 2012 (24th). It has appeared in the final poll three times — 2002 (17th), 2005 (11th) and 2006 (19th).
LSU is No. 1 in this year's preseason poll, edging out No. 2 Alabama and the No. 3 Trojans. The Crimson Tide actually had the most first-place votes -- 20 to the Tigers' 18 and the Trojans' 19 -- but LSU had the most points (1,403).