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Irish at No. 9 in ESPN future rankings

How does Notre Dame fare into the college football picture for the next three years? Pretty well.

The Irish check in at No. 9 on ESPN.com's list of top 25 programs for the next three years. The panel — Brad Edwards, Travis Haney, Brock Huard, Tom Luginbill and Mark Schlabach — ranked teams based on coaching, current talent, recruiting, title path and program power in determining their list.

Notre Dame had an overall score of 78.85 out of 100, with coaching, recruiting and program power being the biggest hallmarks of its future success. (No. 1 Alabama, by comparison, scored a 94.6.)

Schlabach goes on to say that he thinks the Irish are probably better than they showed last year, and probably a little bit worse than they showed in 2012. They will probably be a middle-of-the-pack Top 25 team when this year's preseason rankings are released. But the Irish have stability and are set up for success moving forward, and the five-games-a-year ACC affiliation should help the Irish in both recruiting and in their title path.

And, of course, there's Brian Kelly, a proven winner everywhere he has been.