Notre Dame's surge to close last season wasn't enough to land it on any final polls.
But a four-game winning streak, capped by a 33-17 blowout of Miami in the Sun Bowl, was enough for the Irish to find a place in a preseason poll.
Notre Dame was ranked 18th in the USA Today coaches poll that was released Thursday. Oklahoma was ranked No. 1, receiving 42 of 59 first-place votes to easily outpoint No. 2 Alabama, which received 13 first-place votes.
The Irish, who finished 8-5 in coach Brian Kelly's first season, returns 16 starters from last year's bowl game, and that number doesn't include quarterback Dayne Crist – who started nine games before a season ending knee injury and running back Cierre Wood.
Notre Dame will play two opponents in the preseason poll, traveling to play No. 6 Stanford on Nov. 26 and playing host to No. 17 Michigan State on Sept. 17.
The Irish also play four opponents who received votes in the preseason poll, playing Michigan at Ann Arbor on Sept. 10, Air Force at home Oct. 8, South Florida in the season opener at home Sept. 3 and Pittsburgh on the road Sept. 24.