Notre Dame has some work to do to catch up to the team that defeated the Irish in last season’s BCS championship game, Alabama, in the eyes of the voters for the Associated Press Top 25.
Notre Dame is ranked No. 14 in the AP preseason college poll, which was released Saturday. Alabama, which defeated the Irish 42-14 in the title game Jan. 7, enters the season as the top ranked team.
The Irish finished last season ranked No. 4 in the AP poll after going 12-1.
Notre Dame enters this year without last year’s starting quarterback Everett Golson, who was suspended for the semester because of an academic issue. The Irish will turn to Tommy Rees, who started every game but the opener in 2011, to try to lead the team back to the championship game.
Notre Dame will face four teams in the preseason Top 25, with its highest ranked opponent being No. 4 Stanford. The Irish face the Cardinal in season finale on Nov. 30 at Stanford.
The Irish’s first game against a ranked opponent will come in the second week of the season when they travel to play No. 17 Michigan at 8 p.m. Sept. 7.
Notre Dame’s other games against ranked opponents are at home. The Irish play No. 16 Oklahoma at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 28 and No. 24 USCE at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19. The Irish open the season Aug. 31 at home against Temple.