The Notre Dame Fighting Irish started the 2017 season unranked, but did enough to end the season as the #11 team in the country according to the AP voters.
The Irish ended their season with a thrilling 21-17 Citrus Bowl win over the LSU Tigers to help them climb three spots in the final poll.
Notre Dame played seven teams that finished inside the top 25 this season:
- Georgia Bulldogs (2)
- USC Trojans (12)
- Stanford Cardinal (20)
- Miami-Florida Hurricanes (13)
- Michigan State Spartans (15)
- LSU Tigers (18)
- N.C. State Wolfpack (23)
Only the Georgia Bulldogs, a team that Notre Dame lost to at home 20-19, finished higher than the Irish in the final poll. The Bulldogs lost in an amazing national championship game to the Alabama Crimson Tide in overtime.
The Irish went 4-3 against those opponents in the top 25.
Notre Dame is only scheduled to face four opponents in 2018 that finished in the top 25 this season:
While this is the exact final ranking (and record) that Notre Dame ended the 2015 season with, it very much feels like they were a much better team this season. A November collapse certainly made sure that the Irish finished outside the top 10 once again.
Will Notre Dame finally put together a consecutive year of success in 2018? Notre Dame hasn't put together a string together of double digit win seasons since the 1991 (10-3), 1992 (10-1-1), and 1993 (11-1) seasons.