The first FanPulse poll debuts today, and the sentiment of college football fans nationwide is that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are the seventh best team in the nation.
Those who self-identified as Irish fans naturally had their team ranked higher, putting Brian Kelly’s squad as the nation’s fifth best.
Notre Dame fans who signed up for FanPulse — and signups are still open! — offered the following Top 25:
Notre Dame Fans’ Preseason Top 25
A few takeaways:
- Irish fans undervalue the Michigan Wolverines — their team’s Oct. 26 opponent — relative to the rest of the nation. They’ve put the Wolverines at No. 9, while the rest of the nation has them at No. 6. I’ll be interested to see if this artificially increases on the Monday prior to the game.
- Besides the Wolverines, Irish fans are lower on the Ohio State Buckeyes and Iowa St. Cyclones — by one spot each — than the national average. The Buckeyes make sense because of regional rivalries, especially in recruiting. As for the team from Ames, I’m not sure. Perhaps my ardent belief that Matt Campbell is overrated is rubbing off on a few of you?
- Irish fans are higher on the Florida Gators than the national sentiment, but that admiration is not mutual. Those who identified as Gators fans collectively had the Irish at No. 9 and their own team at No. 6.
- Surprisingly, the fanbase that had the Irish ranked the lowest was the Ole Miss Rebels. They had the Irish at No. 10. Since the teams have only met twice on the field — with the last meeting in 1985 — can someone fill me in on why the Ole Miss groupthink has a low opinion of our team?
- Other fanbases that had Notre Dame rated lower than No. 7: Alabama Crimson Tide (No. 8); Kansas State Wildcats (No. 8); LSU Tigers (No. 9); Maryland Terrapins (No. 8); Purdue Boilermakers (No. 9); Rutgers Scarlet Knights (No. 8); Texas Longhorns (No. 8); Texas A&M Aggies (No. 9).
- Fanbases that had Notre Dame rated higher than No. 7, besides our own: Michigan State Spartans (No. 6). Thanks, Sparty, even if you were sticking it to your No. 10 team, Michigan!
- In case you were wondering, only two fanbases didn’t have the Clemson Tigers as their No. 1 team — and both had Alabama. They were, unsurprisingly, the Alabama fans and, surprisingly, Rutgers?!
- Are we sleeping on the Washington State Cougars or is their fanbase deluded? Their fans put their team at No. 17, while they actually fell just outside the Top 25 in the national poll. Other significant discrepancies between fanbases and national sentiment: Syracuse Orange (fans: No. 18; national: No. 27); Michigan State (No. 17 vs. No. 23); Nebraska Cornhuskers (No. 19 vs. No. 25); Iowa Hawkeyes (No. 14 vs. No. 19); LSU (No. 5 vs. No. 10); and Texas A&M (No. 6 vs. No. 11)
There wasn’t a lot of chaos in these preseason FanPulse polls, but I’m looking forward to how Week 1 games alters our collective perception of which teams are deserving of the 25 spots each week. I’ve long decried that too many Associated Press voters act beholden to their preseason ballots, but it’s also important not to overreact to a sample size of one.
I’m looking forward to bringing you both the national and Irish polls each week, as well as results about our collective confidence about the Irish squad following each week of college football.
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