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Notre Dame Football: ESPN FPI ranks the Irish #9 in the 2020 preseason

A good place.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The ESPN Football Power Index released its top 10 rankings for the 2020 college football preseason, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish came in at #9.

Before we get into this a little bit, maybe you are unfamiliar with the FPI from ESPN. Well, here is their explainer:

The Football Power Index (FPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule. Ratings and projections update daily.

So before you go all postal about the ESPN bias thing and all that — this is computer stuff.

Having said that, here are some quick thoughts:

  • The Oklahoma Sooners at #3 is about as laughable as it gets. Sure — they may absolutely get to the playoff again — but are they really that good? I doubt that in bunches.
  • Notre Dame is scheduled to play the #1 team (Clemson Tigers) and the #6 team (Wisconsin Badgers). Just based off of the top 10 here, Notre Dame’s schedule will be a tough one this year. I’m so happy the Irish sent the home game against Wisconsin up to Green Bay at night — THAT’LL HELP THEM OUT!
  • The Texas Longhorns. Seriously... they’re here right next to the Texas A&M Aggies. Two underperforming programs from one state — might as well been the USC Trojans and Stanford Cardinal here.
  • No LSU Tigers because LSU lost more people across the board than the Titanic.
  • Brett McMurphy just punched a hole in his office wall because for some strange reason the Iowa St. Cyclones aren’t here. How is that possible?

These things are what they are, and they’re a list of teams generated from a computer. That’s not to say that they are completely flawed, because these rankings are full of an immense amount of data, but it doesn’t make them great either.

Notre Dame is likely to be a top 10 team across the board when the season starts. For the Irish, it’s a fine position to be in with those games against Wisconsin and Clemson. Can the Irish make the college football playoff in 2020? Sure, but actually doing it is something entirely different.

This is where we are in February 2020.