While many outlets and preseason magazines are projecting a somewhat big drop for Notre Dame in 2021, Sporting News remains higher than most on the Fighting Irish. Sporting News ranks Notre Dame as its No. 6 preseason team in the country.
Sporting News predictions that Notre Dame will square off against the Texas A&M Aggies in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, which means the Irish will fall just short of its third playoff appearance in three seasons. This would be a very interesting matching for the Irish, who would get a crack to beat a top SEC program. It would also pit the Irish against former defensive coordinator Mike Elko.
The last time Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly squared off against Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher was 2014 when the No. 5 Irish fell just short of an upset of the defending champion Florida State Seminoles, who were led by Fisher.
Sporting News had three Notre Dame players on its first-team preseason All-American squad. The Irish had more first-team preseason All-Americans than Alabama or Ohio State, which is an example of how high SN is on the Fighting Irish. SN had running back Kyren Williams, offensive lineman Cain Madden and safety Kyle Hamilton on the first team.
Williams is ranked by Sporting News as the No. 26 player in the country and Hamilton is ranked as the No. 6 player. Only Clemson (3) and Oklahoma (3) had more players ranked among the 30 best players in the country in the Sporting News list.
Sporting News also released a top coaches list this summer and it ranked Kelly fourth.
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