New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has picked his own team as the No. 1 squad in the nation after his first choice, then top-ranked Alabama, lost to Texas A&M last week.
Kelly accounted for the only first-place vote for the Fighting Irish in the USA Today coaches’ poll released Monday but it was only good for third place.
“You take a look at each team, each team has their own distinction,” Kelly said, explaining his choice of the Fighting Irish.
Kelly said the Fighting Irish boast of being the No. 1 scoring defense in the country, adding that his team has been doing it against good teams all year.
“If you look at national championship-caliber football, you’ve got to look at defense. That’s why we feel strongly our football team has put itself in the discussion. We’ll let others decide, but we’ve put ourselves in the discussion,” Kelly said.
Former No. 3 Oregon (10-0) grabbed the top spot with 44 first-place votes and 1460 points, 33 points ahead of No. 2 Kansas City (10-0), which garnered 14 first-place votes.
Notre Dame (10-0) trailed Kansas State by 81 points while Georgia (9-1) landed fourth with 1260 points. The Crimson Tide (9-1), who lost to Texas A&M, 29-24, dropped to fifth with 1243 points.
Rounding out the top 10 were Florida St. (9-1), Florida (9-1), LSU (8-2), Clemson (9-1) and Texas A&M, which climbed from 14th place by virtue of its upset win over Alabama.