College football pre-season rankings – #10 Notre Dame

Sitting at number 10 of the pre-season top 25 is the Irish of Notre Dame, who are coming off a BCS appearance against Alabama in 2012.

Notre Dame surprised many across the country last season going undefeated and making it to the BCS National Championship game. Despite the loss to Alabama last season and some key players moving on to the NFL, the Irish are still in good position for 2013.

According to Nationalchamps.net, Notre Dame will return seven offensive starters from last season’s team, however, will be without sophomore quarterback Everett Golson, who was suspended for “poor academic judgment.”

Instead, head coach Brian Kelly will turn the offense over to senior Tommy Rees, behind an experienced offensive line and solid options at tight end and receiver. Offense will be key for Notre Dame in 2013 in order to return to the national championship.

Defense will be the strength once again for Notre Dame, returning the majority of last season’s squad that ranked 7th in total defense last year, according to NCAA.com. With All-American Stephon Tuitt and an experienced defensive line returning alongside an experienced defensive backfield, Notre Dame should be sound in 2013.

While the schedule will be difficult for the Irish, playing Oklahoma, USC and Stanford, Notre Dame could easily find themselves back in the BCS this season.