Notre Dame falls in final AP Top 25 poll of season

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Notre Dame falls in final AP Top 25 poll of season

Patrick Engel16 days
Article written by:Patrick EngelPatrick Engel

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marcus freeman
Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman will begin his first full season with the Fighting Irish at his alma mater, Ohio State. (Photo by Chad Weaver)

The final poll of the 2021 season is out, and Notre Dame took a small drop in it.

The Irish (11-2) are ranked No. 8 in the last Associated Press Top 25 of the season, released Tuesday morning following the national championship game. They fell three spots from the last poll update in early December after a 37-35 loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1. The Cowboys (12-2) jumped one spot ahead of Notre Dame to No. 7.

Notre Dame had one regular-season opponent appear in the final AP poll. Cincinnati (12-1) is ranked fourth — the same spot as before — following its College Football Playoff loss to Alabama Dec. 31. The Bearcats handed Notre Dame its lone regular-season loss, a 24-13 home defeat Oct. 2.

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Two other Irish 2021 foes received votes. Wisconsin had 97 points in the poll, the second-most among unranked teams. Purdue’s 44 points were fourth-most among those who missed the top 25. Each went 9-4 and won its bowl game. The Irish defeated both teams in consecutive weeks in September, first a 27-13 home win over Purdue Sept. 18 and a 41-13 victory over Wisconsin in Chicago Sept. 25.

Notre Dame has finished top 12 in the final AP poll in all but one season since 2015 and top 10 in three of the last four. The Irish were fifth in the final 2021 CFP rankings, which were released Dec. 5. They have won at least 10 games in five straight seasons and six of the last seven.

Notre Dame’s 2022 season opens Sept. 3 at Ohio State, which ended this year ranked sixth in the AP poll following its 48-45 win over Utah in the Rose Bowl Jan. 1. It will be Marcus Freeman’s first regular-season game as the Irish’s head coach. He debuted in the Fiesta Bowl after taking over for Brian Kelly in December.

Final AP Top 25

1. Georgia (14-1)

2. Alabama (13-2)

3. Michigan (12-2)

4. Cincinnati (13-1)

5. Baylor (12-2)

6. Ohio State (11-2)

7. Oklahoma State (12-2)

8. Notre Dame (11-2)

9. Michigan State (11-2)

10. Oklahoma (11-2)

11. Ole Miss (10-3)

12. Utah (10-4)

13. Pittsburgh (11-3)

14. Clemson (10-3)

15. Wake Forest (11-3)

16. Louisiana (13-1)

17. Houston (12-2)

18. Kentucky (10-3)

19. BYU (10-3)

20. North Carolina State (9-3)

21. Arkansas (9-4)

22. Oregon (10-4)

23. Iowa (10-4)

24. Utah State (11-3)

25. San Diego State (12-2)