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SOUTH BEND – In his first year as a head coach, the expectations are about as high as they can be for Marcus Freeman as he continues to prepare for the 2022 season.

In the first Associated Press Top 25 poll released for FBS on Monday, Notre Dame was ranked fifth as they enter the season looking to continue what’s been a recent run of success for the program. A lot of that came under former head coach Brian Kelly, who left for LSU after the end of the regular season in 2021.

Freeman took over after that and now looks to help the program end its 35-year national championship drought.

Doing so won’t be easy, and it starts with a Top 5 match-up against his alma mater in a few weeks.

Ohio State is ranked 2nd in the AP Poll just behind Alabama, who is No. 1 in the country after receiving 54 first place votes in the first poll. Notre Dame travels to Columbus to face the Buckeyes on Saturday, September 3rd in a primetime contest scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM central time.

Clemson, who is ranked fourth in the AP Poll behind reigning national champion Georgia in third, will visit South Bend to face the Irish on Saturday, November 5th at 6:30 PM central time.

Notre Dame comes into this season having won at least ten games in six of their last seven seasons, which includes College Football Playoff appearances in 2018 and 2020. Last season, the team finished 11-1 under Kelly, the fifth-straight campaign in which they had at least double-digit wins.

Freeman was named the head coach shortly after that and coached in the Fiesta Bowl on January 1st as Notre Dame lost to Oklahoma State 37-35.

Here is the rest of the AP Top 25 to start the 2022 season.

1. Alabama

2. Ohio St.

3. Georgia

4. Clemson

5. Notre Dame

6. Texas A&M

7. Utah

8. Michigan

9. Oklahoma

10. Baylor

11. Oregon

12. Oklahoma St.

13. NC State

14. Southern Cal

15. Michigan St.

16. Miami

17. Pittsburgh

18. Wisconsin

19. Arkansas

20. Kentucky

21. Ole Miss

23. Cincinnati

24. Houston

25. BYU