Ian Book

Clemson defensive tackle Albert Huggins (67) rushes as Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book (12) throws a pass in the first half of the NCAA Cotton Bowl semi-final playoff football game, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Arlington, Texas.

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Before the start of Illinois football's training camp on Aug. 2 in Champaign, beat writer BOB ASMUSSEN is counting down the top 50 teams heading into the 2019 college football season. Questions for Bob? Submit them BY CLICKING HERE and he’ll chase down answers:

No. 12: Notre Dame

Coach: Brian Kelly

2018 record: 12-1

Projected 2019 record: 10-2

Circle the date: Oct. 26 at Michigan

Bowl trip: Capital One

Why No. 12: The Irish will try to follow last year’s perfect regular season with another playoff run. It’s possible. Kelly welcomes back a strong offense, and there is plenty of talent on the defense, too. Notre Dame struggled in the College Football Playoff semifinal, losing 30-3 to eventual national champion Clemson. ... Ian Book took over at quarterback last season and threw for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns. ... The Irish will miss tailback Dexter Williams. Tony Jones Jr. and Jafar Armstrong are next in line. ... Former News-Gazette All-State Player of the Year Miles Boykin is gone after a big senior season. ... The secondary is the strength of the defense with three starters back. Safety Jalen Elliott led the team with four interceptions in 2018. ... The schedule includes nasty road trips to Georgia and Michigan. The Irish host Virginia, Southern Cal and Virginia Tech.

Last year’s ranking: No. 15

Previous rankings: No. 13 Michigan, No. 14 Penn State, No. 15 Utah, No. 16 Michigan State, No. 17 Washington, No. 18 Syracuse, No. 19 Iowa, No. 20 Auburn, No. 21 Iowa State, No. 22 Washington State, No. 23 Stanford, No. 24 Mississippi State, No. 25 Army, No. 26 Nebraska, No. 27 Missouri, No. 28 Virginia, No. 29 Boise State, No. 30 Wisconsin, No. 31 Virginia Tech, No. 32 Miami, No. 33 Northwestern, No. 34 Oklahoma State, No. 35 Florida State, No. 36 Cincinnati, No. 37 Purdue, No. 38 South Carolina, No. 39 TCU, No. 40 Baylor. No. 41 UCLA, 42 Texas Tech, No. 43 NC State,No. 44 Southern Cal, No. 45 Arizona, No. 46 Tennessee, No. 47 Kentucky, No. 48 Memphis, No. 49 Fresno State, No. 50 Pitt.

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College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).