The top three in the sport seem to be pretty well established. Of the 63 voters who make up the Associated Press Top 25 poll, 56 of them had Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia in their preseason top three.

As for the next tier of teams? That’s up for debate. There was plenty of speculation about whether Utah, a team getting darkhorse attention as a College Football Playoff threat this season, could land in one of those top six spots, but the Utes checked in at No. 7. Clemson opens the year ranked No. 4, Notre Dame No. 5, and Texas A&M No. 6.

And that prompted ESPN analyst and SEC Network host Paul Finebaum to go off on the AP poll Tuesday morning for including Notre Dame in the top five.

Finebaum went as far as to say Marcus Freeman’s squad would be lucky to finish 2022 with 9 wins on its resume, via On3:

“They should not even be in the top 10, Greeny,” Finebaum said. “This is an absolute joke, and it happens every year with the AP poll, which is just as worthless as preseason NFL football. It’s ridiculous.

“Notre Dame is going to get run in the first game of the season. They’re going to get destroyed at (Ohio State) and then, after that, they have to go to North Carolina a couple weeks later … they have Clemson on the schedule and they have (USC). They’ll be fortunate to go 9-3. Laughable that they’re in the top five or six.

“I think we can eliminate Notre Dame today. We don’t have to wait until the first week of the CFP.”

Notre Dame travels to Ohio State for a highly anticipated Week 1 showdown with the No. 2 Buckeyes.

The Irish will also face Pac-12 foes this season in Cal at home on Sept. 17, Stanford at home on Oct. 15, and USC in Los Angeles to close out the regular season on Nov. 26.

That game against the Trojans could have College Football Playoff implications. The 14th-ranked Trojans face Utah in Salt Lake City on Oct. 15. Should USC win that game, it could find itself rocketing up the standings given the overwhelming narrative support of the program from national media this offseason. If Notre Dame is somehow sitting with 10 or 11 wins when it battles the Trojans, a spot in the CFP would almost assuredly be on the line for it.

Then again, Finebaum doesn’t seem to think that’ll happen.