Irish most popular college football team, poll finds



Another Day, Another Dollar
Mar 1, 2002
Notre Dame hasn't seriously contended for college football's national championship in a decade. It has nearly fallen behind Michigan as the all-time leader in winning percentage. And the Fighting Irish may be looking for a conference.

Yet some things never change. Notre Dame is the country's favorite college football team, just as it has been most years since The Harris Poll began measuring popularity in 1997.

The annual poll was conducted online from Oct. 21-27 among a nationwide cross section of 2,056 adults, with 751 saying they follow college football.

Notre Dame was first in surveys in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2002. A storied tradition and NBC television contract have kept the Fighting Irish No. 1.

Otherwise, it takes a winning team to make the top 10.

Florida State, Penn State and Ohio State are second, third and fourth, respectively.

Oklahoma, ranked No. 1 on the field this season, moved up two spots to No. 5 in The Harris Poll. Michigan moved up two spots to No. 6. The rest of the top 10 includes Miami (Fla.), Texas, Wisconsin and Florida.

While Notre Dame remains popular, its TV ratings took a hit this season.

NBC's six telecasts of Notre Dame's home games tied for the worst ratings -- 2.4, matching 2001 -- in the 13 years the network has been showing the school's games, Bloomberg News reported Thursday. The rating fell 23 percent from 2002.

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