We were defending national champs, but were ranked No. 5 in the preseason poll. The 3-0 loss to Mizzou (in 95-degree heat, in what was then the earliest home opener in ND history) dropped us to #15, and the 28-14 loss to Michigan dropped us out of the poll entirely. We returned to the poll at #20 after a 26-17 win over Pitt (one of Montana's rallies, after trailing 17-7 in the 4th). We rose to #8, then got absolutely screwed by the refs at USC to drop to 10th, and ended at #7 after the "Chicken Soup" win over Houston.
Four of ND's wins that year were by single digits. We could have finished 6-5 almost as easily as we could have finished 11-1. And the Michigan game was close until the 4th quarter.