The Stanford Cardinal are ranked No. 4 in the USA Today preseason coaches' poll.
David Shaw's squad starts the season behind just Alabama, Ohio State and Pac-12 rival Oregon.
"Last year we were supposed to be terrible, the year before that we were supposed to be good and the year before that we were supposed to be terrible," Shaw said at Pac-12 media day this week before the poll results were announced. "So for us, the preseason rankings don't matter."
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Stanford is just one of three programs to have played in BCS bowl games in each of the last three seasons, including a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin on Jan. 1, 2013. That victory gave Shaw a 23-4 record heading into his third season on The Farm.
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The rest of the poll's Top 10 includes five teams from the Southeastern Conference, which has won the last seven national championships, including three in the last four years by Alabama.
South Carolina is No. 7 and Florida is No. 10. No. 8 Clemson and No. 9 Louisville round out the top 10. No. 12 LSU gives the SEC six teams in the top 25.
[RELATED: Full USA Today preseason coaches' poll]
Notre Dame, which lost the BCS title game 42-14 to Alabama last season, is No. 11.
The Associated Press contributed to this report