The Notre Dame head coach voted the Irish No. 1 on his coaches' poll ballot, the only coach to do so. No. 1 Oregon got 44 first-place votes, and No. 2 Kansas State garnered 14. Notre Dame is third.
"I voted Notre Dame first," Kelly said on Sunday. "I had them second last week to Alabama, of course, Alabama lost. I'll typically move up to the next slot."
Kelly has said repeatedly that he won't politic to sway voters, but he was making his case on Sunday, pointing to the fact that Notre Dame is now tied with Alabama for the top-ranked scoring defense in the country.
"The distinction of this team is its the No. 1 scoring defense in the country," he said. "It's proven that against very good teams all year. We make it very difficult to run the football. If you look at national championship caliber football, you've got to look at a defense. That's why we feel strongly that our football team has put themselves in the discussion. We'll let others decide, but we put ourselves in the discussion."
Kelly also pointed to Notre Dame's schedule, which is rated more difficult than both Oregon's and Kansas State's to this point.