- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Windy City is living up to its name.
J from Washington D.C. writes: I think it would be hilarious if Irish Chocolate was suddenly revealed to have an insanely accurate cannon arm.
Matt Fortuna: But J, Louis Nix said this week he wants to be a Wildcat-only QB! That would certainly add a new look to the Irish offense that we have yet to see, no? I don't think too many outside of the Notre Dame coaching staff would object to the idea, either.
Chuck Otis from Wilmington, Mass., writes: Can the Irish beat Miami this week? You have to admit they have played the toughest schedule so far.
Matt Fortuna: Chuck, Notre Dame can and should win, though the Hurricanes certainly have the playmakers that can make this thing interesting. Colleague Travis Haney had the Irish this week at No. 2 on his merit-based rankings. I'd have to agree with his top two choices, with Oregon State coming in at No. 1.
Mikail from Ave Maria, Fla., writes: Matt, Riddick has played well this year, but my read is that Wood has out performed him in every game that they both played (the stats back that up as well). I'm surprised that Wood isn't getting more touches - I know that there's a lot of talent at the RB position with limited space on the field, but why is our most experienced back, a 1000 yard rusher from last year, getting fewer touches when he's still more productive?
Matt Fortuna: Mikhail, I think everyone is a bit surprised Wood has not touched the ball more so far, though Riddick is more of a receiving threat. Brian Kelly said Thursday that the touches have more to do with the ground game's zone-blocking technique under new offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, as it requires the backs to be more patient in waiting for holes to open up. There should be opportunities for both to make plays Saturday night.
Brian from Portsmouth, Ohio, writes: How can people say that ND isnt in the title hunt with their schedule? They have one of the hardest schedules in college this year.
Matt Fortuna: I think it's just a matter of whether the Irish will look impressive enough to leap some of the undefeated teams ahead of them if multiple teams run the table. Alabama? Not happening, for obvious reasons. Florida State? Maybe, since the Seminoles' schedule isn't all that great. Oregon? Not a great schedule, but the Ducks do get a 13th game if they run the table, and a win in the Pac-12 title game over, say, USC for a second time, would enhance their profile. The Irish's slate looks a lot less difficult though after the season's first month, and Notre Dame is currently ranked higher than all of its opponents, each of which has already lost a game. Boston College, a road ACC game, is essentially the closest thing the Irish have remaining to a cupcake, so I think it's important to keep in mind that there really are no lay-ups here (Navy gets a pass, in an opener overseas). Bottom line, it's too early to be worrying about these types of things. Notre Dame looks like it has a chance to win every game, but it's a few miscues away from being in deep trouble, too. If the Irish win out, I'd have a hard time seeing them not in the national title game. (I also have a hard time seeing four or five BCS programs going undefeated this season.)
6hSam Khan Jr.
8hDavid M. Hale