- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Apologies for having to cut the chat short today, but I have decided to make it up to you guys with a mailbag. Here's a look at what's been on your mind recently.
James from Dallas writes: Matt, I'm surprised you aren't more bullish on the IRISH as an underrated team. When the adjusted stats come out from Football Outsiders -- adjusted for competition, ND will show up as among the top five or eight defenses in the country. Rushing offense will be top 10, and total offense will be top 15. Doesn't the fact that ND is ranked behind Texas, Nebraska, West Virginia, and Michigan strike you as odd? Baylor?
Matt Fortuna: James, not at all. Michigan beat Notre Dame and is undefeated. Texas is undefeated. And Nebraska, West Virginia and Baylor all have better records than Notre Dame, all losing to ranked, undefeated opponents. The Fighting Irish have no argument to be ranked ahead of any of those teams right now and, given their popularity, will hardly ever be considered an underrated team, though I suppose an 0-2 start may have put them in the backs of some people's minds.
Bradley Horner from South Bend, Ind., writes: Do you think that Tuitt and Lynch can be prepared enough this week to face Air Force's triple-option? They have only allowed one rushing TD this year (Denard Robinson), but AF runs the ball more often. How will the game play out and who do you think will win?
Matt Fortuna: I don't think anything can really prepare a defense for Air Force's offense, considering there are so few other teams like the Falcons. Tuitt and Lynch didn't play at Michigan and have to be disciplined here. If they get anxious and try to bull-rush or overpursue, they will play right into Tim Jefferson's hands. That being said, I like Notre Dame because of how its offense matches up with Air Force's defense.
Mason from Mishawaka, Ind., writes: Michael Floyd had yet another stellar performance against Purdue and showed he can catch and run-block. Does Floyd have a shot at Heisman?
Matt Fortuna: Notre Dame needs to win out and be in contention for a BCS bowl berth, which, if it is, would probably be in huge part because of Floyd. It's a long season and a lot can still happen between now and then, but Floyd's numbers have certainly been noteworthy. He will get no shortage of national attention.
Josh from Waterloo, Iowa, writes: Sooooo...... ND fan here.... can we relax and expect the Irish to be legit for the rest of the year??? Or should we continue to live week by week? Im going with A I hope for now.... GO IRISH!!!
Matt Fortuna: You definitely can't relax, or Air Force will sneak up on you. USC and Navy, in light of recent years, cannot be overlooked, either. The first two weeks of the season should have taught you not to take anything for granted with this team, though it certainly does seem headed in the right direction as of now.
Pat from Indianapolis writes: Comment: Matt in an article about ND you mentioned that Illinois was the only three-loss team to go to the BCS. Well, that is not true. Off the top of my head Purdue (2001 Rose Bowl), Pitt (2005 Fiesta Bowl), and UConn (2011 Fiesta Bowl) (4 losses) have all gone to BCS games. There may be others, but those are at least three.
Matt Fortuna: A couple of you pointed this out, and I probably should have been clearer: Illinois was the only at-large team to make a BCS bowl with three losses. The others were automatic qualifiers because they won their conferences. Sorry for the confusion.
14dEdward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf