Thanks for stopping by today's Notre Dame chat. We covered a number of topics today, all of which can be found here.
Here are some highlights:
Zincman (New London): Notre Dame has a rather long list of players who can apply for an additional year of eligibility. Who do you expect to return under those circumstances?
Matt Fortuna (2:03 PM): Zack Martin already announced that he is coming back, and I think we can pencil in Chris Watt, Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese among the fourth-year juniors returning, too, barring anything unforeseen (and assuming that they want to return). Tyler Eifert technically has a year left, but he's all but gone. Cierre Wood has yet to decide, but I'd be surprised if he returned, too. And I don't know if Jamoris Slaughter will be applying for a sixth year, or if he has much of a case for one, so we'll have to see how that plays out.
Miguel Guerrera (Dominican Republic): In the hollywood version of the MANTI T'EO Story, who do you think would play the principal characters? Kelly : Gandolfini. etc
Matt Fortuna (2:23 PM): This question is too good for me to answer in one setting. Keep suggestions coming throughout the chat and in my mailbag, fans, and I'll try to run a list of suggestions in a later post. But I can't see Gandolfini as Kelly. Plenty of good Irish Boston actors out there. Help me out ...
Hank (West Point, Ga.): Is Bama really vulnerable to the pass, or was A&M loss just a fluke?
Matt Fortuna (2:30 PM): Hank, I wouldn't say they are vulnerable against the pass, and I wouldn't say that loss was a fluke. The Tide are No. 5 nationally in pass defense and No. 8 in pass efficiency D, so we're talking about VERY relative points here, as opposed to their front-7, which is No. 1 nationally against the run. As for the loss to the Aggies, I think Johnny Football and Co. just did an excellent job of pouncing early on a team that was emotionally and physically taxed from its biggest win of the season a week before against LSU.
Ted (Where Holtz and Rudy dare to tread): Matt - this team was lucky to win many of their games - I agree. Stanford comes to mind immediately. Not sure if it was luck or location, but this team, as Ted Miller said, "Dodged quite a few rain drops". Who holds the most water when it comes to getting the breaks? Bama in Tuscaloosa or the Irish in South Bend?
Matt Fortuna (2:46 PM): If you ask each side you'll get a different answer. I will say that ND built up a good amount of favors with the football gods over the last year or 24 given the bad breaks it had endured, particularly last year's comedy of errors. Alabama? Let's not forget that this is a team that lost midseason games this year and last year, only to see other teams fall in front of it and THEN be picked for the title game ahead of other one-loss teams. Last year especially was a big break, considering the Tide didn't even win their conference. (None of this is meant to overlook the bounces that have fallen ND's way this year, either, but to point out how these things work out everywhere, all the time.)