Thanks for another great turn out this week for the Notre Dame chat. You can find a full transcript here.
Rich F. (Utica, N.Y.): Does the idea intrigue you to join a major conference , or do you feel staying as an independent helps strengthen your national image?
Matt Fortuna (2:09 PM): Rich, I take it you mean Notre Dame, not me. Regardless, I like their status as an independent, especially with potential upcoming changes to the BCS. They'll be free to negotiate their own bowl contracts and, of course, hold onto their national image and the benefits that come with that in recruiting and scheduling.
Aaron (Chicago): Hey Matt, people have asked you before if Notre Dame will ever get back to national prominence because of the academic standards handicapping them. Then to refute, you usually point out Stanford for the last 2 years. Now when I think national prominence I think of the ability to play at the same level of the Alabama's and LSU's. Stanford couldn't beat the best opponent on their schedule both years, Oregon, in fact they gave up over 100 points combined to the Ducks in 2010 and 2011. So I'd have to say while close, they still weren't there and I think it all comes down to the talent gap on defenses, which i can't ever see changing in favor of the Notre Dame's and Stanford's.
Matt Fortuna (2:29 PM): Aaron, I don't disagree that Stanford isn't at the level of LSU or Alabama, two of the best defenses of recent memory. But it is still a program that has had plenty of recent success, enough that Notre Dame fans would love to have after the last few years. More than anything, I think it proves that you can still have success with strict academic requirements, which some fans seem to think is impossible and blame for the Irish's recent struggles.
Tim (Nebraska): Happy Friday, Matt! I can't remember the last time the Irish beat both of the Michigan schools. With the way the first 3 quarters in Ann Arbor went, and the front seven coming on strong, plus Michigan State going into what I think will be a down year compared to the last two,could 2012 be the year we can beat them both?
Matt Fortuna (2:36 PM): Tim, always a Happy Friday. It's certainly possible, but ND is in no better position to do it this year than it was the last three years. I don't think MSU will lose much, though it's not easy to replace a QB and leader like Cousins. And Michigan, well, let's just say they have a certain QB ND may be familiar with ...
JR (Bloomington): Do you see any of the freshmen making the same kind of impact this year that Lynch/Tuit made last year? Also, I can't imagine a scenario where Rees is the QB to take us to the next level, I don't think Hendrix is either, what are the chances we see Golson or Keil start in Dublin?
Matt Fortuna (2:42 PM): JR, it's tough to see any freshmen playing that well, and, in addition, getting the opportunity to play that well. So many d-linemen went down and forced those guys to play more than they were supposed to. Rees' lack of mobility certainly holds him back, but you can't discount his experience. I think Hendrix's skill-set is one that could really get the offense moving. Regardless, I doubt we'll see just one QB next season.