Howdy! What's on your minds with the season less than a day away?
Robert Godsill from Peoria, Ill., writes: I say we have talent at linebacker, tight end and running back. Our quarterback and offensive success is going to be determined by our offensive line and young receiving corps, however. Defensively we need to avoid the big play and we will be fine. Seeing some of our speed pay off in the return game is a must. In the unlikely event we click on all these cylinders I feel we have potential for a 1-2 loss season with a national championship run in us. What are your thoughts on the Irish this year?
Matt Fortuna: Robert, first-team offensive line might be the team's biggest strength. You underestimated the Irish there. Everywhere else? Well, it will take an awful lot to pull off 10 or 11 wins this season, even if they click on all cylinders. This schedule is that brutal. Avoiding the occasional big play will be tough with two new starters at cornerback. Last season they gave up their share of them, and that was with two experienced seniors back there. Like everyone else, I'm interested to see what Davonte' Neal can do in the return game. Taking everything into account, however, I have a hard time expecting this team to win more than eight games.
Khefa Nosakhere from Houston writes: Matt, Looking at ND's schedule, and an unsettled QB situation, I see 4 wins (Navy, Purdue, BC and Wake). They have the toughest schedule by far. Irish eyes are cryin in 2012...
Matt Fortuna: Ouch. I think even the most pessimistic of fans see more than four wins. The four you mentioned and the Miami and Pitt games are certainly the easiest six on the schedule, but as we saw last year (South Florida), you can't assume anything with this team.
Stephen from Glastonbury, Conn., writes: With wood suspended the first two games, who do you think will lead the Irish in rushing during this span? Does Golson have a chance to do this?
Matt Fortuna: Everyone assumes Golson is a running quarterback. And we all know why. The simple fact is he is athletic, yes, but he has the best arm on the team and will look to throw at every option. His athleticism will come in handy when keeping plays alive and avoiding blitzers, and then, if everything else breaks down, yes, he can possibly take off. And the short answer to your question is Theo Riddick, with George Atkinson III behind him.
Taylor from Chicago writes: I'm sure you've got some pull. You need to let whoever's making decisions around there that they need to put Pinkett back on the air. Immediately.
Matt Fortuna: Ha! You have greatly overestimated my standing.