Notre Dame Football: Baylor Bears

Video: Saturday's BCS implications

November, 18, 2012
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Kirk Herbstreit discusses the implications of losses by No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon on Saturday.

Irish could be No. 1 for 1st time since 1993

November, 18, 2012
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Thanks to upset victories by Baylor and Stanford, Notre Dame is in position to become No. 1 in the BCS standings for the first time ever.

The Fighting Irish haven’t been No. 1 in the Associated Press poll since November 1993.

Within minutes of each other, Baylor finished off its upset over No. 1 Kansas State and Stanford won in overtime over No. 2 Oregon.

This is the first time since 2007 that the team atop the BCS standings has lost in consecutive weeks.

That week, LSU lost to Arkansas on Nov. 23 and Missouri lost to Oklahoma on Dec. 1.

This is the third time in BCS history that the top two teams both lost on the same weekend.

Both previous instances happened in 2007. Missouri and West Virginia lost on Dec. 1 after LSU and Kansas lost the previous weekend (LSU lost on Friday, Kansas on Saturday on Thanksgiving weekend).

Kansas State's 28-point loss at Baylor is tied for the largest loss by a team ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings. Oklahoma lost to Kansas State by 28 points in 2003.

Kansas State is the fifth team ranked No. 1 in the BCS to lose to an unranked opponent. The Wildcats are the first BCS No. 1 to lose to a team with a losing record heading into the game.

How did Kansas State lose?

The Wildcats allowed 16 rushes of at least 10 yards against Baylor and three touchdowns on those rushes. Entering Saturday's game, Kansas State had not allowed more than six rushes of at least 10 yards in a single game and had not allowed a touchdown on rushes of at least 10 yards all season.

How did Oregon lose?

Oregon scored just 14 points against Stanford, its fewest points in a game since Sept. 3, 2009 against Boise State (lost 19-8).

Outside of Marcus Mariota’s 77-yard scramble in the first half, Stanford was able to limit Oregon on the ground. The Ducks had four rushes that gained 10 or more yards and did not make it past the line of scrimmage on 10 of their 43 rushes. It was the second straight game that the Ducks did not gain 200 yards after averaging 341.2 rushing yards per game in their first nine games.

Floyd up one spot on McShay's board

February, 10, 2012
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Michael Floyd moved up one spot, to No. 18, on Todd McShay's draft board this week Insider.

Floyd is the second of three receivers on McShay's 32-man board, six spots behind Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon (No. 12) and two spots ahead of Baylor's Kendall Wright (No. 20), both of whom held steady on this week's board.

Floyd stayed at No. 24 on Mel Kiper's 25-man Big Board for the second straight week Insider, again behind Blackmon but ahead of Wright.
Michael Floyd comes in at No. 24 on Mel Kiper's Big Board for the second straight week.

Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon (No. 5) and Baylor's Kendall Wright (No. 17) were the only receivers who fared better.

Kiper was asked during Tuesday's chat if Floyd's stock was falling because he did not play in the Senior Bowl, but Kiper said that is not the case.
No, I don't think that's something that will make him plummet. I think he's the kind of guy that had a good year, a productive year. He caught some passes. You want to see him show some more aggressiveness. You want him to be the guy that wants to take over the game. He's in the top 25 on the Big Board. He's a mid to later first-round pick.

Meanwhile, Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench once again sees Floyd as a good fit on the New England Patriots , especially after their loss in the Super Bowl.
Football Outsiders' Brian Fremeau has Notre Dame as one of five recruiting underachievers over the last few years, a distinction that should not shock many.

Fremeau looked at the last five seasons to see how often teams with lower-rated recruiting classes beat teams with stronger recruiting success, and vice versa. Teams with better classes won 67 percent of the games.

The Irish, however, have lost 25 games as the "more talented" team.
Like Michigan and UCLA, inconsistency through head coaching transitions has been part of the problem in South Bend. Kelly and his staff landed a number of gems last season that provided an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball, an area of strength going forward.

But there are many more holes to plug in order for the Irish to live up to its total recruiting profile potential. Gunner Kiel joins an already crowded spring quarterback battle, the outcome of which will ultimately determine Brian Kelly's fate in South Bend.

Kelly's success at Cincinnati in out-performing recruiting expectations hasn't materialized at Notre Dame yet, and the losses to inferior opponents like Navy and South Florida have exhausted the limited patience of some fans already. A challenging schedule in 2012 will stretch that patience even thinner, so it will be absolutely critical for Kelly to win the games the recruiting numbers insist he should win.

Michigan, UCLA, Miami and Florida State join Notre Dame as underachievers.

Brian Kelly's last school, Cincinnati, is among the overachievers, which include Stanford, Boise State, Baylor and Oregon State.

Notre Dame among most overrated in '11

January, 19, 2012
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Notre Dame entered 2011 as the Associated Press' preseason No. 16 team, expectations high and a BCS-bowl berth in sight.

Things didn't go according to plan. But were the Irish the biggest disappointment of this past college football season?

Turns out they'll have to settle for No. 2 in that category.

CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy broke down the preseason AP poll, using it as a measuring stick to see whom the voters were right (or close to being right) about while acknowledging those they whiffed on. McMurphy listed the 48 schools that received a vote in the preseason poll and calculated the difference from where they finished in the final poll.

The numbers showed that preseason No. 8 Texas A&M, at minus-41, was the biggest disappointment of 2011, with Notre Dame right behind the Aggies at minus-33. Ohio State (minus-31), Mississippi State (minus-29) and Florida (minus-27) rounded out the top five disappointments. Those five, plus Missouri (preseason No. 21, minus-8) and Auburn (preseason No. 23, minus-4) made up the seven schools that were not ranked in the final poll after being ranked in the preseason.

Preseason unranked Baylor (plus-36) finished as the biggest surprise.

And, in a reassuring sign for sportswriters everywhere, No. 7 Stanford, No. 14 TCU and No. 19 Georgia finished in the exact same spots as their preseason rankings.

Floyd rising on draft boards

January, 13, 2012
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Michael Floyd has risen two spots this past week on each of ESPN.com's main draft boards.

The former Notre Dame wide receiver is up to Insider No. 20 on Mel Kiper's Big Board and Insider No. 18 on Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay's board.

Floyd is the third of three receivers on Kiper's 25-man Big Board, behind Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon (No. 5) and South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery (No. 14). He trails only Blackmon (No. 8) on McShay's 32-man board. Jeffery (No. 24) and Baylor's Kendall Wright (No. 28) also crack McShay's board.

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft is Sunday. Kiper will release his first mock draft of the season next week.

Floyd holding steady on draft boards

January, 6, 2012
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Michael Floyd remains at No. 21 on Todd McShay's draft board and at No. 22 on Mel Kiper's Big Board, the same spots he held on each board last week.

McShay writes:
Floyd's size and ball skills make him an elite playmaker down the field, and off-field concerns seem to be behind him. He still must prove his suddenness as a route-runner, though.

McShay projects Floyd as the second of four wide receivers to be taken in the first round, behind only Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, slated at No. 9. He has South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery at No. 27 and Baylor's Kendall Wright at No. 32.

Kiper, meanwhile, has Blackmon going four spots higher, at No. 5, with Jeffery ahead of Floyd at No. 14.

Floyd is the third of three receivers Kiper has on his 25-man list, writing:
Multidimensional receiver is able to beat you short or deep using a big frame to beat smaller cornerbacks. Played at 227 pounds in 2010 but dropped a little weight this season and does appear a little quicker.

Champs Bowl draws 3.8 rating

January, 4, 2012
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Thursday's Champs Sports Bowl drew a 3.8 rating on ESPN, the third-highest rating among bowl games through Dec. 31.

Saturday's Chick-fil-A Bowl between Auburn and Virginia drew a 4.2 rating and Thursday's Alamo Bowl between Baylor and Washington drew a 5.1.

Notre Dame mailbag

October, 7, 2011
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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.

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