Chat with Matt Fortuna
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, Notre Dame blogger Matt Fortuna stops by to chat about the Fightin' Irish's football season.
Fortuna joined ESPN.com in 2011 after working for MLB.com and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where he covered college sports. He grew up in New York and is a Penn State graduate.
Send your questions now and join Fortuna Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Matt (2:01 PM)
Greetings, all. Live from D.C. Let's get right to it.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY`)
Will Notre Dame play in a Bowl Game this season?
Matt (2:01 PM)
Jackson (Whitinsville, MA)
Hey Matt! Im lovin your blog! So if there is a scenario that ND could make BCS bowl could you tell me what it was? Thanks!
Matt (2:03 PM)
Jackson, appreciate the kind words. It will be very, very difficult, if not impossible. They need to finish in the top 14, for one, and they haven't been ranked all season (though they probably will be at 8-3 and definitely after 9-3). Root for a lot of teams in front of them to lose, particularly the Big Ten, which always gets two BCS bids because of its fanbases but is struggling this year.
Jim Healey (Sandpoint, Idaho)
Hey, Matt, keep up the good work. I caught the Notre Dame/Navy game in South Bend two weekends ago. I felt that Coach Kelly kept Tommy Rees in the game long after the outcome was not in question. I know that he wants Rees to have as many game-time reps as possible, but there is always the chance of injury or another turnover. Why do you think Kelly is not giving Andrew Hendrix more game-time reps? Granted, this was not a possibility in the Wake Forest game.
Matt (2:05 PM)
Thanks, Jim. I agree, Rees should not have been in that long. Brian Kelly said the next day there was a miscommunication that kept Dayne Crist from going in earlier, and Kelly took the blame for that. Regardless, like you, I'm surprised we haven't seen more Hendrix. I expect that to change tomorrow.
Jeremy (Toledo Ohio)
How serious is Aaron Lynch's injury?
Matt (2:06 PM)
I don't want to downplay any pain he may be in, but he's set to play tomorrow, so I doubt it's anything serious.
Josh (columbus, ohio)
I will wait to pass judgement on the uniforms until I see them on the field saturday night. On paper, this should not be a close game at all. I look for Rees to find Floyd and Eifert early and often with Gray or Wood or both having big days as well. I look for Slaughter to star on D as well. Who do you see being the difference makers in this one for the Irish on both sides of the ball?
Matt (2:07 PM)
Josh, um, everyone. I think I underestimated how bad this Maryland team was until studying up on them some more recently in anticipation of this game.
Josh (columbus, ohio)
Who either hasnt had a consistant performance or hasnt made a big impact on the season to this point do you see having an impact on the final four games? If anybody?. For the record, I think Roby Toma could be that guy.
Brian (Toledo, OH)
Notre Dame should be 8-3 going into the Stanford game, but are they heading to the champs sports bowl even if they beat Stanford?
Matt (2:10 PM)
Back to back, huh Josh? I agree with you though, especially with no Theo Riddick this week. Robby Toma has in the eyes of many not been given enough reps this year. Now is his chance, and I don't expect him to disappoint.
Matt (2:10 PM)
Brian, that seems like a strong possibility. I'm anxious to see how Stanford fairs against Oregon. (For the record, I got the Cardinal.)
A rather fitting weekend to be in D.C Matt. To the point...I can't stand Randy Edsall and the fact that his mediocre UCONN team pulled off a win from our poorly coached Irish at the time (cough...charlie weis...cough) i know they went to the BCS but they had 4 losses. But mostly how it seemed like he couldnt wait to get out of UCONN and coach somewhere else the last 2 years he was there. Does this failure of a season for Maryland mostly stem from his coaching?
Matt (2:13 PM)
Aaron, I didn't like the way he exited UConn. I don't think anyone did. What I didn't like even more was Maryland letting Ralph Friedgen go after last season. How often do you see a guy win the conference coaching award get fired that year? Still, I wouldn't blame this season all on Edsall. He has had ridiculously bad luck with injuries (five season-ending, by my count).
Bill Murray (Punxatawney)
Is it me Matt or do I keep reliving the same day over and over...i swear this Penn State story has been on non stop for the past 2 years...Anywho...whats with Jack scheduling "home" neutral games in the home state of the opponent we are playing. That'd be like USC scheduling a home neutral site game against us in Indianapolis.
Matt (2:15 PM)
Bill Murray is in my chat! I've really made it, huh? As an alum, that PSU story hits close to home. And yeah, it certainly feels like it's been more than a week. As for the scheduling, I get the purpose of off-site games, particularly in highly-populated areas. I'm not sure that works in this case though, when you're the home team against a team just miles from home.
If you were to take a poll of the players, what percentage would seem "excited" by the opportunity to play in the Champs Bowl?
Matt (2:17 PM)
Tom, with all the free goodies you get, I'd be excited to go to any bowl.
JDriveSth (Grand Rapids, MI)
Do you think style points over the next two weeks will be enough to get ND into the human poll rankings? If so, what level of style points? 40+?
Matt (2:18 PM)
I'd be shocked if they weren't ranked at 8-3 heading into Stanford.
Anthony (South Bend)
Hi Matt, I do not realize what Brian Kelly thinks separates Tommy Rees from Dayne Crist. From what I have seen Dayne Crist gives the offense a lot more in terms of mobility, arm strength, and ability to stretch the field. It is not as if Tommy Rees is playing that well. He is prone to turnovers just as Crist was in the first half of the USF game. It seems bizzare to me to yank your starting quarterback after the first half of football of the season after a few turnovers.
Matt (2:21 PM)
Anthony, I think Rees is quicker with his delivery and reads, just certainly not with his feet. I doubt there is a dramatic difference between the two based on all I have seen, but like you said, that Week 1 decision will always be baffling to many for several obvious reasons.
Losing Cave is a huge loss. Golic stepped in against WF and played very well. Now that he will be starting, have you seen anything in practice for casue of concern with the QB exchange or line calls?
Matt (2:24 PM)
Gerald, we have not seen a second of practice since the season began. I believe there were a few instances in training camp, but I did not come on the beat until the week before the first game.
ND will surpass 250 rushing and 250 passing yards tomorrow and the defense will give 10 points or less...ND 45-Maryland 10, what do you think?
Matt (2:25 PM)
JR, I had 34-10. I don't think either of us will (or should) be too far off.
People are saying that Alabama should not be allowed to play for a National Championship since they didn't win their conference or division. Does logic like this not help independents like Notre Dame? How can you loss to the #1 team in the nation and be eliminated from National contention for not winning your division?
Matt (2:26 PM)
Nick, I don't think it hurts Notre Dame. For what it's worth, I love me a defensive slugfest like the one Bama-LSU put on. And, to be honest, I'm not convinced Bama isn't the second-best team in the country, which, in theory, is the whole point of the BCS, to get the top two teams to play each other. That being said, they got a shot at home and blew it, and if there are other undefeated teams (in addition to LSU) at the end of the season, they deserve the chance more.
Ralph (Retirement, MD)
Do you have a hard time looking at Randy Edsall without wanting to ask Maryland what was going through their head when they hired him?
Matt (2:28 PM)
Ralph, how is Retirement, Maryland? Something tells me I'm not anywhere near there, despite being in DC for the weekend. I think it should have a hard time looking at itself in the mirror without wanting to ask why it let you go.
Mac (West palm beach)
I started tebow on my fantasy team this week, what do you think?
Matt (2:29 PM)
Mac, I'm not a huge NFL guy, but I do know you just made enemies with half the people in this chat. (And best friends with the other half, if I've been following this Tebow story correctly.)
Can you update on all the injuries and how it will affect this team down the stretch? Thanks to all the veterans for their service!
Matt (2:31 PM)
Touche, Dan. Manti Te'o's been dealing with an ankle injury that flared up Saturday, though he's expected to play. Ethan Johnson will play for the first time since Oct. 1. Aaron Lynch should play through an ankle injury. Steve Filer (probable ACL) and Braxston Cave (foot) are out for the season. Theo Riddick's out this week with a hamstring injury. I think that's all ...
Matt (2:31 PM)
Kappy's gone for the year, too.
Ben (Ames, Iowa)
Who do you think is going to win the big ten legends this year? I'm thinking Iowa has the ability to do it. Go Hawks!!!
Matt (2:32 PM)
Ben, glad you're asking about that half of the division. If Nebraska wins tomorrow, I like them. If not, then I'll take the winner of Iowa-MSU tomorrow.
You've probably seen Michael Floyd as much as anyone this year. Where do you see him getting draft this year and how good of a NFL WR can he be?
Matt (2:34 PM)
Matt, he's a first-round talent. The biggest thing holding him back, of course, is questions about his off-field run-ins with alcohol and the law. If he can handle those questions OK, I think a few teams would be willing to take chances on him early.
John Anderson (Rochester, Michigan)
How badly does it hurt ND with the computers when we slow down in the fourth quarter, and don't beat teams by 50 when we can? We need to beat the daylight out of our opponents when the opportunity arises. We should be in the top 25. How in the hell is Baylor ranked?
Matt (2:36 PM)
John, is 59-33 over Air Force and 56-14 over Navy not enough? Every other game has been a loss or close, with the exception of Purdue (38-10). MSU was big on paper but remained undecided until the fourth quarter.
Ok how about this: Joe Paterno to ND. What do u think?
Matt (2:36 PM)
Normally I'd reply with a sarcastic comment or laugh at that, but just not feeling it this past week. Sorry, Shane.
Why does Notre Dame keep changing its helmet? I thought some things were sacred.
Matt (2:38 PM)
Dave, I don't know about saaacred ... I do think there's something to be said for being one of only a handful of teams that anyone can identify based on jersey and helmet, and ND is certainly one of them. I like the new shiny helmets but don't like the idea that they have four different helmets this season. Then again, the players and recruits love them.
Matt, is there a legitimate chance T'eo sticks around for 2012 or did Kelly push him out the door with his "Weiss Guys" comments.
Matt (2:40 PM)
Rich, there's definitely a legitimate chance he stays. Those comments stung, no doubt, but to rule him gone already is a large large stretch. I really wouldn't be surprised either way with him.
Matt, My theory on BK pulling Crist so fast was that he was never sold that he was the QB to lead them to the BCS, but felt like he should start him in the 1st game. When he had a bad first half that was all BK needed to see to make a change. What do you think?
Matt (2:42 PM)
Robb, I have a similar line of thinking, and BK did actually address some of this on a podcast with Ivan Maisel during the bye week. The offseason competition was, by all accounts, neck and neck. Tie goes to the runner, which, in this case, is the senior who busted his tail to bounce back from two potentially devastating injuries.
"If there are other undefeated teams at the end of the season, they deserve the chance more." Does that include Boise State?
Matt (2:42 PM)
Matt, in my eyes, yes. (Ducks for cover.)
Matt (2:42 PM)
Wouldn't include Houston, FWIW.
With the injury to Teo, do you see him playing at all this weekend, or will he only see limited playing time if anything so that he can heal up by Stanford?
Matt (2:43 PM)
Dave, it sounds like he'll play. It would take an awful lot to keep him off the field, that's for sure.
settle an argument for my bro & i he says If NotreDame finishes undefeated nxt year they wont play for ntl champ cause they r Independant, Is that true?
Matt (2:45 PM)
Joe, if ND runs the table next year with that schedule it will be in the national title game. And if I win the lottery tomorrow ...
Aaron (West Philadelphia Born And Raised)
4 different helmets..shamrocks on the side..ozzy in the stadium during the game...talks of field turf??? too much change in tradition?
Matt (2:47 PM)
Like the hometown, Aaron. I think so, but that's one man's opinion who has no real ties to Notre Dame. The fan base and alums and players are what matter. Players love it all. I'm not against change or progress, but I do think some of it (ahem, helmets) are a bit much and unnecessary.
Are we ranked this week with a victory? I have wishful dreams of an Orange Bowl berth still. Yes, I know I am crazy!
Matt (2:47 PM)
Pat, probably not but certainly possible. And yes, you are.
Matt - will Golson find any playing time this year or is Kelly saving him?
Matt (2:48 PM)
Kent, he'll redsh ... I mean, not play this year barring several injuries ahead of him. No point this far along, anyway.
Mark (St. Louis)
Matt...I was at the Bama-LSU tilt last weekend. I found the atmosphere to be much more electric in Tuscaloosa than it was in South Bend during my senior year at ND...1989. How do you rate the SEC experience versus that at ND, especially when the Irish are playing well? Thanks.
Matt (2:50 PM)
Mark, sadly, I have yet to attend or cover a game in an SEC venue. I'm young, there's time. Those experiences seem like second to none from afar, however.
Shane is sick and that question should not have even been posted.
Matt (2:51 PM)
Willow, fair enough. Sadly, I've heard much worse all week, pretty much everywhere I go. My apologies if that offended you or anyone else.
Andy (Vestal NY)
You look like Jeff Faine (compliment) anyway, Does ND have a shot at beating Stanford the last game of the season? And do you think they would have a shot at a National title if Rees began the yearas the starting QB?
Matt (2:53 PM)
Andy, I think I may need a new mug then, ha. (Not sure if that's a compliment either, but thanks?) To get to your questions: I don't think they win, though if Stanford loses this week and is exposed in one way or another against Oregon, there could certainly be a chance. And no, I don't think they're in the national title picture regardless. Maybe they beat USF, but Rees was there for the entirety of the UM and USC games.
Matt, all I keep reading is the Irish would be headed for the Champs Sports Bowl, and would play Florida State or Georgia Tech. Who do you think matches up better with ND?
Matt (2:54 PM)
Dan, haven't seen enough of either but I do think FSU is more talented. And I do think GTech is a favorable bowl matchup given the time you have to prepare for the triple option.
An offshoot of this Penn State crisis is that I really don't feel like bad mouthing Kelly anymore, given what Joe Pa failed to do.
Matt (2:55 PM)
Willow, I'm certainly trying to put a lot of things into perspective now, that's for sure.
To answer mark's question, I was at the LSU-BAMA game the first year Saban returned to Baton Rouge, and a couple of games in the swamp. The USC game a few weeks ago was the most electric I 've experienced in 20+ games in ND stadium, sadly, even it didn't not compare to the SEC atmosphere in my opinion
Matt (2:56 PM)
There you go, Mark.
Matt (2:56 PM)
Have time for just a few more ...
Mel Kiper (ESPN)
If Te'o does leave, who would be the harder person for the Irish to replace next year: him or Floyd?
Matt (2:57 PM)
You tell me, Mel.
Matt-If the Irish can get out early, and presumably force MD to punt often, do you see BK trying some new punt returners, possibly even Toma or Atkinson to see what they can do?
Matt (2:59 PM)
JR, I think the Irish are who they are in that department. Not to downplay punt returns, and not to excuse them, because it's a bad situation, but we're going on 10 games into the season now without a legitimate answer. I don't expect any big changes. Maybe Floyd will finally get a returnable punt and we can see what he does. Also, I think Austin Collinsworth gets a fair shot at them next year as well.
Matt (3:00 PM)
All right, folks. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the weekend. Same time next week.