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September 27, 3:30 PM ET
Chat with Matt Fortuna

Matt Fortuna
  (3:33 PM)

Howdy!

Matt Fortuna
  (3:33 PM)

Let's see what's on everyone's minds today ...

Jared (South Carolina)

I think the question for the rest of the season is can our D hold teams to little to none points or will our Offense start to score more?

Matt Fortuna
  (3:35 PM)

Jared, the defense has been outstanding, and the offense has been good enough so far. They need more production out of the passing game. As good as the D has been, you just can't expect them to continue this pace all season.

Bob Diaco (Notre Dame, IN)

The defense was Freddy Krueger out there. Elijah Shumate is a wolfman. Zeke Motta is Lisa Voorhees. Keivarae Russell is Alien vs. Predator.

Matt Fortuna
  (3:36 PM)

In the ESPN.com Notre Dame chat? That's a shame.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Do you see ND leaving Norman undefeated as more of a possibility after the last weekend's action? How high is your confidence meter at this point?

Matt Fortuna
  (3:37 PM)

Tony, I thought Oklahoma was overrated entering the season and I think that even more now. Notre Dame has little margin for error, though, and that Stanford game looks a lot more difficult than any of us imagined preseason.

Tom (Mandeville, Jamaica)

Why has Amir Carlisle not seen the field? Has his ankle not fully recovered, or are the coaches "redshirting" him?

Matt Fortuna
  (3:38 PM)

Tom, probably a combination of both. They have more than enough backfield depth as is, so no waste in rushing back a guy who may or may not be healthy who happens to have a redshirt option available as well.

Joel Liebert (Greeneville)

Wouldn't it make more sense if ND had cancelled the series with Purdue? Michigan is much more relevant than Purdue right now. Also, this rivalry is against the top 2 best teams historically. Purdue was good... at one point. Finally, the recruits seem to love this matchup it as there were 10 recruits taking official visits to the game and countless others taking unofficial visits. What was Swarbick thinking?

Matt Fortuna
  (3:41 PM)

Joel, the Purdue one is independent of the Michigan one, though I am sure adjustments are coming to that and to the MSU one, too. Notre Dame had to get out of it before Saturday's game to get out of the contract as soon as possible, as there was a three-year warning clause. I don't think this is the end of the rivalry as much as the first step toward the Irish making things more flexible for themselves come ACC scheduling time.

Aaron (Jackson. Mississippi)

Will it be different for the Irish to play at Soldier Field next week? Sure the weather is similar, but does Breian Kelly treat this like a normal road game? Or is more like the Irish in Ireland?

Matt Fortuna
  (3:43 PM)

Aaron, I wouldn't say either. It's 90 minutes away from home and there are a lot of kids on the team who grew up as Bears fans, but I don't think there's much to adjust for. It will certainly be a pro-ND crowd.

Corey (UT)

BYU comes to South Bend here in a couple weeks. What kind of game should we expect?

Matt Fortuna
  (3:45 PM)

Corey, before the season I thought BYU had a very good chance of winning, and that was a game I was very much looking forward to. Now? The Cougars have QB issues and have been sub-par outside of the opener against an overrated WSU team. ND should be a clear favorite, but again, with the way ND's offense moves, it can't take anything for granted and will probably be a few mistakes away from losing, assuming the D continues to perform at a very high level.

Freaky Deaky (Lovetown, USA)

Do you remember it ever being so loud in the stadium? What a game!

Matt Fortuna
  (3:46 PM)

I've only been on the beat two years, but it was certainly the loudest. Bravo, fans. Though I still say the play on the field dictates the atmosphere, and not the other way around.

Marc A (Dallas)

Assumning that ND and Stanford meet in South Bend undefeated, are there any other high profile games that week that would prevent College Gameday from coming to South Bend? Keep up the great work by the way Matt.

Matt Fortuna
  (3:47 PM)

Thanks Marc. The Red River Shootout comes to mind, so that's certainly a possibility. (Note, as always, that I have ZERO to do with these types of decisions.)

lenox (chile)

how much do you thing Golston can progress within the season? do you see him evolving to be a russel wilson type QB or the expectacions are much smalles? also what about Gunner Kiel?

Matt Fortuna
  (3:49 PM)

Lenox, Russell Wilson is a pro quarterback. Everett Golson is basically a freshman. So no, there will be no comparisons between the two anytime this season. Golson is running a much more complicated offense than the one Wilson did in Madison, too. I don't see a good reason why Gunner Kiel would play at this point, but crazier things have happened.

John (Fort Wayne)

Do you feel the lack of a running game ha sbeen due to the defenses we played or weakness in our offensive line

Matt Fortuna
  (3:51 PM)

John, I don't think the running game has been lacking. Maybe in the explosive play department, yes, but outside of the Purdue game it's been fairly consistent and, for the most part, the backbone of this offense, especially in late-game situations. And yes, Purdue's and MSU's d-lines are both exceptional.

Brock (Silver Spring, MD)

Assuming the Defense doesn't do a total '180' the rest of the season, ND will be in most games; but what is realistic expectation in October with games vs. Miami, Stanford, BYU, & Oklahoma? 2-2? 3-1?

Matt Fortuna
  (3:54 PM)

Brock, I don't see why the most optimistic fan doesn't see 4-0 as a possibility. Of course, that's assuming a lot goes right: that this front-7 continues its tear, that the secondary doesn't hit a rough patch, that the offense protects the ball and develops a passing game. There are enough questions to make a fan worry about every game, but the team's ability to grind it out lately has to be encouraging.

Frank (Indiana)

While it was bold to come out throwing against UM do you think Kelly should have eased Golson into the game more by using the Running Backs moe early and running short routs before taking shots downfield? It does show the confidence he has in Golsons arm

Matt Fortuna
  (3:55 PM)

Frank, I don't think it was too bold. That throw to Chris Brown on the first play from scrimmage was awful, and Brown had his man beat, too. Golson also made an awful decision on that second pick, throwing it into the end zone after running out of the pocket (with two holds, no less). He's still developing and has better days ahead, but he can't make careless mistakes like he did against Michigan.

Reid (South Bend)

Do you think Notre Dame could actually use a 2 quarterback system to its advantage over the course of the season?

Matt Fortuna
  (3:57 PM)

Reid, the whatever-you-want-to-call-it-system isn't going anywhere anytime soon, that's for sure. Not with the QB of the future possessing only four starts under his belt and the best No. 2 man in the country behind him. And not with plenty to play for this season.

Brad (Benton, KY)

This may be an obvious question, but is the main concern going into the bye week fixing up the qb play? And when will Eifert become a threat again? I know that when he's on the field he's double teamed and the main focus which opens up things for everyone else, but we still gotta get the ball in his hands.

Matt Fortuna
  (3:58 PM)

Brad: Yes and yes. QB play needs to improve if ND wants to make a serious run this season, and getting Eifert the ball more has to be a point of emphasis. Another WR needs to step up when Eifert is covered the way he is, too.

Biz-Blak (Washington, DC)

I know the offense is shaky at best right now; and I know Tommy Rees is good enough to beat Purdue & Michigan - but is pulling E. Golson from the game everytime he makes a couple of mistakes the right thing to do? Isn't it stunting his growth on some level?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:01 PM)

I think the Purdue game pull certainly raised some eyebrows, but no one can argue the Michigan one. He simply wasn't locked-in, for whatever reason, and BK had to make the switch there. Yes, it's natural to wonder about his mental state after getting pulled, but winning games is the most important thing right now, and those decisions have proven to be the right ones.

Tyler Moorehead (South Bend)

If developing Everett Golson is priority #2 to winning games, wouldn't it make more sense to have Tommy be the starter, get a big lead, and put in Golson once we are cruising? You know, like the rest of CFB has done forever?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:04 PM)

Hey Tyler. It's certainly an odd situation. But rarely will you see a teammate as good as Tommy Rees, who can just step in at any moment and play the same way he would've been. BK is in the delicate situation of having to win now while developing for the future, and Everett Golson, for all of his faults so far, simply has skills and potential that none of the other QBs have. I don't think throwing him in the middle of games will do him any favors.

Matt (Baltimore)

*JoelI imagine losing Michigan had as much to do with which of ND's game contracts had the easier out clause as anything else.

Matt Fortuna
  (4:05 PM)

Matt, I'm 99.9 percent sure you are correct.

Rob (Boston, MA)

Do you agree that anything below 9-3 would be a severe disappointment at this point? And percentage-wise, what are the chances ND ends up in a BCS bowl?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:06 PM)

Rob, yes, quick starts quickly inflate expectations. Just look at the Pittsburgh Pirates. Another 8-win season would not be satisfying for anyone, I don't think. Right now I say ND's chances are better than 50/50, but that can all change quickly.

Brad (Benton, KY)

How much do you think these new uniforms for the Miami game will become a distraction if any?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:07 PM)

Distraction to who?

Adam W. (Sorin Hall, Notre Dame)

Any commentary on the poor graphics of NCAA13? They make Toma Reeze look like Timmy Tebow!

Matt Fortuna
  (4:08 PM)

I somehow missed Toma Reeze Saturday night while watching the game ...

Colin (Kalamazoo)

In regards to the bye week, do you think it hinders Notre Dame in the sense that it breaks up their momentum after starting out 4-0, or do you think it comes at a welcome time after two emotionally draining wins over MSU and UM?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:09 PM)

Colin, bye weeks are always welcome, especially when you play the schedule that ND has. That trip to Dublin, coupled with so many young players in key roles, makes this the perfect time for ND to gather itself before the October stretch.

Brian (Notre Dame)

How do you expect the offense to evolve over the course of the season? Do we see Rees or Golson in the end?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:09 PM)

Both, barring any perfect days from Golson.

Jake (Lake Forest, IL)

I was surprised to see so little of Cierre Wood down the stretch in the Michigan game. I know Kelly said it was "Theo's night," but do you read anything more into his limited touches against Michigan? it seemed strange to me, especially with Cierre's speed and ability to get outside.

Matt Fortuna
  (4:10 PM)

Jake, I agree. I was a little befuddled to not see Cierre as much in the second half. We'll see if that changes this month.

Brian (Cincinnati, OH)

Why does about half the fan base spell Golson as Gholston or in some way including a 't'. That would be a DE at MSU, not our QB.

Matt Fortuna
  (4:11 PM)

Fans, care to answer Brian? (I'm wondering myself.)

Joe (Greenwich, CT)

A handful of people have put Te'o in their top five Heisman lists following the Michigan game. Does he have a legitimate shot at (at least) going to New York or will anti-defense prejudice take over?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:13 PM)

Joe, if the ceremony were this weekend then yes. But it is just so hard for a defensive player to keep up that production all season long, though if ND wins it will keep him in the spotlight. Look at Honey Badger last year: He wasn't even the best cornerback on his own team, but he made many additional plays in the return game for a team that ran the table in the regular season.

Tony K (Ohio)

Do you think with this bye week the irish will be able to work with golson to get him more comfortable with the offense and get it going more the following week against Miami?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:14 PM)

Tony, that would be priority No. 1 in my book, that's for sure.

Biz-Blak (Washington, DC)

ND's remaining 8 games are filled with very dangerous opponents including Miami, Stanford, BYU, Oklahoma, at BC (always tough) and at USC - what would their final record have to be to consider this a successful season? 9-3? 10-2? 11-1?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:16 PM)

I think nine wins or above with this schedule is definitely a success. When's the last time ND could boast a 9-win team? 2006? You can't get down on that, though if they happened in certain fashions that could be cause for concern. Also, look at the fall of many elite, especially in the Big Ten. A 9-3 record does not rule out a BCS bid, which would certainly be a success.

Bobby J (Philadelphia (PA))

I realize I am getting quite ahead of myself here, but let's say Alabama finishes #1 and 13-0. Who would they play if ND finished 12-0, Fla State finished 13-0, and Oregon finished 13-0?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:19 PM)

Bobby, you are getting way ahead of yourself, but for argument's sake, that would be interesting. I have a hard time seeing Oregon or FSU getting leaped if they run the table. Then again, if ND runs the table against this schedule, it would be hard to keep them out. Then AGAIN again, if ND wins every game the way it has so far then that could signal trouble in a potential title game against Bama. The Irish forced six TOs against Michigan and won 13-6 at home. Bama didn't get nearly as many generous throws from Denard and beat Michigan 41-14 on a neutral site. That team, and program, is simply operating at another level from the rest of the nation right now.

Blue (Elkton, Maryland)

Glad they won last week but have concerns about their ability to step up their game. Yes defense was good but also believe they got a bit lucky....your thoughts

Matt Fortuna
  (4:20 PM)

Blue, anytime the other team turns the ball over six times, that is a game you should runaway with, regardless of how well the D played. Michigan did itself no favors with a HB pass into the end zone, and Denard was just awful. That being said, a win is a win and that's what matters at the end of the day.

Matt Fortuna
  (4:20 PM)

Have time for a few more, guys.

Collin (Chicago)

I CAN'T BELIEVE THE IRISH DON'T TAKE THE FIELD THIS WEEKEND!! WHAT WILL I DO ON SATURDAY!?!?!?!?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:21 PM)

Collin, watch other games, or pennant-race baseball. Actually, you're in CHI, head on over to the Ryder Cup, no?

Steve (Charlotte)

Any rumors floating around that Tee Shepard will return to the Bend next year a la Julius Jones or Darren Walls?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:21 PM)

Steve, I just can't see that happening. Plain and simple.

Lion-O (Topeka, KS)

What's your score prediction for the Miami game? Is it close? They have a lot of athletes but don't seem to put out the product on the field.

Matt Fortuna
  (4:22 PM)

Too early. You'll get one Thursday. But yes, ND should win this one.

Matt (Boise)

Is Manti back in Hawaii or still in South Bend?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:22 PM)

Matt, I believe he flew to Hawaii yesterday.

Ryan Shea (Elmhurst, IL)

is it posible that kendal more coms onto the feild as afullback since he doenst get any play time behind manti teo like owen marecic?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:23 PM)

When's the last time ND used a fullback in the BK era?

Jon (Utah)

Matt, what game do you think the rest of the season has potential to be a let down for the Irish?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:24 PM)

Jon, all of them. The team is not good enough offensively to take plays off or cruise by anyone, except Navy. They are good enough, however, to potentially win them all, which is more important.

Fortuna Follower (Fortunation)

Greetings Matt! When does Te?o rejoin the team? Will there be any over lapping of teams next week in Chicago? Say a J.Peppers talking with the Dline or Briggs/Urlk talking with Te?o and the crew or is that strictly forbidden? I figured I would get away with multiple questions considering I from Fortunation. GO IRISH!!!

Matt Fortuna
  (4:25 PM)

Fortunation: the most beautiful place in the world. No clue on the plans for Bears pep talks or anything of the sort. Wonder if Devin Hester has any words from his fellow Canes?

Rand (Mishawaka)

So what has happened to that good ol' ND running game we saw in week 1? The o-line has had some trouble opening up holes these past few weeks, any thoughts?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:25 PM)

Yeah: They haven't played Navy the last three games.

Tom (Chicago)

What was your prediction on ND's record going into the year and have you revised it after the hot start?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:26 PM)

Tom, I said 8-4 and thought I was being optimistic. I'm not a flip-flopper, so I'll stick with that and deal with the humiliation should the Irish keep this hot start going.

John (New Hampshire)

If you had to predict right now, does ND finish 10-2 and in the BCS?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:27 PM)

I think that has a good chance of happening. (What, did I say 8-4 earlier or something?!)

freddie prinze, jr (LA)

it's still early, but Go Irish! i love the start but the schedule is really tough. hopefully the next 2 seasons ND can prove that a high academic institution can also win football games. i know the NFL doesn't care about high ethics guys but do you think recruits realize that 98% of great college players dont' make their life's work the NFL? if recruits realized this or had a strong parent telling them this, why would any of them go anywhere but ND, Stanford, etc.,? answer: they cant' get in, right?

Matt Fortuna
  (4:27 PM)

Freddie, you've done all right for yourself in Hollywood. But the answer to your question, generally speaking, is yes.

Bob (Seattle)

Pulling Golson from the Purdue game makes perfect sense. At this stage, if you need a 2 minute offense QB, you go to Rees, who's a much better passer. If Golson wants to finish a game, he'll need to play better and build a bigger lead (e.g. MSU). Make stupid mistakes in a close game and get pulled. If he's not strong enough mentally to recover, then he's not a championship caliber QB and ND is better off with Rees as the starting QB this year.

Matt Fortuna
  (4:29 PM)

Bob, I don't disagree. But many fans have a short-term memory. They had nicknamed Tommy Rees "Tommy Turnover," after all. The decision in the Purdue game obviously worked out, but can you imagine if it backfired? Golson was playing very well until the last few drives of the game. But yes, you cannot ask for more than what Rees has given you in his role. And you certainly can ask more from Golson.

james (minnesota)

why are the big ten teams so weak nationally

Matt Fortuna
  (4:31 PM)

James, read colleague and friend Adam Rittenberg's terrific enterprise piece from yesterday, covering it all in regard to the Big Ten's downfall: http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/page/football-120925Rittenberg/many-theories-big-ten-conference-poor-performance

Matt Fortuna
  (4:31 PM)

That's all from me today, guys. Good luck this weekend without a game.