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October 25, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Fortuna

Matt Fortuna
  (1:56 PM)

Welcome aboard gang. What's on your mind for this weekend's game?

Steve (Ohio)

Matt, I really see Oklahoma having pproblems with Notre Dames Defensive line...I noticed you are taking the Sooners but I expect Notre dame to establish the run and ND's Defensive front to shut down Oklahoma. I am just shocked on this one with everyone taking the Sooners ...am I missing something? Will Oklahoma be able to run the ball?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:00 PM)

Steve, I'm not as shocked that everyone's taking the Sooners as I am that the line is so big. But Oklahoma is good, very good. I think ND can run the ball pretty well, but the biggest key on defense, as you mentioned, is getting to Landry Jones. It's not that the OL is great or that he's mobile -- neither are true at this point -- but he is remarkably quick and efficient, getting the ball away early. ND has to disrupt his rhythm and force him into mistakes if it wants to win.

Kevin (Dallas)

Come on Matt, man up!! The lead up to your prediction talks all about why ND should win and then you get to the main event and you admit you just can't get over the hump and pick them. WEAK.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:01 PM)

I suppose if I agreed with everything ND fans said that would make me a real man ...

Joe (West Lafayette, IN)

If the Irish beats Oklahoma this Saturday, do you think they will jump ahead of Oregon in the BCS? Even Kansas State (if they beat Texas Tech)?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:03 PM)

Joe, I think they will jump Kansas State, probably not Oregon, though the computers don't like the Ducks. You have comparable opponents with KSU and ND in Miami (which they both blew out) and OU (which they both would've beaten on the road). Despite the WVU rout last week, I think ND has the overall schedule edge right now.

Joe (Raleigh)

Why after every team ND beats, all of a sudden now ND hasn't played anyone. Everyone was high on Miami's "high octane" offense and ND hasn't seen anything like it and we know the end result of that. Can you shed some light on why no one thinks ND can win against an Oklahoma team who hasn't played anyone close to ND previous opponents with the exception of Kansas St.?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:06 PM)

I know I was in the minority, but I never thought Miami was any good and was not surprised to see ND flat-out dominate the Canes like that. Oklahoma is much better, especially on the defensive line. ND should try to establish the run, but no way does it put up nearly 200 yards in a quarter the way it did against the Canes. And Landry Jones is a much better QB than Stephen Morris, despite Morris' hot streak entering the ND game. I agree that the Big 12 is overrated, especially on defense, and we saw what happened to OU in its one test against a good D, but it remains a tall task to win in Norman.

Brad (Benton, KY)

Hey Matt. First of all, thinking about this game all week is giving me ulcers. Notre Dame's front 7 can get pressure on any qb in the nation I think, so getting pressure on Jones shouldn't be much of an issue. Will Kelly start running the ball more to control the clock and keep OU's offense off the field? In my opinion, we have one of the best running back cores in the country. Thanks for the great work.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:07 PM)

Take it down a notch, Brad. It's just football, and ND is a BCS-bowl team regardless of this weekend. It's not the pressure on Jones as much as it's his ability to recognize plays early and get rid of it in time. I agree with your formula though: BK is hardly a TOP guy, but he should give that a go this week.

Jared (South Carolina)

Oklahoma has got to be expecting a run first offense from the Irish this week, so should we expect to see play action passing to stat the game in hopes of opening up holes for the run, or do you think BK stays with the run first mentality?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:08 PM)

Someone didn't read my what to watch this morning: http://espn.go.com/blog/notre-dame-football/post/_/id/10597/what-to-watch-week-9-at-oklahoma

Bob (Seattle)

If it's 4th down, late in the game, and you're down by 3 at the opponent's 34 yard line, what do you do?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:09 PM)

Need more variables -- wind, TOs, etc. -- but I'd probably say go for it.

Mike (Virginia)

Matt,Has anyone ever told you that you look AND sound like Mike Golic Jr.? It freaks me out when you interview him.Notre Dame - 27 Oklahoma - 21MikeND Grad 2010

Matt Fortuna
  (2:10 PM)

Never heard that in my life, actually. Pretty funny, though you're overestimating my size just a bit.

Brian McGlynn (Washington, D.C.)

With all the comparisons made by ESPN and wrtiers the past few weeks I have yet to see one between LSU and ND. Is it possible that they are two of the most comparable teams in the FBS. Both pride themselves on defense, have had inconsistencies at QB, and have had a sometimes outstanding running game that is at other times stiffled. Would this not be a likely BCS bowl matchup for those reasons?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:13 PM)

Brian, not a bad analogy. I haven't seen enough of the Tigers yet, but doesn't sound too far off based on basic blueprints.

Stephen (New York)

Hi Matt,With everyone talking so much about what it will take to stop the "Belldozer" when he runs inside the 5, what do you think the chances are that Oklahoma uses him to throw a pass in the redzone and try to catch ND's defense off guard?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:14 PM)

Another observation that has yet to really cross my mind, though I guess without David Shaw coaching him this remains a possibility.

Bill (Minneapolis)

Notre Dame's rushing yards on Saturday... Over/Under 250? Result in each situation?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:14 PM)

If it's over I think they win. But I don't think it will be.

Jon (Des Moines)

Can't argue with your prediction this weekend. Do you think ND can win without some kind of special teams/defensive score(s)?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:15 PM)

Yes, though it will need some big defensive plays to set the offense up nicely. BK talked this week about doing a better job on kick returns, too, as GA3 has yet to really get going back there the way he did last year.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:16 PM)

Lots of good, different questions this week. Glad the readers aren't treating this "like any other game."

Jon (Des Moines)

Looking ahead. ND shocks the football world and wins this weekend. Do the Irish then control their own destiny over undefeated Oregon, FLA and KSU?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:19 PM)

Not only are the readers not treating it like any other game, they're looking ahead! Jon, Either Florida or Bama will knock the other out, and I think if ND wins out it will have a better resume than KSU. Oregon? Not so sure. The Ducks' schedule is backloaded and they have a couple big road trips coming up, along with a potential 13th game. I have a hard time seeing an undefeated 13-0 Pac-12 team surrendering its seed to a 12-0 independent. Would be kind of odd/ironic given all the conference talk that has followed the Irish this past year.

Logan (Ga)

To blitz or not to blitz? Do the Irish drop 8 to help the young DBs or do they try to pressure Jones into bad throws?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:20 PM)

Not sure which way they'll go, but I'd blitz and take as much pressure off that secondary as possible. Could have a cumulative effect, even if they're not getting sacks.

Jay Z (Cleveland, OH)

Matt. I see a lot of people saying ND will get rolled and blown out. I understand Oklahoma has a solid offense, but are we being fooled? The BIG12 has shown this season that they like to skip playing defense. Have the last 3 weeks shown who Oklahoma really is? Or are the defenses that bad?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:24 PM)

Shouldn't you be in Brooklyn, Hov? The last three weeks have been a little bit of both, though you cannot overlook the latter. ND is not going to miss every tackle the way Texas did. And it is going to get more pressure up front than any of the other teams did. The question, as always, is how Landry Jones responds to it.

Darrell (ATL. GA)

Matt, great work covering the IRISH!! Do you think there is a chance we have a mixture of Golson and HENDRIX this week against OU, as to change the offensive attack into something OU has yet to see on film? It would be pretty special to have Hendrix in the mix and even on the field at the same time as Golson!

Matt Fortuna
  (2:25 PM)

Thanks Darrell. I have a hard time seeing that. Hendrix is bigger and can run between the tackles with less of a risk than if Golson would, but I don't see him bringing a whole lot/different to the table from what Golson does.

Pat Whit (Bloomington)

I know it probably won't be against a high powered offense like the Sooners, but when do we try to put Devonte Neal at the CB position and see what he can do?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:26 PM)

Not anytime this season, that's for sure.

Pat Whit (Bloomington)

I don't doubt that Golson will make some mistakes in Saturday's game (seeing as he looked fairly lost against Stanford before the concussion). How many strikes will he get until "Red Zone" Tommy comes in?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:26 PM)

Are two turnovers too many?

Jon (Des Moines)

Since ND is clearly going to win on Saturday, does Te'o have a realistic chance at the Heisman with a big performance?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:28 PM)

Clearly.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:28 PM)

(If ND wins, I think he sets himself up nicely for a visit to NY.)

Jack (Chicago)

Traitor amongst us, Matt. You say they have to get to Jones, hasn't that been the strength of the ND defense? Isn't OU's offensive line banged up too?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:30 PM)

Traitor?

Mike (Salt Lake)

Matt, What are your bowl predictions for ND this week? Does it depend on how this game goes?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:33 PM)

IF they win -- and I picked them to lose -- I think the national title game is a realistic shot. If they lose, I say Fiesta Bowl so long as Oklahoma doesn't win the Big 12 title. If that happens, the guys in Zona will probably want to avoid the rematch and ND would then likely get scooped up by the Sugar Bowl.

Bill (South Bend, IN)

Is Oklahoma on a roll because they are good, or because they've faced two of the worst D's in the country in Texas and Kansas? I didn't hear anyone talking about how great ND looked when they ran Navy and Miami off the field. What is the difference? ND by 10+.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:36 PM)

Texas, for all of its faults, is still much better than Navy and Miami. It's worth repeating: Oklahoma is a very good team. It lost by FIVE to a Kansas State team that's ranked third in the country, in a game KSU forced 3 TOs and OU forced none, including giving up a defensive touchdown. Blake Bell's only fumble came that game, too. Not taking anything away from the Wildcats, but A LOT has to fall ND's way for them to pull this off.

Mike (DC)

ND wins the TO margin, doesn't give up a chunk ST play, and runs for 150 yards. Do they win?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:37 PM)

Yes.

Dave ( Cincinnati, OH) [via mobile]

If Notre Dame were to run the table do you see any way they are excluded from the title game in Miami?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:38 PM)

If an SEC team and Oregon run the table, it will make things interesting. Two 13-0 teams that had an extra tough opponent in the conference title game vs. a 12-0 team. Of course, these things usually have ways of settling themselves, and there's a lot of football left to be played.

Susanne (Chicago)

Hi Matty Ice! Love the blog! What wrinkle do you predict BK will roll out for this matchup? More option? Blitzing? Goody throwing a pass?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:38 PM)

LOUIS NIX throwing a pass!

Matt Fortuna
  (2:38 PM)

(Seriously, how cool would it be to see that guy in the backfield?)

Scooter (Southeast of South Bend)

Matt, are you lucky enough to be going to this game? And if so, do you need to bring along someone to clean your glasses? I'm available.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:40 PM)

I don't wear glasses. But I think Jerry needs you for this week's Giants game, just like he did in Week 1.

Chad (Afghanistan)

Matt, Seems the ND offense has been very vanilla for most of the season. Do you think BK has done this to bring in a package just for a big game like Oklahoma or is the offense going through growing pains with its QB situation?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:42 PM)

Chad, more than likely the latter. They've been in too many close games to hold things back so far. That doesn't mean we couldn't see something new or different this weekend, though.

Everett (Florida)

Could be BK gets as close to a Holtz game plan as possible here in Norman this weekend. Strong rushing attack, ball (clock) control and knock em in the mouth defensive effort...a throw back

Matt Fortuna
  (2:45 PM)

That's what I would do, Everett. Oklahoma probably isn't used to something like that in the Big 12.

Glenn (Tulsa)

If ND were to win this game, do you think it's still possible that the national media will say that Oklahoma isn't really very good and was overrated?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:45 PM)

If Landry Jones throws five interceptions and ND wins 50-0, yes. But who cares?

Mike (Duluth, MN)

Matt, do you think ND's offensive game plan will include some designed rushes for Everett to keep the Sooner defense honest?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:46 PM)

Yes, that's the biggest reason he's in there, to avoid the rush and to make things happen/extend plays with his feet. I do think they try to get him loose on the ground game early though to keep OU's defense honest. For all the good that Tommy Rees has done this year, he simply doesn't have that in his arsenal.

Dave (Cincinnati) [via mobile]

With this really only ND's second true road game do you see the possibility of this game being " to big" for Golson? If he struggles early on like in the Michigan game, will Kelly have a quick hook to Rees?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:48 PM)

I don't think he'll get overcome by the moment. That MSU game, while not as good of a win in retrospect, still carried the label of primetime road game against a top-10 team, and he handled all of that very well. If he's anything like he was against Michigan though, he will get the hook, and deservedly so.

Gabe (Chicago)

Do you prefer O'Rourke's, or Fiddler's Hearth?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:49 PM)

Never been to Fiddler's, actually.

Brian (Grand Rapids, MI)

1) Will ND's close wins be forgotten if they run the table and Oregon runs the table which would most likely put Oregon at number 2?2) Would a 1 loss Alabama play for the National Title over an undeafeted ND and Oregon or K-State?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:51 PM)

I'm guessing a one-loss Tide wouldn't get in over 2 other undefeateds, though the nature of that loss -- especially if it's in the SEC title game -- will make the situation interesting.

Chris (Cortland, N.Y.)

Does a loss Saturday knock the Irish out of the Top 10 and if so what happens if they run the table after Saturday and both Oregon and Kansas State also lose? Where do the Irish sit?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:52 PM)

Depends on the nature of the loss, but I think a close game has them in the 10 range. If your scenario unfolds, I can picture another all-SEC BCS-title game.

Matt Fortuna
  (2:52 PM)

Have time for a few more guys.

Mike Castillo (Placentia. Ca)

With a 2 quarterback system ND's been using this year (im sure it's not by choice lol) Do you think the Irish will have what it takes to beat OU's D that is "somewhat good"?? .... At the end of the day, Everett Golson has to show up to play and not turn the ball over. Our D can keep us in the game, we just have to score points and not MISS ANY OPPORTUNITIES in the red ZONE..... 27-24 Irish! BOOM!

Matt Fortuna
  (2:55 PM)

Can't see ND scoring 27, and I can't see OU scoring 24 and losing.

Jason (Austin, TX)

In your what to watch, you mentioned Chris Brown ... Your reasoning behind this?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:56 PM)

He's a speedy deep threat who we haven't seen much of the last few weeks. Perfect guy to catch OU off-guard early. ND tried this on the first play vs. Michigan but Golson badly underthrew him and was picked off.

Jack (Texas)

The PAC 12 is full of high octane offenses that don't know how to play D so ND wins 21-10. The running backs are completely underrated and will have a great weekend!

Matt Fortuna
  (2:57 PM)

Good for the Pac-12. Wait. What?

Matt Fortuna
  (2:57 PM)

That's all from me today folks. Enjoy the weekend. Safe travels to those going.