Welcome aboard, gang. What's on everyone's minds?
Matt, why do you have ND ranked where you have them? Do you think Oregon and KState have played better teams to this point, or are you looking into the future a bit and the expectations that those games bring? Help us understand obviously as an Irish fan I think they deserve to be in the top two but from your perspective what is it that keeps them from being there in your mind?
Jared, for the record, I have no official vote in any poll. We just do our ESPN.com power rankings each week, where I have ND No. 2. Why? Because I simply think Oregon is the best team in the country, and I think Notre Dame is slightly better than Kansas State. Of course, that is just my personal opinion, which means absolutely nothing and could be wrong. I think every team has a case to be made for the top two spots, but the simple fact of the matter is that is incredibly tough to jump teams ahead of you that don't lose. Oregon and KSU started the season ranked ahead of the Irish and, despite ND's perfect record, it has had trouble putting away not-so-good teams, so it's tough for some to argue that the other teams should drop despite them taking care of business and looking good doing it.
Heads up Write an aricle showing the critics of ESPN how bad the SEC schedule Non Conference year in and year out. No team should ever be allowed to play for a National Championship playing Division II schools, especially in November.
Does it really matter when your conference is that good. The SEC has teams FOUR THROUGH NINE in the BCS standings. That is unheard of.
Hey Big Tuna,Last week my senses were right calling the A&M upset, Klein was not concussed so the K-State loss didn't happen (not that I wanted him to be hurt)... This week I don't quite have as much of the same feeling but if the Tuna agrees I may just believe! Baylor wins in a shootout and Stanford gives Oregon a game!!? Give it to us Tuna it's what the people want to see!!!Question: If Starkist is chicken of the sea, would that make you chicken of St. Mary's or St. Joseph's Lake??? Get back to us on your preference.
"THE" Tuna? That's a new one, ha. I have a hard time seeing any of the three fall this weekend, though I think Stanford will give Oregon a good game. The Ducks are hurting.
I've heard lots of talk surrounding Cierre and this being his last home game. Do you have any news on him and whether he is leaning one way or the other? Also, what about Nix III?
Don't have news either way. I'd GUESS Wood leaves and Nix stays, but I don't know.
Given all the statistics out there, about how dominant the Notre Dame defense has been, the strength of schedule, not facing FCS teams, and the like, why is it more pollsters aren't giving ND it's due. I can understand some, or maybe even half, but it seems like absolutely no one is giving ND credit.
See: Nov. 3, 2012 vs. Pitt (3 OT)
Again, not my doing, but the way these things work.
Forgive me if you've answered this already but was there a time, before this year, that the Notre Dame Captains donned "C's" on their uniforms?
Good question, was wondering the same thing. Any ND historians here to help out?
Any updates on Hounshell (sp.) and Schwenke (sp)? This defensive line has been outstanding and I think a big part of that has been the depth. I know Hounshell had not played until recently - shoudl we expect to see more minutes from him? How about Schwenke? I think he hurt the shoulder vs. Pitt - but then we did not see him at all against BC. Louis could really use a rotation, will Schwenke be available?
Matt, Hounshell is having shoulder surgery again and is out for the year. Good question on Schwenke. We should get an update today.
Assuming that USC beats UCLA this week, what does your gut tell you about what a Notre Dame win over 7-3 USC next week does for their chances of moving into the championship game regardless of what those other two frustrating undefeated teams do?
Big assumption with USC this week. That's far from a lay-up against UCLA. And it probably won't matter either way if the other two keep winning, though I like ND's chances against a USC team that has nothing to play for better than one that has a Pac-12 title game a week later.
Hi Matt, most people expected ND to win between 7 and 8 games this year. Why is it now that ND is 10-0 pundits or critics want to say that their schedule is no longer tough but is weaker than any other school rank in the top 25?
Hey Krystal, I don't think anyone's getting that hard on it, but it certainly is much more toned-down from what many expected. Personally, I thought MSU would win the B1G ... they're not that good. And I thought USC could be a national title contender ... and they're nowhere near that.
Say ND runs the table and Stanford manages to upset Oregon, is there any chance a 1 loss SEC would jump over ND to play K-State in Miami?
I can't see that happening.
I noticed when you answered a question about who was redshirting this year, or whatever you want to call it since Notre Dame doesn't redshirt. But I didn't notice Justin Ferguson in there and I have yet to see him line up at wideout. Has he been blending in on special teams all year or what's the deal with him?
Yup, special teams. And he's No. 82 now, which was injured TE Alex Welch's number. He had to switch from No. 15 after the Purdue game when he and Dan McCarthy were on a kickoff together and got penalized.
Do you ever get to take in any of the pre-game sites and sounds around campus or is it pretty much all business for you on a Saturday. Go Irish!!
Little bit of both. Traveling is one of the best parts of the job, especially getting to small college towns and seeing their game-day atmospheres. Can't tailgate, though, ha.
Do think this season is a flash in the pan or are the Irish setup for long term success.
Long-term success. BK has been building this program in the right direction, and there is lots of young talent on this team that should keep the success going for years to come.
If Notre Dame happened to make it to the national championship who would they face , and how would they match-up against them???
Oregon or Kansas State, likely. To be honest, I'd give ND a good shot against Oregon with a month to prepare. If they played next week? Not so much.
Tuna, With the new bowl agreements just signed by ESPN, and the inclusion of the "group of five" for the big bowls. What effect if any good or bad does this have for ND? Thanks Tuna GO IRISH!!
Good effect. If they're in the top-four, like this year, they're in the playoff. They have the Orange Bowl twice in 12 years, and they have access to the ACC's bowl lineup. The biggest drawback to independence has been bowl sites in non-BCS years, and that is taken care of now.
will Diaco leave for a low level head coaching job or a high profiledc with more money?
Paul, I see no reason for him to take another DC job. If the right head-coaching job opened up, I'm sure he'd give it serious thought.
After Manti who do you see being the next Irish player taken in the 2013 NFL draft.
Tyler Eifert's still a first-rounder.
Irish fan in the middle of duck territory here - After Theo leaves following the 2012 season, do you see Cam McDaniel stepping up in the backfield to become the newest member of the "Three-Headed Monster"?
Tough to say. Cam will see more carries, likely, but we don't know about Cierre Wood yet, plus Amir Carlisle will be in the fold as well.
Do you think it's a foregone conclusion that Eifert will leave after this season?
Looking forward to my first ND game on Saturday...what's the one thing you suggest I check out on campus before the game?
I'd say the grotto.
With Daniels going down who should we expect to see more of in the coming weeks at the WR position?
John Goodman, for one. He's finally as healthy as he's been. Chris Brown and Daniel Smith should get some more looks, too.
Do you agree that the only reason K State is ranked ahead of ND is because they got to play Oklahoma earlier in the season?
No, more-so because they started ranked ahead of the Irish.
Shouldn't ESPN's Notre Dame blogger be an alumnus of Notre Dame?
No. Our jobs aren't to root for teams.
First tme for the captain's C. I think an NBC broadcast discussed this.
Chris from Tulsa, here you go.
Jumping ahead to SC, what does your gut tell you? Will ND take care of business or will this be the end of their NC dreams?
I think ND wins, but it's no sure thing.
We all get the SEC has teams 4-9, but look at Georgia. They've played two ranked teams, needed 6 Florida TO's to eek out a win and got blown out 35-7 vs. S. Car. Plus they nearly lost to Kent. and Tenn., which is the same argument everyone makes against ND. That makes them the #5 team in the nation?
I think Georgia is over-ranked, yes. Why ND fans care where Georgia is ranked so long as the Dawgs aren't ahead of the Irish ... I don't know.
One of the things that has hurt ND's rank this year was their low ranking to start the season. There's still 3 games left, but is ND a lock top 10 preseason pick next year?
Sadly, I can't even laugh at this question since it is a relevant topic, thanks to this system. I wouldn't say lock, but yeah, assuming there's no collapse at the end of this year, I think they'd be top-10 going into 2013.
But isn't the schedule worse BECAUSE ND is 10-0? Let's assume Oklahoma, Mich and Stanford all beat ND. Aren't those three teams in or near the top 10 right now? Wouldn't BYU be ranked had they won? Miami? These teams don't look as good because ND beat them, why is that their fault?
I see what you're getting at but I'll have to disagree. Oklahoma's what I thought they'd be. Stanford lost to Washington, which really hurt (but has a chance to redeem itself against Oregon). Michigan got run out of the building against Bama, lost to Nebraska and just has not looked very good in many of its wins. BYU has underachieved. I'd blame Michigan State and USC if I were going to blame any of ND's opponents -- those two have underachieved as much as anyone in the country, if you ask me.
What is Cierre Wood's eligiblity year? I keep reading that he is a senior, but he didn't play in the 2009 season. Doesn't he get a "redshirt?" (I know ND technically doesn't give redshirts)
Yeah, he's got one more year of eligibility left. Not sure if he'll use it or go to the NFL, where he'll probably be a mid-round draft pick.
Matt: What is the biggest surprise for you this year the play of the O line or the development of the secondary. Your thoughts on the best bowl matchup for the Irish Thanks
Pat, the secondary, no question. No one saw them hanging in there, let alone playing well, after all of the graduations and injuries. Best bowl matchup is the title game, and I think any fan would love to see that D against Oregon's.
Oregon* ... not Oregon's D.
Matt: I was just involved in the SEC Chris Low chatroom and boy did i create a little tension. I basically said that the SEC has very low academic standards and that half the players on Bama and Lsu couldnt even get into Notre Dame if they tried. I give the SEC a lot of credit, but them having low academic standards, with the exception being Vandy, and we know what kind of football program they have, is the sobering truth. If Notre Dame had the same standards as Georgia, Bama, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame would be just as dominant year in and year out. When you have high standards it can really handcuff you. Period. Your thoughts?
The SEC had five of the top 13 GSR scores, including: LSU (No 6, 77% GSR), Alabama (No. 7, 75%), Florida (No. 8, 75%), SC (No. 11, 69%) and Texas A&M (No. 13, 69%), so make of that what you wish. And yes, ND was 1 and still has higher standards, so not taking away from them.
Matt, If all 3 unbeatens win out, do you think Irish get to play in the Rose bowl or the Fiesta?
Depends who is No. 1. If it's KSU, the Fiesta gets first at-large replacement. If Oregon is No. 1, the Rose does.
My grandfather was head student manager back in the '50s and he commented that he believed this was first year ever for the "C" on the jersey. Best I can give for that. Also what chance do you give Stanford against Oregon this weekend? Will it be enough to at least beat them up for Oregon State next week?
Nice work. And I think Stanford can slow them a bit. I'd be more worried about Oregon's D, which is awfully banged up, though I'm not sure the Cardinal O could keep up still.
As an ND die hard, I want no part of Oregon. I think they'd run circles around us. I think this program desperately needs to win it's first BCS game than lose a title game. Give me vs Nebraska/Wisc in the Rose Bowl.
Really? I'd love to see what Bob Diaco comes up with with a month to game plan for Oregon's offense. Consider: Chip Kelly's only loss to a team with one week to prepare was last year against USC. Look at other big games the Ducks have had: Boise State in the 2009 opener, the Rose Bowl that year, the national title game a year later and the opener against LSU last year. All were first or last games with weeks to prepare, and all were Oregon losses. I don't mean to belittle what the Ducks have done, which is incredible, but I think they are much easier to game-plan for over a month.
Some of your colleagues (David Ching) think that 6 SEC teams could beat ND. Bama and A&M would be tough, but how outrageous a statement do you think that is?
Considering Pitt and BYU almost beat ND, not outrageous at all.
Any chance Manti wins the Heisman?
It would take a ridiculous final two games, plus a collapse from Klein, so I say very unlikely. Getting an invite to NY would be huge, nonetheless.
i was surprised ND did not jump KSU after our OU win. to me that was when it had to happen but the human voters didn't seem to budge. conference coach voters w/ an agenda against ND is the likely culprit. don't deny it.
Or an agenda to support their own conference, which ND doesn't have the benefit of because it chooses not to join one. Ask Jack Swarbrick himself: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/stewart_mandel/11/14/notre-dame-brian-kelly-bcs/index.html
Have time for a few more, gang.
Kirby Smart looks like he could be leaving for a HC job this summer, do you think that Diaco will take over for him at Bama
No. I don't see him leaving for anything but a good HC job.
Hey Matt, you do good work...boss oughta give you a raise. I'm just playing devils advocate, but what happens if Oregon drops a game to Stanford/ Oregon St., or Pac-12 championship, AND K-State drops one to Baylor or Texas, AND Irish fall to USC? Are we really gonna have another all SEC national championship game?
Thanks Andrew. And I would think so, depending on who wins out. Bama for sure if they win out. Maaaaybe Florida State if they win out, because that would take out UF from the 1-loss group (Bama would take out UGA in the SEC title game.) LSU and A&M still have two losses.
Matt, is Notre Dame far and away the most polarizing team in college Football?
Who's a better writer, me or that clown Pete Sampson???
Love you both.
Matt, besides NixIII & Manti, who is the best interview in the ND locker room??
Well, none come in the locker room ... but KeiVarae Russell was awesome the one time we got him. John Goodman is really good, too. The O-line guys are all great. Matthias Farley and Bennett Jackson, too.
(I'm sure I'm forgetting some. Forgive me.)
Matt: Who is bigger in this country: Notre Dame football or the Dallas Cowboys?
I would guess the Cowboys but I have no hardcore date in front of me right now to argue it, other than the NFL being more popular than college football.
The captains' "C" - this year is the first time they have done it.As much as it would suck being on the outside looking in, how about a little perspective... how great is it to actually be having this conversation compared to the last, oh, 19 years or so?
I have noticed Notre Dame's uniforms are very different this year: helmets are shinier (a different gold) and ND's pants are a different color as well. I like it, do you?
I do, yes. Liked the Chicago jerseys, too, just not the helmets.
That's all from me today guys. Safe travels this weekend. Should be another interesting one (they always are there.) Take it easy.