Notre Dame mailbag

What's on your minds?

Daniel from Davenport writes: Are we gonna have a Game of the Century type scenario on our hands with Notre Dame back to the title? People are really talking this thing up more than any other title game that I have seen before.

Matt Fortuna: Daniel, if you were a fan of last year's pre-title matchup, the 9-6 tilt between LSU and Alabama, then we just may. As for attention, what more can you expect from the reigning national champions in a football-mad state and America's most popular program? I'd be shocked if this game does not turn out to be the most-watched of all time.

Todd Wysong from Mobile, Ala., writes: Growing up outside South Bend I am the biggest Irish fan and now I own a restaurant in Mobile in the midst of every Alabama fan. I will be rooting for the Irish and many of the SEC fans are rooting for us as well. My concern is our running backs. Theo [Riddick] and Cierre [Wood] can they run on such a big defense since really no one else has. Also Alabama secondary has been exposed recently do you think the game plan is to use Theo as a slot receiver and Tyler [Eifert] as more of a deep ball threat.

Matt Fortuna: Pretty neat, Todd. Will you make it for the game? And is that true of all SEC fans, or just Auburn's? (Anyone catch their T-shirts this week?) As for your question, it won't be easy. Alabama boasts the nation's No. 1 rushing defense. By comparison, Stanford is No. 3, and the Irish rushed for 150 yards against the Cardinal, 52.5 yards below their season average. It's worth noting, however, how much Everett Golson has progressed since the sixth game of the season, so the Tide will have to respect his arm much more. I think the return of DaVaris Daniels will be key, as he can give the Irish a true downfield threat that Alabama needs to worry about at all times.

ESPNDog from Iowa writes: While Notre Dame sat at home, and watched the college football nation play, compete, and win their respective championships, to actually earn the right to play for a "national" championship. Do you think that Notre Dame stood a fighting chance against Alabama, Georgia, Kanas State, Florida, or even Wisconsin, in a "do or die" environment like we say this weekend? No Way Jose! Did you know that the Irish only beat 4 ranked teams this year, and only 1 of them was in the top 10? Welcome to the massacre ... Alabama 42-10.

Matt Fortuna: Remind me what last season's national champion, Alabama, did the weekend of the 2011 SEC title game.

Michael from Pittsburgh writes: Hey Matt, What a season. I emailed you earlier in the year and at the end of it stated "lets not get into the whole 3 year coach thing at ND ... [Brian] Kelly wins the NC this year, with this schedule, he is ND coach for life" . Well, let's just wait and see. Wanted to bring something to your attention that no one is really talking about ... BIG hypothetical, which may be why it hasn't been mentioned ... Stanford is in the Rose Bowl -- if they win and the Irish win the NC, they will be only the 3rd team to win the BCS AND have a reg season opponent win a BCS game. To go further ... as of this writing, OK is beating TCU. If that holds and Texas beats KSU, OK goes to a BCS game. If THEY win (and Irish win) ND will be the ONLY team in the BCS era to have beaten 2 BCS bowl winners in the regular season. Like I said, HUGE hypothetical, but very interesting.Keep up the good work with the blog. Go Irish!

Matt Fortuna: Thanks, Michael. Obviously the Oklahoma part didn't hold, but I found this interesting, so I did a quick scan: Alabama in 2009, which beat Sugar Bowl winner Florida; 2006 Florida, which beat Sugar Bowl winner LSU; 2005 Texas, which beat Fiesta Bowl winner Ohio State; and 1998 Tennessee, which beat Orange Bowl winner Florida. LSU almost had two last year, as regular-season opponents Oregon and West Virginia both won BCS bowl games before the Tigers lost to Alabama.