Notre Dame mailblog

Light week. I'll blame it on Christmas.

Scott from Phoenix writes: Matt, everytime someone references "the goaline stand" in the Stanford game and says it was due to location, can you please state a disclaimer that says: "People, please remember, the referee's were from the Pac-12.....yes, Stanford's conference, the conference that feeds their families"thanks

Matt Fortuna: Scott, I believe I'm one step ahead of you.

Ryan from Alabama writes: Peter from Michigan had a question about why Alabama was favored. Could the reason be because Alabama has the better: coach, defensive coordinator, qb, rb's, ol, wr's, and the better overall defense? As far as the schedules go, do you really believe ND could have gone to Baton Rouge and beaten LSU or beat Georgia in Atlanta? Alabama will be the best ND has faced all year while ND will be the fourth best Alabama will have played (LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia).

Matt Fortuna: Ouch. I'll say this: I think Notre Dame could have beaten LSU that night had the Tigers made the same self-inflicted mistakes they ended up making against Alabama. As for Georgia, I'd be interested to see how the Irish respond in that kind of game if the Bulldogs block a field goal and return it all the way or if Notre Dame blows a fake, the way Alabama does. Georgia got plenty of breaks that game but just got overpowered on defense. And the Aggies are not better than the Irish.

Skyler from Lafayette, Ind., writes: Matt, I have been looking at next year. Great class so far, hopefully everybody stays committed. What about Carlos and Dan. I believe that they have a 5th year option. Do you think kelly would offer for both of them to return? Does Dan and Carlos want to come back? They would provide great senior leadership. Oh, I am really excited about J. Smith and Alex A. Also, nobody has mentioned redshirt J. Jones on D-line (converted to D-line. I was watching a kelly new conference and he said nobody can block him.

Matt Fortuna: Skyler, I'd be surprised if they didn't return. Like you said, they are multiyear part-time starters who would provide strong veteran presences on this team next year, assuming they want to come back. (And I've seen nothing to indicate that either wouldn't want to.) Jaylon Smith and Alex Anzalone will be the lynchpins of this class defensively, and Jones is a big body who I will be watching closely next year, though I think everyone may have to curb expectations just a bit given some of the other success stories Notre Dame has had up front recently. (Namely, Stephon Tuitt.)