Thanks to those of you who stopped by today's Notre Dame chat, the finale before the title game. You can read the whole transcript here.
Shane (Clarkston, MI): Do the results of the other SEC teams' bowl games affect your opinion on this game? With Florida, LSU, Miss St. losing to "inferior" opponents, and Georgia and South Carolina struggling against B1G teams, the SEC doesn't seem quite as dominant anymore.
Matt Fortuna (3:03 PM): Shane, that has slowly become the theme of the day here on the first real day of media access. Is the SEC the best conference? Yes, and the numbers speak for themselves. But seeing a team like Florida -- which should have had plenty of motivation -- fall the way it did to a good but not great Louisville team was pretty surprising to see. Does it give ND more confidence? Maaaybe, but it still comes down to one shot for the Irish and Bama.
Nick (Texas): With Bama staying in a hotel that has one of the best night life scenes, what are the chances you can drag some of the guys there past curfew and get them sent home?
Matt Fortuna (3:06 PM): I'd be more afraid of Nick Saban than they are ...
Brad (Benton, Ky.): Hey Matt! Te time has finally come! What do you think are significant personnel advantages for the Irish? I would think Eifert and the receiving corps should have a decent advantage against the Bama secondary.
Matt Fortuna (3:09 PM): Hey Brad, definitely Eifert. I like him in any 1-on-1 matchup and no one in the SEC poses that kind of threat at tight end. I know not everyone agrees, but I like Golson, too, given the way he has played lately and on big stages away from home.
Matt (Boise): After watching the Rose Bowl I can't help but feel like Shaw has something special going on at Stanford. Do you see that becoming the "big game" on ND's schedule for the upcoming years over the likes of USC and Michigan?
Matt Fortuna (3:26 PM): Matt, they've been pretty close to it the last couple of years. In an indirect way, I see that game almost as ND's truest rivalry game, given the similarities between both schools and programs, not to mention the way they play. If Shaw stays, that will be a fun one to watch year in and year out.