Thanks again for stopping by for the final preseason Notre Dame chat. Just think, next week we'll have a game to go over and much more to second-guess. As always, this week's transcript is available here.
Giancarlo Toffoli (St. Jean, Canada): Mr. Fortuna,it is getting to be difficult to await another upcoming college football season knowing that my beloved Irish are not going to be relevant for a BCS bowl. If the starting quarterback against Navy plays well, do you think the head coach will go back to the person whose off the field behaviour led to his suspension or will there be a two headed beast under center for the 2012 season?
Matt Fortuna (2:22 P.M.): Wow, very candid stuff from an Irish fan. (Not that I'm opposed or completely disagree, it's just different to see such harsh words come out of a fan's mouth in regards to his team.) To get to your question, though, Rees will remain a valuable option down the road, but I don't expect as quick of a hook with a redshirt freshman as I would with an experienced senior. It is in the entire program's best interest to get this QB decision right, and showing a lack of faith early on would be troubling.
Mo (Providence, R.I.): Matt, do you think this is finally the year we beat Michigan, not to mention Michigan AND MSU in the same year?
Matt Fortuna (2:32 P.M.): Mo, ND will need to win at least one of those if it wants to have a good season. I think predicting both, given what those two teams bring back, and given how soon after the Dublin trip they are, may be asking a lot. I like the Irish to top Michigan but fall at MSU. Which means the exact opposite will probably happen.
Aaron (Philadelphia): I found it interesting while listening to Mike and Mike discuss the Pinkett situation and saying they would not want their schools to compromise their academics for wins in football. And I believe more than the majority of Notre Dame alumni agree with that. But as most Notre Dame fans probably aren't graduates of the school, such as myself, do those fans care at all that the school keeps academics a high priority? I know as a non graduate from ND I can see how you can be torn between that, because the only time you really are connected with Notre Dame is on Saturdays watching them play football, and they want wins. Personally, I admire the stand on academics that ND has taken over the years, regardless of the toll on football wins. It'd be interesting to see what position alum and non alum fans would take on the topic.
Matt Fortuna (2:40 P.M.): Aaron, that's become an interesting side topic these last few days, especially after Pat Forde's Yahoo! column, which quotes associate VP for undergraduate enrollment Don Bishop saying: "There's the fan base, and then there's the alumni base. We think the alumni are very supportive of maintaining the standards. They're more likely to question the football coach than the admissions office. For the fans who are only interested in the sport, they're not in support of all that is Notre Dame. You can't be all things to all people. You better be who you are." Now, that's obviously a broad brush, and I can't speak for every side. Is someone who went to class there and received a degree more likely to feel attachment to the place because of reasons more than football? It would make sense. I think "Subway alums" certainly have a lot less invested in the place, naturally, but I don't think that means all or some don't believe in what ND stands for.
Matt (ATL): As a writer reflecting on college football generally, would you view ND making a national championship run as the greatest accomplishment in modern college football given its high standards and commitment to ethical conduct as a program? [I would have said the same about Stanford recently, but they never made it to the 'Chip.]
Matt Fortuna (2:59 P.M.): Assuming you're talking about the 2012 team, I think it would be very, very impressive, given the schedule, question marks and, yes, the challenges an ND football player faces. Greatest of the modern era? I don't know. We're always racing to call the newest accomplishment the best. I think what Boise State's done lately is unrivaled, albeit on a slightly smaller scale than the scenario you presented.