- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Thanks to those who stopped by this week's chat. You can re-live it all here.
Jared (South Carolina): 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?
Matt Fortuna (2:02 PM): 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.
Sumitron (Florida): 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?
Matt Fortuna (2:13 PM): 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.
Mike (South Bend, IN): 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?
Matt Fortuna (2:41 PM): 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.
Mike (DC): 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.
Matt Fortuna (2:50 PM): 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.