Chat Transcript: Talking wide receiver development, ticket sales, playoffs and what's next

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Eric Hansen: Welcome to Notre Dame Football Live Chat, Non-Manifesto Edition. And I am serious about that. Some of the questions last week were so long and whiny (amid some very good ones), it was difficult to keep some flow to the chat. So let's have fun this week. We can do that and talk about serious topics. They're not mutually exclusive concepts. I'm even willing to suspend the No Bare Feet rule as a concession.

Eric Hansen: So kick off your shoes and fire away.

Tom from Kennesaw, Ga.: Hi Eric, hope that you are ready for a couple of chilly November home games. My question is about the wide receivers as a group. With the emphasis on the tight end and running backs as receivers, I feel the wide receivers and their lack of development has been overlooked.

I was kind of glad to finally learn the Chris Finke has been battling nagging injuries all year, as that helps to explain his less-than-productive season prior to the Duke game. But we have not developed a consistent next option among the WRs and we will really pay for it next year with both Chase Claypool and Chris Finke gone.

Javon McKinley seems to have a lot of the tools, but I only saw his thrown to once in the Virginia Tech game, and it was three feet over his head. He had a couple more chances against Duke, but once again many were off target. Instead of rotating McKinley, Braden Lenzy and Keys at the same position, do you think they should have given more reps to those guys in Finke's position while he was hurt to help develop confidence in their games and Ian Book having confidence in them? Thanks. Go Irish!!

Eric Hansen: Hi Tom. I'm in denial about the cold weather. I'm still grilling out on a regular basis ... until I run out of propane. To your question, I think it's valid, and I do think there's some mitigating circumstances. Michael Young would have been given every opportunity to be that third, strong wie receiver option had he not gotten hurt. Then when he did come back, he kind of labored — then abruptly decided to transfer.

I have been pounding the table for Lenzy, but health issues keep cropping up. I'm not giving up on him. I like where he's headed. McKinley's biggest issue is he that plays Claypool's position. They can play together, but it's not ideal in long stretches.

My sense is next season we'll be talking about Kevin Austin, Jordan Johnson, Xavier Watts, Lawrence Keys III and perhaps McKinley if the fifth-year option is mutual. Perhaps either Joe Wilkins or Kendall Abdur-Rahman will surprise. But there can't be a protracted breaking-in period for them. There's a lot of talent and a lot of speed in that group.

Tim from Atlanta: Always enjoy these chats and learn a lot from you, Eric. Am I just expecting too much or has Khalid Kareem actually been less active than we thought he would be this year? I see the effort, but not the big plays other than the huge sack in the Virginia Tech game. Only three tackles last week and no sacks or tackles for loss. Is he hurt?

Eric Hansen: Tim, thanks. I think you're not alone with high expectations for Kareem — and that includes Kareem himself. His numbers are fairly similar to where he was last season. He's actually ahead on sacks and QB hurries, but less disruptive in creating turnovers — and maybe that's why he's got your attention. With defensive linemen, their contributions aren't always tangible from game to game. I know the NFL scouts feel like he's helped himself this year.

Chad from Toledo: Who’s leaving early or entering the transfer portal? This landscape of college football affects everyone and it will hit ND as well!

Eric Hansen: Notre Dame will have transfers every year, especially grad transfers. The portal hasn't changed that. The only NFL Draft early entry I see is possibly S Alohi Gilman, and I'd say that's much more likely than not.

Guy from Lakeside Park, Ky.: Really enjoy all the work you and your staff do, Eric. With Julian Okwara down for the year it seems the depth chart thins out dramatically. What are your thoughts on plugging in Bo Bauer as a defensive end? Seems he could handle the run fits and bring some needed energy on passing downs. May need a wristband for the position switch but really like his motor.

Eric Hansen: Thanks. I like Bo Bauer's motor and he's the same size as Ovie Oghoufo (6-3, 230), but the Irish still have pretty good depth at the position. I wrote about that very thing Sunday night:

https://www.ndinsider.com/football/analysis-notre-dame-realigns-with-de-julian-okwara-out-for/article_62c1ba77-5024-5f3f-bf77-eefe5cd59395.html

Ted Kazmar from San Diego: Love your articles — always the most interesting articles on ND football. Is there a yearly award for the best sports writer in the U.S.? I also have a couple of football questions. There are legal and illegal chop blocks. Navy is famous for using the legal chop block. Does Navy still use the chop block as much as they have in the past or have they now limited their use of the chop block? Also how big is the passing game in Navy's present offense?

Eric Hansen: Ted, thanks, the folks at Navy are sensitive to the term chop block (which is illegal) and prefers cut blocks (which are legal), and yes they still do it a lot. Navy doesn't pass a lot, but they do it very, very well. They're seventh nationally in passing efficiency (compared to ND's No. 48 ranking). They also pass on running downs at times, which is why all their top receivers are averaging more than 20-25 yards a catch.

Jeff from Phoenix: Hi Eric, in reading the article by Tyler James on the expected return of Lian Eichenberg and Cole Kmet in 2020, I was wondering about the 85 roster number for next year. If you fix the number of recruits expected to sign in the next two months and the one transfer (Pryor), how many fifth-year senior spots could be offered? Can you give us the most likely names for fifth years? And you have to expect for a few transfers-out ...

Eric Hansen: Jeff, it's never easy math, because there are always surprises. And each year for the past few, ND has been well over 85 well into summer before all the attrition takes place. They don't need to be at 85 or below until the first day of classes in fall semester. Let's start with the fact there are only 11 players with expiring eligibility. And one of those, CB Shaun Crawford, could apply for a sixth year.

There are nine players with fifth-year options. Of those, the certainties to come back are Eichenberg, Tommy Kraemer, Daelin Hayes and Ade Ogundeji. You can see how the numbers get tight. Do you bring back Tony Jones? Javon McKinley? John Shannon? I would say Alohi Gilman and Jonathan Jones are not likely back.

C. David Guzicki from South Bend: Hi Eric, I have never written you before, but I do read most of your articles. I don't really have a question. After all, I have all the answers after 75 years LOL. I just wonder how many out there can say they saw the last non-sellout against Air Force (1973) and this coming week's game with Navy? I can still remember the late Art Best running a 65- or 75- yard TD from my end zone seat. Even back then, all I could get were end zone seats, like this week LOL.

Eric Hansen: Thanks for writing to me .. and as you read in the article, Jack Swarbrick had a chance to attend both, but missed the first once. Congrats on being a both. It's cool you shared the story with us. And I looked it up, Art Best's run was 69 yards and he got a 15-yard penalty for spiking the ball.

Frank from Canton, Ga: What team will be more affected by the weather?

Eric Hansen: I think they're both pretty used to it. As of now, we're not expecting any kind of precipitation.

Jeff from LaPorte: Hard to believe the end of the season is fast approaching. Seems like it just started. What's the best food stop you've had in your football travels? I did see the Prized Pig reopened in Mishawaka. Excited to go back and try it again. It's not Texas BBQ but it wasn't bad for Yankee BBQ.

Eric Hansen: Jeff, a bunch of us from the office went to the Prized Pig recently. Enjoyed it a lot. I think they'll be successful. Really good service. ... As far as places far away, I would say the most memorable is the Smokin' Pig near Clemson. There are others in Austin, Texas; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Syracuse that I can't remember the names.

Jacob from Hobart, Ind.: What was different between ND's 2012 violations and Ohio State's Chase Young's? Why did Young only get two games and ND had to forfeit games?

Eric Hansen: Chase Young borrowed money from someone he had a pre-existing relationship with and paid it back. The ND situation involved academic fraud.

Jeff from Nappanee, Ind.: I'm curious if you envision any changes from a coaching perspective with the DB group? It seems like an area of concern next year and going forward in terms of attracting and developing elite talent at this position.

Eric Hansen: I'm not sure the contention is about development as much as it is recruiting. Terry Joseph hauled in a five-star safety in Kyle Hamilton and is a big reason Isaiah Pryor is transferring to ND, so there's not an issue there. There's some pressure, though, on cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght to up his recruiting game, which is surprising if you've ever met Todd Lyght.

Brian Chesanek from Whereabouts Unknown: What kind of draft picks will the Irish produce in this upcoming NFL Draft? Thanks.

Eric Hansen: Brian, please include your hometown next time. I did a piece early in the year, updated it this week with Alohi Gilman's and Julian Okwara's status and will go in depth after the regular season. I would count on six draftable players next spring from ND, with Okwara, Kareem and Claypool in the top tier among Irish prospects and Elliott, Gilman and Pride in the next level down.

Steve from St Louis: Against Duke I felt like I was watching the good, 2018 Ian Book. I feel like the designed runs played a big part in that. He looked more comfortable in the pocket as well. Why do you think this hasn’t been utilized more? And with the success they had with it, should we expect to see more going forward?

Eric Hansen: I've been pounding the table on Weekday SportsBeat about the lack of designed QB runs. .. Two theories from me. The coaching staff fell way too in love with the RPO game. And No. 2, perhaps there was more fear early about Book getting hurt. Their willingness to run Book more now would seem to be a vote of confidence in how Phil Jurkovec is progressing behind the scenes.

Brian Kajzer from South Bend: With D-linemen continuing to go down for the year (Daelin Hayes amd Julian Okwara) and redshirt concerns for games already played by Isaiah Foskey, NaNa Osafo-Mensah, Howard Cross, and Hunter Spears, will the D line make it through without burning a redshirt for those listed above barring another injury? Thanks, and Go Irish.

Eric Hansen: Cross and Spears play inside, so there's not a need to push them. The only one in question is Foskey. He's at three games now. Brian Kelly said this week that Foskey won't play against Navy. So he's got a chance to play one game — BC, Stanford or the bowl game. If there were another injury to a defensive end this week, he probably would go ahead and forget the redshirt.

Alex from Jackson, Mo.: I’ve read many times when you’ve mentioned not getting to watch the team practice very often. Is this a Kelly thing, or has it been this way with past head coaches? I guess I don’t understand the super secret stuff? The coach always appears to be very cryptic when it comes to the team. He’s a professional at saying a lot, without saying much at all. You guys/gals (media) always ask professional questions in my opinion. Sometimes those are tough questions, which need to be asked. This appears to make him less than pleased at times. Not a great poker face. Side note: I'd let Marcel Ozuna walk in free agency. No way I'd sign him to a long-term deal. Thanks as always.

Eric Hansen: Alex, the squeeze on access is sort of universal in this day and age, though there are notable exceptions. In the Lou Holtz Era, full practice access was the norm. Kelly does allow more during spring and in August than Charlie Weis did, for example. The worry is sensitive info getting out, and ours is a pretty big beat. Not everyone is an accredited journalist, and I think that's the fear. As far as questions, Kelly's more open than a lot of coaches, but he is more guarded than the 2010 version of himself. As far as Ozuna, I'm torn on that.

Mike from Rochester N.Y.: Eric, our dime package has been solid most of the year. We may not need it against Navy, but we will in the remaining games. So who steps in for Jack Lamb, who has done a great job as part of the dime package?

Eric Hansen: You're right, we won't see it as much against Navy. I believe Asmar Bilal will stay on the field with the dime package with Lamb out.

Steve from Las Vegas: It seems like every possession against Navy is important. Do you have confidence in this ND offense to score (nearly) every time they get the ball and to avoid three-and-outs or interceptions? They have the talent advantage, but will they execute against Navy's revamped defense?

Eric Hansen: Navy's defense is pretty good. I don't think ND will score every time it has the ball. I expect a tight game.

Ron from Delaware: Based on stats it seems that the coaching staff has lost faith in Armstrong or Armstrong has loss his edge. I know Kelly keeps saying they need him, but he gets very little carries since returning from injury. Do you think the magic for him is over as a running back?

Eric Hansen: There's more rust than maybe the coaching staff anticipated after the injury, but as Jafar shows progress, the coaching staff is more than willing to invest in him. I wouldn't give up on him at all.

Dom Salemi from Cape May, N.J.: Hello again, Eric, and thanks again for these chats and your overall great work. My question is, and I apologize for this, kind of a nebulous one. To wit, I was watching Irish Illustrated the other night and I heard our intrepid analysts mention, in passing, that Notre Dame was "deeply flawed." Could you enlighten us as to what, specifically, were their concerns? And what is being done to correct it, and who we have arriving, commits, new coaches, new approaches, etc., to address these weaknesses?

Eric Hansen: Dom, I'd love to help you out, but I'm not clear on what you were watching. I would take it up with whomever said what they said.

Tim from Pleasant Prairie, Wis.: OK, a shorter, less whiny version of my question from last week: Will the playoff committee ever insist that all teams that want playoff consideration must play a pure Power 5 schedule to level the playing field and make comparing strengths of schedule easier?

Eric Hansen: Tim, I don't know that is actually a fix. Is playing Power 5 Rutgers more noble or challenging than playing any of the AAC schools (Navy, Memphis, Cincinnati, SMU, Tulane, etc.)? What about Boise? Or App State. App State has beaten both Power 5 teams it has played this season (North Carolina and South Carolina). You could require no FCS schools on the schedule, but why not weigh those lightweights into the résumé discussion, which I think they are. There are differences in conference games played, conference crossover games, etc. You're never going to be able to make EVERYTHING equal.

Erik from Granger: I thought TaRiq Bracy played really well against Geogia, with a couple of timely pass breakups in the end zone. But he had disappeared the last few weeks before the Duke game (I didn't see the game, but noticed a fumble recovery in the box score). Was he injured in October? Or had he played poorly in other games and got demoted? Or is Donte Vaughn just finally healthy and has worked himself back into the starting role he was earning in August before his injury?

Eric Hansen: Vaughn is healthy and surging. And remember the original plan was to play Vaughn only four games and redshirt him. That plan changed when Crawford got hurt and Vaughn played well. There's nothing wrong with Bracy. He still has a role.

George from El Segundo: Hi Eric; while watching Monday night's game between Seattle and San Francisco, it dawned on me that Ian Book is/could be the poor man's Russell Wilson. The last three Irish victories have been the result largely of his ability to run and move. My biggest concern is that, like many before him, Book grows weary of coach Brian Kelly's attempt to "mold him," then transfers to Washington State (where he will run and pass like crazy under the inimitable Mike Leach). And the Irish will be left with Phil Jurkovec, who clearly isn't what he was cracked up to be. Do you have any insight into Book's future plans that you can share on the chat? Thank you.

Eric Hansen: George, I don't think he's given it a lot of thought yet. I do think if he had played at a higher level this season than in 2018, he would have considered leaving for the NFL. He did request feedback from the draft advisory board last December. With the season he's had, his only two options are to return to ND or grad transfer. If he's going to be the starter in 2020, why would he leave?

Jacob from Versailles, Ohio: Thanks for all the updates and these chats Eric!! My question this week is simple. With ND's home sellout streak coming to an end, what do you think Jack Swarbrick will do about ticket sales for November games? After reading your article it seemed like simple logic to lower the ticket prices for non-marque games in November to sell more. Even if they only charge $20 per ticket as the time for those games gets closer, they would make more money than not selling a ticket for $45 (plus concessions once the fan is in the stadium). What are your thoughts?

Eric Hansen: Deep discounts make sense. But maybe I should have gone into more detail about the secondary market. You can get Navy tickets for as little as $9.99 each at this moment. People can wait 'til the last minute and get a deal. Why plan ahead? Also leveraging those November games with premium games may happen.

Tim from Atlanta: Thanks for making me feel better about Kareem. He’s a good guy. On the other side of the ball, we now seem to have a “gang” of running backs. Does this make it more difficult to find a rhythm or is it making a problem for opponents to defend against?

Eric Hansen: Tim, there's something to the rhythm argument. And Armstrong is probably the best example of a guy trying to get his timing. The number of running backs doesn't make it difficult for defenses to prepare, but their skill sets — Armstrong in particular — when they are 100 percent have the potential to be challenging to the opposition.

Joe from Georgia: Will the taco bar survive the move? Any thoughts/anecdotes on the venerable building on Colfax (and Lafayette)?

Eric Hansen: I sure hope it does. Not as much room at the new place. I'll miss coming to this building. It's been my second home since before Carter Karels and Tyler James were born. One quick story. In the days before the internet, we used to get a lot of calls seeking recruiting info, especially near signing day. One guy seemed to call every five minutes one January. Finally one of our part-timers told him ND was trying to reel in a 5-star prospect named ... Lafayette Colfax. The caller was very excited about that.

Joe from Georgia: If the over/under of ND possessions on Saturday were set at nine, which would you take?

Eric Hansen: i'll take the over —especially if ND can play with the lead.

Ken from Pensacola, Fla.: Eric — As always “Great” chats! In your estimation, who is the best “walk-on” player ever to play at ND?

Eric Hansen: Ken, thank you. From pure on-field achievement, it'd say Nick Rassas, who went on to be an All-America safety. For a variety of reasons, on and off the field and what he's done since his ND days, I would say Pete Schivarelli makes my list, too.

Sean from Oahu: Eric, maybe I’m just being a homer, but it seems like opponents' O-lines are getting away with constant, blatant holding against our D-line. Does anyone else not see this?

Eric Hansen: Sean, I'm sure there are a lot of film junkies who'd agree with you. It's interesting. Ken Kareem, Khalid's dad, does drills with his son in which Khalid is blatantly held, so he can deal with that reality from a physical and mental standpoint and not let it stop him.

Joe Williams from Green Bay, Wis.: Hi Eric Great insight, as always. My question is: Do you think that if Ian Book returns next year, does Phil Jurkovic transfer? And what do you see as the status of Kevin Austin, going forward?

Eric Hansen: Joe. I think the QB thing is fluid, but as of today, I'd say both QBs return. I think if Brendon Clark jumped over Phil, that would make for a different dynamic as far as Phil is concerned. Unless Kevin Austin steps out of his path toward reinstatement, I would expect him to be a starting wide receiver next season.

Jeff B from Oklahoma City: Eric, my question is about Notre Dame joining a conference. Would there ever be a scenario or trigger that would move Notre Dame to join a conference? Not making the CFP with an undefeated season and good strength of schedule? If that ever happened, is it a slam dunk they move in to the ACC or would they make another move? I have never thought the ACC made sense and the Big 10 would be a better fit if they ever did that.

Eric Hansen: Jeff, I do get asked about this a lot, but you had a different wrinkle in it, so here goes one more time. There are three things that could coax ND to join a conference. 1. Losing access to playing for a national title in football. 2. Losing a place to house their basketball teams and Olympic sports teams. 3. The end of the NBC contract and nothing to take its place. THAT'S IT.

Remember, if ND gets snubbed (and they didn't last season) in a playoff berth scenario, we aren't that far away likely from an eight-team playoff. So then access wouldn't be an issue. ND's grant of rights deal with the ACC means if it joins a conference in the next two decades, it would have to be the ACC.

Pat in Myrtle Beach, S.C.:Hi Eric. Jack Swarbrick said in a recent release that Virginia Tech, Navy and BC are not top-rated opponents. I find those comments condescending and — to be honest — insulting. If Navy is not a top draw, don't move it to Ireland next year and go to Annapolis instead of all over the place. His comments don't line up with any reasoning. Your thoughts.

Eric Hansen: Pat, I don't think he said they're not top-rated opponents, but in ND's tiered pricing system, they are not premium opponents. Simple as that. The game in Ireland is Navy's home game, not ND's. It's their choice to stage that game where they want.

Chad From Denver: Eric, I like your work and I'm glad you continue to write about the boys at the Bend. Is there anything different about your job covering Irish football than say someone covering other big programs like USC, Georgia, or Michigan? I realize this might be difficult to speak to, but just curious to see the college football world a little more through your professional lens.

Eric Hansen: Chad, thanks for the kind words and the question. I would say the differences between ND and some of the other schools you mentioned are access, coaches' personalities, the degree of commitment by those schools to traditional media. It's great to cover a school where football matters.

Joe from Georgia: Chip Long and Brian Kelly seem to have decided to call planned QB runs more consistently, which necessarily increases risk to Ian Book's person. Yet, they once again kept him out there well after the game was decided. Your thoughts, please, on the extended playing time for the starting QB all season, despite the risks, and the need for a backup to gain game experience.

Eric Hansen: When the starter has been struggling, as Ian at times has, I would say investing in getting the starter right makes sense and takes precedence over all.

Pat in Myrtle Beach: Great insight on the conference situation.

Eric Hansen: Thanks.

Erik from Granger: Thanks for being here! You mentioned on the podcast that we don't have a Jerry Tillery on the team to blow up the center and take away the fullback dive. What about Jacob Lacey? He's obviously not Tillery, but could this be a game where his physicality will help, or do you think the team will ride Kurt Hinish in that role?

Eric Hansen: I think I said Stephon Tuitt, though Jerry Tillery could hold his own. I'm not sure how Hinish matches up with the triple-option. He has one tackle in two Navy games in his career. Lacey might make sense, but I think Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa may have a really strong aptitude for playing well against it.

Fred K from Richmond, Va.: Mr. Hansen, As you can see I have great respect for your journalism. Every time I see C'Bo Flemister with the ball in his hands, it is exciting. Why is he not getting the ball more often? He has an incredible ability to follow his blockers and make explosive cuts off of his blocks. I know there are two other backs who are ahead of him, but sometimes you just have to get the best talent on the field. I think a back like him helps open up the offense just like what we saw from Book running the way he did against Duke. Has anyone mentioned this to coach Kelly?

Eric Hansen: Fred, thanks. I haven't seen enough of C'Bo to invest in more carries than I'd give to Tony Jones, Jafar Armstrong, Jahmir Smith or Avery Davis. He played well against Duke, but can he catch the ball? That's an important skill set in Chip Long's offense for running backs. So what I'm saying is I'm not buying or selling on him right now. I need to see more in the spring.

Chuck from Brigantine, N.J.: Hope that you had that well deserved Martini after last week's chat! After watching LSU-Alabama, we devoted Irish fans may want to resign ourselves to the fact that a Top 10 finish annually is more realistic and positive than a national championship. The top four teams have too much overall speed and too much creativity in scheme and adjustments. Urban Meyer might make us better due to his creativity, but not to the point of winning a national championship. Let's all feel better and relieve the stress when we lower our expectations. Questions, oh Great One: Will the Irish open up the playbook to finish 10-2 or not, given the O-line woes/injuries? Do speed receiver recruits feel that ND is an opportunity for them or a negative if they commit?

Eric Hansen: Chuck, I'll let your opening statement stand, since you didn't ask me to comment on it and I've answered similar big-picture questions from others in recent chats. So to your questions: I don't think there's been any restrictions on how open the playbook has been and by opening it further I wouldn't think would ensure a 10-2 finish. Most important is running, stopping the run and winning the turnover battles in games against Navy, BC and Stanford. As far as wide receiver recruiting, it needed to pick up — and it has, in both the 2020 and 2021 cycles.

Steve from Findlay, Ohio: Which will be a more formidable opponent, BC or Navy?

Eric Hansen: Navy.

Tom from Virginia: Eric, thanks for the chats. You are absolutely the best in the business. I've heard many times that Notre Dame should not be considered for a spot in the CFP due to their lack of a conference affiliation and therefore no conference championship game. Perhaps I'm confused, but does that argument imply that a team would also have to win or at least be involved in the conference championship game to be considered for the CFP? Alabama for example this year.

Eric Hansen: For those arguing that particular point, yes. But we have seen three non-champs make the field (including ND) and one of those win the national title. You should be confused. There's a lot of incorrect analysis by people who should know better out there. Thanks for the kind words, bu the way.

Mike from Voorhessville, N.Y.: Maybe a little off target for a chat, but a long time reader. Have you ever written an article on what costs ND travel entails. You see all these articles on the big pay days cream-puff teams get paid to visit, but I always wondered with planes, hotels, buses, food, cheerleaders, bands, etc., what does it really cost to take ND on the road?

I know ND is a private school, so it may not be that easy to get an accurate figure, but thought it might be an interesting article sometime. Keep up the good work

Eric Hansen: Mike, if I could get those figures, I'd share them. It's something worth looking into, but I think your instincts are going to be correct about a private school wanting to and being able to keep things private.

Sean from Colorado: Eric, thank you for your reporting and this forum. Saturday’s win against Duke was the 88th for Brian Kelly at Notre Dame. This surpasses Leahy, and puts him less than a half of a season away from Ara. The current team is also 29-6 over the past 2.75 seasons. With two more wins, this team matches Holtz’s run from 91-93 (31-5-1). Win out and win the bowl game, and the team matches the 1988-90 run for most wins over three seasons. There is a lot of noise thrown at BK. In your opinion, why isn't he getting any shoutouts as he climbs the ND coaching ladder?

Eric Hansen: Sean, I do think Brian Kelly has his admirers, but I don't think they're as loud as his detractors ... at least not on social media. I think the perception of him would change if he won a national title. I know getting to the playoff changed the way a lot of national media perceived him.

Ed in St. Louis: As a home game, how hard will Wisconsin tickets be next year via lottery. Will ND get most of the tickets?

Eric Hansen: It's going to be a 50-50 split with Wisconsin both in Green Bay in 2020 and Chicago in 2021.

Tim from Pleasant Prairie, Wis.: Thanks for the reply on my Power 5 question. I know it won't fix everything, but I thought it was at least a start toward teams playing more challenging non-conference opponents rather than the ridiculous, cupcake teams we see some of them scheduling. On a positive note, it appears that this year's committee is elevating SOS to a higher level than past committees have.

Eric Hansen: Agreed.

Eric Hansen: That's going to do it for today. Thanks for all the great questions. And thanks for not testing me too much with manifestos. I did avoid them, as I stated I would. We'll be back to do this all over again next Thursday, and then will have a special Black Friday chat for Stanford week.

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