Notre Dame is 10-1 and ranked 6th in the country. They need some good fortunes to get their way and beat Stanford today. Travelling across the country for this matchup as underdogs, isn’t going to be the easiest chore for the Irish. They are in the group of teams that people say haven’t beaten anyone. Their only loss came against the best team they have played, the number 1 school in the country, Clemson. The biggest win for Notre Dame is probably USC. Georgia Tech looked like a good win when it happened, but now it doesn’t look like much. So, you can see why people aren’t taking Notre Dame too seriously. The perception is if they make the playoff they’ll just end up getting blown out like they did against Alabama in that National Championship. They are a pretty similar team, so I suppose I see the correlation. But there isn’t a team in college football this year that is good as that Alabama team from back then.
Stanford has 2 losses on the season. They lost the opener against Northwestern and then dropped another a couple of weeks ago in a nail biter against Oregon, 38-36. I think that if they stayed a 1 loss team and beat Oregon then this would have been a huge game for both teams vying to get into the college football playoff. As it is, Notre Dame is the only one playing in that scenario. Nevertheless, Stanford should play in one of the big New Year day games with a win over the Irish.
Notre Dame needs to win and get some help. Myself personally, even if they beat Stanford this evening, I do not believe they should be in the playoff. Stanford and USC would be their only big wins, USC could even be up for debate as a big win. We get to the pick below.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Stanford Cardinal College Football
Notre Dame +3.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Notre Dame vs. Stanford Pick:
The similarities to DeShone Kizer and Everett Golson are striking. One of the reasons why I see this team in the team that made it to the National Championship. Now with a playoff, all they need to do is make it to the top 4 to get in. They need to take Stanford to the toolshed to have a chance to do that. I don’t see that happening, if Notre Dame wins it’s going to be a close game. Rarely does a team travel cross country and beat up on a good team. A lot of these games this week feature teams that are similar. I already had a Ohio State/Michigan writeup and last night Baylor and TCU were virtually the same team, and the game came down to a coin flip. Kizer comes in with a decent stat line of 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He can take a game over, but for the most part, he just does enough to pace the Irish. Kizer also has 8 touchdowns rushing.
A real difference in quarterbacking styles in this game. In one corner is the dual-threat and in the other is the pro-style quarterback. Kevin Hogan is good, but he is no Andrew Luck. He is a pro-style quarterback but he can run the option from time to time and pull out some big runs. Hogan running the football is similar to what Luck was at Stanford, but out of the pocket they are not the same. Nonetheless, he and Kizer are similar stat wise, as Hogan has tossed 19 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. The running game for Stanford is the catalyst. They are rushing for 228.2 yards per game on the ground. Surprisingly, the Irish have been getting gashed trying to stop the run, allowing 166.8 yards per game in that regard. Other than that, they are similar. Stanford scores 36.8 points a game while Notre Dame is scoring 34.6 per game. Conversely, Stanford allows 22 points per game and Notre Dame 21. The difference here I think is the home field advantage in California and the run game of Stanford against the Notre Dame defense. Also, the competition and battle tested status of the Cardinal. Stanford takes it by a touchdown.
PICK: STANFORD -3.5 (-110)