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Staff Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Stanford

Observer Sports Writers | Friday, October 12, 2012

Allan Joseph
Editor-in-Chief

And you thought the hype around the Michigan game was big. A top-10 ranking. Heisman chatter. Sports Illustrated. And now, “College GameDay.” What does all of that translate into from a football perspective? Nothing but noise.

I could talk about Everett Golson and Josh Nunes or the Notre Dame linebackers and the Stanford tight ends. But really, this game will be won by whichever team can tune out the noise – and the Cardinal have been nothing if not steady under the cool leadership of David Shaw.

Yet this Irish squad takes its cue from its emotional leader, Manti Te’o – and you can’t find a more focused player in the country. It’ll come down to the fourth quarter. But this Notre Dame squad has proved one thing: It’s time for me to stop doubting.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 20, Stanford 17

Andrew Owens
Assistant Managing Editor

For weeks, I’ve been told I’m a hater. How could I possibly pick Notre Dame to go 7-5 or 8-4? How could I possibly expect Notre Dame to lose at then-No. 10 Michigan State, or predict Purdue and Miami to keep it close against the Irish?

While recent history has hardly been on Notre Dame’s side, the 2012 Irish seem to have amnesia.

If Notre Dame survives Saturday’s test against a physical Stanford squad, it will put them in prime position to secure a BCS berth, barring a big upset.

Stanford’s offense has struggled against every team not coached by Rich Rodriguez on its schedule, so why expect the Irish defense to slow down now?

The touchdown streak will end at 12 quarters for Notre Dame, but it won’t stop them from rolling to a 6-0 start.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Stanford 13

Chris Allen
Sports Editor

Yes, a competition between Notre Dame and Stanford is a marquee matchup – and it’s not the Quiz Bowl or the debate teams. These two academic stalwarts have honed a very unique product on the football field. As one might expect, the two teams are very similar.

Notre Dame gets the edge in this one due to the athleticism of the front seven on defense. You can bet Irish defensive coordinator Bob Diaco is keying in on Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor, who has a long history of rushing well against Notre Dame. Luckily – no pun intended – he doesn’t have to worry about All-Everything quarterback Andrew Luck beating him if he stacks the box. Josh Nunes is still adjusting to the starting role, and the Irish defense will continue its dominance.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 23, Stanford 13

Andrew Gastelum
Associate Sports Editor

With each new week, the Irish have handled every doubt thrown their way. Now they will have to deal with the sixth-best rushing defense in the country. Do the Irish run right at the Cardinal front seven or do they rely on the usually inconsistent aerial attack?

This is a matchup between two similar defenses, although the Irish secondary has not struggled as much as that of the Cardinal. But then again, the Irish secondary hasn’t seen Matt Barkley yet either.

This should be a defensive battle the whole way through, and it could get ugly. Whichever defense has the better day will go home with the victory. The distractions off the field won’t matter to either team and Lee Corso’s pick won’t determine the outcome either.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 14, Stanford 11

Matthew DeFranks
Associate Sports Editor

If you don’t like all the attention Notre Dame gets, you should stay away from campus this weekend. Between “Mike and Mike” on Friday morning, “College Gameday” on Saturday morning and “Onward Notre Dame” on NBC on Saturday afternoon, the buzz around campus is enough to whip a studious student body into a frenzy.

Homefield advantage may help the Irish but it will not decide the game. The still stout Irish defense hasn’t given up a touchdown since the Purdue game and a hot-and-cold Stanford offense should have trouble with the Notre Dame front.

On offense, Everett Golson has his confidence back and should continue to run the dangerous zone-read.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 20, Stanford 6