Staff Predictions: Stanford
Observer Sports Writers | Tuesday, November 22, 2011
At first glance, this game seems like a no-brainer. While Stanford is really solid from top to bottom, Notre Dame is inconsistent and often sloppy.
Then you look a little closer. If the defensive line can pressure Luck, he’ll force passes. If Tommy Rees can find his targets consistently, the Irish can hang in the game to have a shot to win at the end. Combine it with a timely big play here or there, and Notre Dame can pull this off.
But let’s be real here. This Irish squad hasn’t shown they can put it all together against a good team.
FINAL SCORE: Stanford 35, Notre Dame 24
I’m the last one to the computer screen tonight, and as I scan the other prognosticators’ scores, I’m amazed. Stanford by 11, by seven, by 17, Notre Dame by three.
Sure, the Irish have come too far this season to give this game away, but there is only so much an over-matched Notre Dame can do against this Stanford juggernaut. The Cardinal is ready to restate its case to the country after two rough weeks. Unfortunately, Notre Dame will bear the brunt of that motivation.
FINAL SCORE: Stanford 34, Notre Dame 13
Senior Sports Writer
The Irish have either been more talented or at least as talented as each team they have played so far this season. This will not be the case Saturday against Andrew Luck and Stanford. Luck is the Heisman favorite, and Notre Dame’s defensive backs will likely have trouble containing him.
The Irish offense should be able to move the ball and score some points, but the real question is if the defense can keep things close enough. Stanford is the best team Notre Dame has faced, and even with a potential (though unlikely) BCS berth on the line, the Irish will come up short.
FINAL SCORE: Stanford 37, Notre Dame 30
Associate Sports Editor
Notre Dame has a golden opportunity to end its 2011 regular season with its biggest win in quite a long time, though it had similar opportunities before the Michigan and USC games this year.
There is no question the Irish can hang with Stanford, but I just don’t think they will. The loss of Jonas Gray is a major setback to a hot-and-cold offense. If Stanford’s fifth-ranked rush defense makes Notre Dame one-dimensional, then it’s game over for the Irish, as Rees has shown little if any reason to believe he can lead an upset of a top-five team.
FINAL SCORE: Stanford, 41, Notre Dame 24
Assistant Managing Editor
I worked in Palo Alto this summer, and I saw approximately two articles of clothing worn by supposed Cardinal fans. They have a beautiful stadium, a second-to-none campus, a distinguished academic reputation, a Heisman trophy candidate and the No. 6 football team in the nation. But they don’t have real fans. Inspired by Iowa State, Notre Dame will finally exorcise its California demons, taking down the Cardinal and sending fans toward the exits with time to spare in the fourth.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 24, Stanford 21