November 25, 2011

Notre Dame vs. Stanford - Saving the Best for Last

Dan: Stanford

Stanford 31 Notre Dame 20

Jeremy: Stanford
First time I'm picking against the Irish this year.  Must mean they're going to find a way to get the W, right?  Stanford was very successful in dropping the 8 or 9 guys into coverage last year, and that same strategy has proved effective this year in games against Pitt, Wake and last week against the Eagles.  Could be another long day of checkdowns and throw-aways.  

For the Irish to stay around in this game, they're going to need a monstrous effort from Cierre Wood and the offensive line.  Stanford hasn't faced too many great running teams this year, particularly early on, and ND should be able to find some holes on the ground.  Both Michael Floyd and Tyler Eifert should attract plenty of attention and will force guys like TJ Jones and Robby Toma to find holes in the zone.  

Andrew Luck doesn't need much discussion, and if he's watched any tape at all on the ND team, he knows that the middle of the field will be wide open for him, particularly if he can get his TEs matched up against any one of Te'o, Fox or Calabrese.  Those drags and crossing routes are going to absolutely murder the Irish defense.  

I expect the play of the ND offensive and defensive lines to keep the Irish in the game, though the likely loss of Stephon Tuitt for another week is going to make it tough to keep the Cardinal running game in check.  Luck makes enough plays in the 4th quarter, and the Irish lose another chance for a marquee win.

Stanford 27 ND 20

Jimmy: Stanford
While Stanford is a very good team, ND probably matches up better with the Cardinal better than any other Top 10 team.  Prior to the BC game, I was sold the Irish would be clicking on all cylinders and ready to blow it up in Palo Alto. After yet another shaky effort from Tommy Rees, compounded by Jonas Gray's injury and Steph Tuitt's lingering health problems, my confidence in a victory is wavering.  The 1-2 combo in the backfield has been a delight.  If Theo "Yo-Yo" Riddick returns to the RB position, that would get a valuable playmaker more touches, but he's certainly not the same bulldozer, between the tackles weapon as Gray.  I'm loving the new found revelation that is Robby Toma in the slot.  Robby's size, speed, and glue hands are ideal to thrive in that position. 

ND has a proud history of producing Heisman Trophy winners within the program, and a not-so-proud history of allowing signature moments for other program's eventual Heisman awards (see Desmond Howard, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush).  Now Andrew Luck gets one final turn to impress the voters.  A big performance on the national spotlight might be all that's left to stamp his ticket to NCAA immortality.  The Irish secondary may be all to obliging. 

I hope a different scenario plays out and Brian Kelly earns his first true signature win.

Stanford 30  ND 23

Mike: Stanford
 As seen over the past two weeks, Stanford is quite vulnerable.  The Cardinal were pasted at home by Oregon and they struggled to beat Cal in Palo Alto.  Injuries have taken their toll for Stanford as well, so this week is a golden opportunity for Notre Dame to notch its first legitimate “signature” win under Brian Kelly.

Unfortunately for the Irish, Stanford has Andrew Luck at starting quarterback and Notre Dame has Tommy Rees, which is the football equivalent of bringing a butter knife to a missile fight.  Stanford will likely borrow from the blueprint on slowing the Irish offense that was authored by Boston College last week.  In other words, the Cardinal will drop plenty of men into coverage and dare the statuesque Rees to run or force the ball into tight windows with his weak arm.  For whatever reason, Brian Kelly has refused to play dual threat QB Andrew Hendrix, who performed quite well in limited action earlier this season, despite Rees’s obvious limitations.  This stubbornness will again hurt the Irish, as Rees will continue his penchant for turnovers, thereby undermining any chance at a Notre Dame offense.  On defense, Notre Dame will slow down Luck to a degree, but the senior signal caller is too good to be denied all evening.  Another opportunity lost for the Irish, who will close the regular season at a disappointing 8-4.

Stanford 34 Notre Dame 20 

Phil: Notre Dame
Notre Dame @ Stanford
Great debate between James and Mazza on if a W is a W in the college game. Lots of levels of discussion here. My 2 cents:

In this BCS world, it is obviously paramount to win every week (unless the media slobs your knob like bama) and to have a perfect season, you need to win the 1-2 games each year where the ball is not bouncing your way. You need to "win ugly." In that case, a W is a W.

Where I agree with James, is that this Irish team has already laid 3 eggs this year. We have come out flat, turned the ball over and been flat beaten.  For us, at this stage in the game, we need to show signs of improvement, signs that we are headed in the direction of being a championship caliber team. To watch the uninspired, pathetic showing against BC on senior day was awful.  It is a reminder that we are NOT elite yet, and may still have a ways to go...

Stanford is a good team, but they do not superior athleticism. Nor do they have Harbaugh this year, who can somehow motivate his players to just pummel the life out of their opponent. I am scared to think what someone like Luck can do to our secondary after watching Denard light us up, but my love for the Irish leads me to beleive we can win this game on the road, springboarding our campaign for BCS champs 2012!

Notre Dame 31 Stanford 30

1 comment:

Strategy Game Guides said...

Well to be honest it was quite a show! And usually things go pretty well when you save the best for last!