Few will have the Irish penciled down for a win, but you never know when Brian Kelly will pull out a little Irish magic.
Though there were several questions/points to consider, below are the five we settled upon.
Question One: Can the Irish offensive line protect Tommy Rees?
Stanford has posted 33 sacks on the season with Chase Thomas leading the way (6.5). For the Irish to pull the upset they must protect Tommy Rees. Fans have been asking where Andrew Hendrix has gone since the Air Force game. I would not be surprised if Hendrix finds his way onto the field in this one.
Question Two: Can the Irish defense put pressure on Andrew Luck?
Oregon is the only team to beat Stanford so far this season (or last season) and they did so by putting pressure on Luck, who was sacked three times and threw two interceptions against the Ducks.
Question Three: Is Stanford as good as advertised?
Yes. But Stanford is 10-1 on the year and in their last two games lost to Oregon and then struggled against California. When you look at the overall quality of their schedule, Stanford opponents are 55-67 on the season.
Question Four: How much of a loss will Jonas Gray prove to be for the Irish?
Gray had really taken his game to another level and had become the backbone of the Irish offensive attack. He will be missed and Brian Kelly's motto of "Next Man In" will play large in this game. Will Kelly pull a surprise by using Theo Riddick (if healthy) in the backfield? Or will Irish fans see the future as George Atkinson gets his first real chance of getting a heavy workload?
Question Five: Will Notre Dame keep their November winning streak going?
Prior to Brian Kelly taking over the Irish program, the Irish were on a six-game losing streak in the month of November. In fact, the Irish had lost eight of their last nine in the month prior to Kelly's arrival. Under Kelly, the Irish are now on a six-game winning streak in games played in November and Stanford would be a LUCKY #7.