I try to use logic when I write these "predictions." I really try to take my emotions out of it. I also try to give credit to the opposition and take a serious look at their competition.
Having done that, on paper, there is good reason the Irish should dominate Stanford on Saturday….on both sides of the ball, and yes, on the scoreboard.
Stanford can't run the ball. They've lost at least two out of their top three receivers. They can't protect their quarterback, and their defense has been awful. Throw in the fact that Stanford usually doesn't play well in Notre Dame Stadium and that is a bad sign for the Cardinal.
All logic points to an Irish rout.
Why am I not sure that will happen? I suppose that depends on what you consider a rout.
Did you know that Notre Dame's biggest "rout" over a team under Weis is actually just 26 points? That came against BYU last season. Their second largest victory? Penn State this year with 24 points.
Weis just doesn't hang big numbers on teams….even when he probably can.
Is that play-calling? Is that by plan? Is that because he calls off the dogs and the second or third string enters the game?
Not really. At least not that I've noticed. It seems when the Irish get a comfortable lead, they just tend to get comfortable.
I was impressed with what I saw of the Stanford defense last week….at least more impressed than I thought I would be from an 0-5 team. They'll play hard on Saturday. If the Irish match their intensity, it won't matter how hard they play.
I just can't see the Stanford offense scoring more than 14 points. They just haven't played well all year. That spells doom for the Cardinal as I think Notre Dame will certainly score on the Stanford defense. The only question is how much. Besides the 34 they scored against San Jose State, they haven't scored more than 10 in a game all year including getting blanked last weekend against UCLA.
I expect to see the Irish come out running on Saturday. How effective they'll be will certainly determine the score. I just don't think the Irish will need to take too many chances and have to put the ball in the air. I'd like nothing more than to see the Irish ground out a big victory on the ground on Saturday. Will it happen?
Mike Frank Prediction
Logic says a rout. My head says a rout. My heart says definitely a rout. Against my better judgment, and my better judgment says be conservative, I think the Irish finally put together an impressive game this week.
Notre Dame 42 Stanford 10
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