This Game will likely knock one of these teams off their path to the College Football Playoff. Even with two losses right now, Stanford still has a shot if they can win out, while Notre Dame’s only loss remains on the road to the No. 1 team in the rankings. The Cardinal, playing at home, is currently a -3.5 point favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
If Stanford wins out, they would close the season with two losses, but also will add wins over Notre Dame and UCLA/Utah/USC, which may be enough to put them in the Top 4. A loss at Northwestern wasn’t great to start the season, but a home loss to Oregon may doom them from reaching the playoff. Still, they have a chance, having beaten down most of the Pac-12 this season.
Notre Dame’s path is a lot simpler as a win in this Game will put them in a really good spot to make the playoff. However, recent close wins have many people doubting just how good the Irish actually are. Just this past weekend they couldn’t escape past three-win Boston College without some tension as they let the Eagles have a chance late in the Game. No matter, they only have one loss and that may be enough with a win here.
Stanford’s route to victory will be through the ground, which is nothing new for this team. Christian McCaffrey is almost automatic to have around 30 touches and reach 150 total yards. He has 1,546 rushing yards and 416 receiving yards to go with 10 total touchdowns on the year. Remound Wright is more the power back as he has 12 TDs. Notre Dame’s defense is mediocre against the run, holding teams to 168 yards per Game, so there is a good chance Stanford has success doing that. Quarterback Kevin Hogan has done his job for the most part this season with 23 total TDs and 7 INTs. In the loss to Oregon, it wasn’t really his fault as he threw for 304 yards and had three TDs in a good Game.
The Irish have been good defensively, but the best offense they’ve faced in the past month was Pittsburgh’s, and they gave up 30 points to them. They also allowed 31 points to USC awhile back.
Notre Dame would like to use its own brand of power football, but may have a harder time against a better Stanford rush defense. C.J. Prosise returned last week, but didn’t get too much work. He’ll probably be closer to full health for this Game. The Irish will have to rely more on quarterback DeShone Kizer. He’s been hit-or-miss lately, struggling with three picks against Boston College last weekend.
It can’t be forgotten that while Notre Dame lost by two points to Clemson, they did start the Game down 21-3. Stanford will likely employ a similar Game plan to Clemson’s, with a lot of focus on running the ball.
The home team has won six of the last seven meetings between these schools, which just shows how big of a factor traveling across half the country is.
Still, the Fighting Irish are 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings in Stanford, and the underdog is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings overall. The under has hit in five straight Games between these teams.
Our Pick – Neither of these teams is worthy of a National Championship in Our eyes. However, both have proven themselves as solid teams at one point or another this season, including identical winning scores against USC.
Notre Dame’s performance against Clemson after being down and out deserves attention and shows the Irish can compete with the best. This Game should prove to be the Game of the day, one that’s decided late. We’re going to grab the spot here in a Game the Irish can certainly win straight up. Notre Dame +4