No. 16 Stanford Cardinal (3-1 SU,1-3 ATS) @ No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0 SU,3-1 ATS)
Date and Time: October 4, 2014 3:30 p.m. EST.
Where: Notre Dame Stadium
by Wilson, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Stan -2/ND +2
Over/Under Total: 48.5
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If youre looking for a game of the week this weekend you may want to tune in to the Stanford/Notre Dame matchup. Notre Dame is feverishly trying to get their program back to the days of power, pride and championship caliber that cemented their lifetime ABC TV slot. Some will argue the Irish havent really played anybody of notable stature yet, but however you look at it the Irish are 4-0 and have put up 30 or more points per game in all four contests. Meanwhile, the Stanford Cardinal are likely one of the best 3-1 teams in the nation at least from a defensive point of view. Stanford comes into Notre Dame Stadium ranked No. 1 in overall defense including No.1 in passing D and scoring D. The Cardinal offense is to be desired and their special teams (FG unit/kicker) have missed on several attempts.
Both teams, Notre Dame and Stanford, are facing a pivotal weekend in the season as much rides on playoff hopes. For many college football fans and bettors this game has been on the radar since July. It will be a tough game to pick especially with the inconsistent play of both offenses. Stanford has turned the ball over (fumbled) 12 times already this season compared to a total of 20 TOs all of last year. Notre Dame had 5 TOs alone just in their game last weekend against Syracuse and yet they still won by 16 points! Hey, it was Syracusethey play hoopsnot football.
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Brian Kelly knows his team understands the seriousness of what happened on the field against the Orangemen. Kellys guys know they cant be so sloppy when Stanford shows up this Saturday. This matchup will likely be Notre Dame QB Everett Golson (great football name) versus the Stanford defense. Golson can be terrific when hes in a zone; in fact he hit on 25 straight passes last week at one point during the win over Syracuse. Golson was 32 of 39 with 4 TDs and 2 INTs but he completed 82.1 percent of his passes and that usually spells success. The ND QB has a QB rating of 183.6 but his downfall, if it occurs, will be the turnovers.
To Stanfords credit they have played a more difficult schedule but their offense has not been productive enough to earn props from really anyone including coach David Shaw. Shaw flat out said his offense was going backwards and the team could be really good if they stopped turning the ball over and giving up points based on penalties.
This game is tough one for me to pick. I feel more confident in Stanfords defense than anything else. The Cardinal entered last weeks game having only given up 4.3 points per game and their pass defense is ridiculously good as they rarely allow more than 100 yards through the air (USC managed to get 135) while the Huskies only got 98 passing yards. In a game where so much is riding on the line I like the stronger defense which is clearly Stanford. For Stanford to be successful this weekend at Notre Dame Stadium they will need to continue their defensive dominance, which shouldnt be an issue, and establish some type of consistent running game. They have shuffled different backs in and out but it appears that Remound Wright is becoming the Cards most steady back as he carried 14 times for 65 yards against Washington. It should be noted that Stanford QB Kevin Hogan can also be a threat on the ground as well as through the air but he just needs to take care of the pigskin. Stanford comes to Notre Dame and puts the brakes on the Irish with their smothering D! I like the under in this one. Luck to ya.
Wilsons Pick: Take the under. Luck to ya
Note: The Predictem Admin has a best bet on Stanford at -2.5.