Friday, October 06, 2006

There's Really No Reason to Play This Game...

Attention Notre Dame schedule critics: you are about to be fed a whole boatload of ammunition. I speak here of the 2006 Stanford Cardinal, who come into this contest sporting an 0-5 record, have a legitimate chance at finishing the season winless, have managed to limit their leading receiver from a year ago to NO catches in the first five games, and boast one of the absolute worst offenses to ever grace a Division I-A practice field, let alone stadium. It's not hubris to suggest that Notre Dame could run the scout team out there tomorrow and feel pretty good about its chances.

Charlie Weis says, "I absolutely do not believe in running up the score." OK Chuck, work your way out of a blowout against a team whose offense AND defense rank in the triple-digit section of the NCAA stats columns.

#12 Notre Dame vs. Stanford
2:30 PM EDT
Notre Dame Stadium -- Notre Dame, IN

Why Stanford Will Win

All 22 starters on Notre Dame get food poisoning. And need an emergency appendectomy. And contact a nasty staph infection during the operation. And suffer massive internal bleeding that finally takes them down sometime in the third quarter. (Sorry, I've been watching a lot of House lately.) Is this a trick question? Stanford gives up an average of 458 yards and 37 points, while their juggernaut of an offense averages 289 yards and 12 points. They need a miracle, plain and simple.

Why Notre Dame Will Win

They remember what the Cardinal almost did to them a year ago. Down 31-30 with less than two minutes to go during the final game at old Stanford Stadium, the Irish were seeing the entire year flash before their eyes, then repsonded with a game-clinching touchdown drive. That game was what, more than any other, sold people on the idea that the Irish were still a long way from the top of the mountain.

While the performance thus far in 2006, particularly on defense, says that the critics have it more right than wrong, one of the best judges of an elite team is the time it takes them to dispose of somebody who's hopelessly overmatched. The Irish struggled to easily put away Syracuse and Navy as well, though they won each game by scores of 42-21 and 34-10. The key for the Irish is to go back to the cliche well and remember the simple fact - they belong on the field, Stanford doesn't. Play within yourself, blah blah blah. It's a test of maturity more than anything else, and the Irish will pass.

The Prediction

No need to be humbly respectful of the opponent this week, not when favored by 34. Irish roll.

Notre Dame 44, Stanford 14.



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