Frankie V’s Prediction: Notre Dame v. Stanford ’17

Notre Dame is on the road tonight looking for its 10th win of the season against rival Stanford in a venue in which they haven’t won in 10 years. There’s a lot on the line for the Irish with a New Year’s 6 Bowl pretty much assured with a victory tonight.  Can the Irish, however, reverse their late season funk and win their last regular season game of the year for the first since in five years?  Let’s break it down and find out.

What Concerns Me This Week

The Notre Dame passing game. Maybe if I list it here this week, it’ll get going early.  I am a Brandon Wimbush fan, that much should be evident based on everything I have written about him this year, but the last couple weeks have raised serious questions of whether or not he is capable of reaching what appears to be limitless potential.  Wimbush was gradually improving each week during Notre Dame’s winning streak but then the wheels came off in Miami and last week he had another case of the yips.  Wimbush doesn’t need to throw for 300 yards tonight for Notre Dame to win, but he does need to look like the Brandon Wimbush we saw in East Lansing, not South Beach for the Irish to bring it home.

Bryce Love (if healthy). Love played in place of an injured Christian McCaffrey last year and lead the Cardinal to a win in Notre Dame Stadium – although if Notre Dame had an even decent offensive game plan, the Irish could have blown out Stanford.  That’s another story though.  Love’s status for tonight is still up in the air.  David Shaw was coy about Love this week saying he was “day to day” with him not progressing as fast as they hoped he would.  If he plays, he will be a handful for a Notre Dame defense that has regressed the last few weeks.  A week ago Notre Dame was good at keeping Navy from ripping off long runs, but they still allowed them to chip away bit by bit and couldn’t get off the field when needed.  If they can’t get off the field again this week, Bryce Love could have a huge day. Again, if he plays.

David Shaw.  Of all the opposing coaches Notre Dame has faced over the course of the 20 years that we have run UHND, David Shaw is probably the one I can’t stand the most.  He’s smug, he’s cocky, and he’s damn good.  Shaw has done well against Kelly head to head even in years that Notre Dame should have won like the last two years.  Part of the reason I can’t stand Shaw is because he is a damn good coach.  Shaw will have his team prepared and ready to play tonight and he will have a few tricks up his sleeve for Mike Elko’s defense.

What Doesn’t Concern Me This Week

Notre Dame’s running game. Josh Adams had a field day the last time he played at this stadium and he very well could again tonight.  Notre Dame couldn’t get its ground game going the last three weeks like they had all season, but a game in good weather against a team Notre Dame has been able to run on the past few years should be enough to get it going again.  Wimbush will, however, need to make a few plays early to keep Stanford honest whether it be with his arm or his legs.

Speaking of Wimbush’s legs, Notre Dame would be wise to call a few designed Wimbush runs early on in this one.  All year long breaking a long run early in games has settled Wimbush in.  If they come out with another air it out game plan, it could get dicey early.  Either an early draw or maybe even a well executed RPO would be a good start.

Notre Dame’s wide receivers if Equanimeous St. Brown can’t play.  St. Brown’s status is still up in the air after going through concussion protocol.  Brian Kelly said things look good, but with concussions, you never know and it’s always better to be extra cautious.  Even if he is unable to play though, I think Notre Dame’s wide receivers will be fine.  Without ESB, Miles Boykin would get more playing time and a set of Chase Claypool, Boykin, and Kevin Stepherson actually matches up well against Stanford’s lengthy, physical corners.

Another road prime-time game. Stanford Stadium is not going to be anywhere close to the kind of environment that Notre Dame encountered in Hard Rock Stadium.  Miami’s bandwagon fans that have already forgotten about the Turnover Chain following the Canes’s loss to Pitt yesterday, were rocking that night.  All of the pumped in, artificial crowd noise that Miami manufactures won’t be in Palo Alto tonight either.  The stage was too big for some of the Irish players two weeks ago, but tonight, Stanford Stadium will not be very intimidating.  Tonight will be like a more toned down East Lansing was back in September.

Everything that’s on the line.  This is a huge game for Notre Dame even though Stanford is only ranked 20th.  A win not only gives Notre Dame 10 wins and puts them in position for a New Year’s 6 bowl game, it will complete one of the most impressive turnaround seasons in program history.  A loss and the storyline will be “oh this is just the same old Notre Dame from the last 20 years”.  A loss and this team is still good, but just just meh.

After the loss to Miami and the near disaster last weekend, there is hopefully a lot of built up frustration in the team.  There is no game after this one for a month for the Irish so the wear and tear we’ve seen the last couple of weeks will hopefully give way to one last balls to the wall performance like we saw against USC and NC State.

Players To Watch

  • Josh Adams – Notre Dame needs another one of those monster games we saw from Adams early on in the season. Do not be surprised if Adams’s rushing total tonight is greater than what he’s had the last three weeks combined.
  • Chase Claypool – If ESB can’t go, Claypool will be the go-to target just as he’s been the last few weeks.  Claypool got banged up last week too, but he should be fine.  Claypool could have a big game tonight.
  • Kevin Stepherson – Stanford has some physical and long corners so Stepherson could meet some traffic at the line, but if he can get a step, he’ll get behind this defense.  At that point, it will be on Wimbush to connect with him downfield.  Wimbush hit him for a 30 yard TD last week, but even that one was still a bit behind him.
  • Mike McGlinchey – Stanford’s got some good edge rushers at OLB and McGlinchey has had his struggles against speed rushers at times this season.  If McGlinchey has a good game, Notre Dame will have a good game.
  • Jerry Tillery – He was a beast in the middle of the defense for the first 2/3 of the seasons, but as fallen off as the season has worn.  Notre Dame needs Tillery to channel his inner self from September and October to shut down the Cardinal run game tonight.
  • Julian Love & Troy Pride – Notre Dame is going to let its corners on an island tonight most likely.  Love and Pride have to keep everything in front of them and prevent any big plays.  Stanford doesn’t pass that often, but when they do, the Irish can’t allow the big play and hope to win.
  • Shaun Crawford – Meanwhile, Crawford could have an opportunity for an interception out of the slot this weekend.  It’s been a while since Crawford made one of those huge momentum turners we got used to.  It’s time.

How’d I Do Last Week?

About as good as Notre Dame did.  I expected a much bigger win and a much better game from Wimbush and the passing game.  The game plan last week didn’t do Wimbush too many favors, but the Irish could have and should have scored 28 by halftime on Navy.  Instead they scored 24 all game long.

Prediction Time

Going into the Navy game I had a weird feeling that I was more worried about Navy than Stanford.  Then I let myself get all excited and predicted a blowout.  Bad idea by me.  I still feel similarly though that Navy was the bigger obstacle to 10 wins just because the option tends to give Notre Dame problems and that was the first time Mike Elko faced Navy.  Notre Dame tends to play much better with more traditional teams like Stanford.

In the preseason I predicted Notre Dame to win this one by three points, and history tells us this will be a close game. The last five games between Notre Dame and Stanford have been one possession games.

All that said, IF Brandon Wimbush can make a few plays early, Notre Dame has a chance to win this one like they won games earlier this season.  If not, this game will be a dogfight with every inch counting.  That said, I expect a NC State/Michigan State game style performance tonight from Notre Dame.

Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Stanford 17
Pre-Season Prediction: Notre Dame 24, Stanford 21

GamePre-SeasonGame WeekActual Outcome
Week 12: StanfordND 24-21ND 31-17
Week 11: NavyND 49-17ND 45-24ND 24-17
Week 10: MiamiND 31-27ND 38-24UM 41-8
Week 9: Wake ForestND 34-24ND 42-13ND 48-37
Week 8: #14 NC StateND 34-17ND 34-24ND 35-14
Week 7: #21 USCUSC 38-24ND 34-31ND 49-14
Week 6: North CarolinaND 31-21ND 41-17ND 33-10
Week 5: Miami OHND 42-17ND 49-13ND 52-17
Week 4: #16 Michigan StateND 24-13ND 30-28ND 38-18
Week 3: Boston CollegeND 35-10ND 35-10ND 49-20
Week 2: #3 GeorgiaUGA 29-27UGA 29-27UGA 20-19
Week 1: TempleND 31-21ND 31-21ND 49-16

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  1. Wow , a complete melt down. Just 15/16 days ago , Irish were 8-1 and #3 in CFP. How can a team digress so rapidly in just a short time in all phases of the game. Time for Kelly to go and immediately. I don’t know who is all involved in the firing/hiring of head coaches—hopefull the priests, alumni are in on descisions besides Swarbick. Enough is enough. WTF is Adams getting 20 carries for–when it obvious he had no explosive pop at the line of scrimmage. Same old November swoon under Kelly regime — again. More road losses to top ten teams–again.

  2. Now that we’ve moved on from this sinking, the only thing left is the name Fighting Irish. The new Captain should be PJ Fleck. Did you happen to catch Him against behemoth Wisconsin. Everyone knew The U was going to get slaughtered, but there was Fleck hugging His Seniors before the game. He will Row The Boat at Notre Dame. We should play the U in the Bowl game and PJ will get to meet His new crew.

  3. November fadeeeeeeeeeeeeee. No CFP, no NY Day 6 Bowl, another season ending loss, another demonstration of questionable coaching decisions, a team appearing unprepared under Kelly. After 8 years, I think we see where the program is at under Kelly.

    I am disappointed but I notice I haven’t been pissed at a loss or yelling at the TV like I used to during games. Fan apathy I guess developing the past couple of years as I go into year 47 as a fan of ND football. I have one word, “Shit.”

  4. Yep, just watched the post-game press conference and BK blames….the turnovers. “You can’t turn the ball over and win games”. So I guess it’s all Wimbush’s fault.

    Yes, sure, turning the ball over is bad. But that’s not the only reason they lost. And you know what, I’ve seen some teams turn the ball over and still win the game. It’s not the end of the world. It’s all in how you respond. Make a stop, hold them to a FG and go back out there and get a TD. But they appeared to give up after that turnover.

  5. Post Holtz, not one ND head coach has been about the University. They’ve all been about themselves and their own records and then after that if there’s room in their egos, their players.
    If any of them since Lou had understood the history of the University and the phrase “Catholics need not apply”, they’d have every smart minority kid wanting to play for the Irish.

    Kelly is not the guy and frankly I don’t think ND can get “The Guy”. No one understands anymore what there is to fundamentally prove. Find That Guy and you’ll see an Irish team return to glory. Until then, ESPN and the gang lovers will continue to win.

    Tonight it was an evenly talented match up with the opponent not being gang bangers but mostly upstanding guys like ours. BUT kelly once again played to formula. Not exactly playing for the Lady on Top of the Dome.

    1. Agree. Weis probably came the closest because he was a ND grad. But he was too convinced of his own genius and to stubborn to realize it until it was too late. In a way he was BK’s opposite when it came to who to blame for losses. I remember time and time again Weis saying it was on him since he’s the HC, but that got tiresome because nothing was ever fixed. It’s great that he took the blame and all, but if you just go out and lose again it really doesn’t mean a whole lot.

      I saw Weis’ primary problem is that he really thought he was an elite coach and a genius play caller and he wasn’t. Davies I thought gave up on ND because he thought no one could win with their academic standards, then he sabotaged NDs chances with Urban Meyer. Willingham just wasn’t a good coach. I loved all the accusations of racism when they fired him then he goes 0-12 at Washington. Yep, he really was a bad coach after all. And BK, well, it’s always someone else’s fault. He’s another that’s convinced he’s a great coach, he’s just not as cocky about it as Weis was.

  6. I thought at the beginning of the year that for me to say BK had ND on the right track they would need to win a NY Day 6 bowl (not just get in it, that’s not enough anymore). Now they won’t even be in it. In year 8 I consider this year to be a failure. 9-3 is just not acceptable to me in year 8.

    I wonder when the administration is going to realize it’s just not going to happen with BK. ND can be an above average team under BK, sure. Some schools out there would be thrilled with 9-3. But if ND really wants to be elite, it’s just not there with BK. I’m disappointed, absolutely. I’m not thrilled with having to start over and hope the next coach is the one, the next Holtz or the next Parseghian. I’d really have preferred it to just be BK. But it’s not. It’s time they faced it.

  7. Auburn HC Gus Malzan stated after his teams victory over Alabama that very few teams are playing there best football at the end of the season. Notre Dame certainly on a downward spiral when it counts the most.

    1. Sadly ironic in a way. With so many teams falling, ND was actually back in the playoff conversation. Now I think it was still very much a long shot since they have no more games, but they had a chance to muscle their way back in the conversation at least if they just took care of business.

      1. If your QB is not getting better each and every week your team is in trouble. This has been a recurring problem for every QB that has played for Kelly at ND. Crist, Rees, Golson, Zaire, Kizer, and Wimbush have all struggled under Kelly. QB guru he is Not.

  8. I wonder who BK will throw under the bus this week, because you know, it’s never his fault. It’s all a conspiracy against him because he’s really an elite coach.

  9. If Kelly is still the coach tomorrow I’m done with this f’n team. Unprepared, and undisciplined should be the shirt theme next year. Not to mention, the play selection is an embarrassment.

    All the hype of the “elite” line and the absolute joke of the Adams Heisman campaign is typical of the programs direction today.

  10. ND takes the lead, then subs for Tillery ( to rest him???)until Stanford gets their drive to their red zone.
    Coaching decision. So Stanford reacts by running up the middle where Tillery has been -for huge gains.
    Coaching decision.
    3rd and 8. 4th Qt. ND up by 3. Drop into prevent D’.
    Coaching decision. Stanford QB has plenty of time and throws for the go ahead TD
    Follow that with an INT.
    Followed by end around by Love, and hiding TE Schultz in a formation, then send him on a flag pattern.
    Very creative coaching calls by Stanford.
    Then a fumbled KO return.
    Stanford has a better offense, a better D, a great DB set, and definitely a better coaching staff who prepare their team better and deploy much better strategy during the game. And BK, with a new staff, loses again; this time it wasn’t a close loss, his usual calling card when he travels to Palo Alto.

    1. I’ll even be nice and say he’d make a nice 1st string RB. The kid can run and he makes some nice elusive cuts. But he just hasn’t improved in his passing ability like he should have by this point. Someone said, I forget who, that he really needs to be a 60% passer to be great as a QB, when combined with his running ability. He’s just not getting there like he should. The same mistakes plague him, either overthrowing or underthrowing open receivers. Granted our receivers have also had a case of the dropsies at the worse times, but it’s just not there.

      I wonder would Wimbush be better under a Saban like coach though. Is it really Wimbush or is he just not getting taught the mechanics properly. I’ve seen too many QB’s flame out under BK that I’m not willing to lay it all on the QB at this point.

  11. Another November let down. I just can’t believe it, again….AGAIN. This is what it’s come to. BK would probably do fine at a school like Northwestern, or Colorado, or yes, Cincinnati. He’s not the worse coach in the world. He can get you winning seasons most years, and maybe every 6 or 7 years get you to a big time bowl, but that’s it. And that’s not ND.

    Sadly though, the real power at ND will consider this year “heading in the right direction.” BK will be back next year guaranteed. And ND may even start off strongly again next year. They may very well go 7-1 or hell, maybe 8-0. Maybe give some fans a glimmer of hope like they did this year. Then they’ll lost 3 of their last 4 games and it’ll will be yet again…”maybe next year”. Maybe maybe maybe. I’ve been saying that since Charlie Weis’ first year as coach and I’m done believing.

    I’ll still be a fan, I’ll still root for ND to win every game. But I won’t believe unless they really go 11-1 or 12-0. Finish the season, then maybe I’ll believe again. But I won’t get fooled again. Not again.

    1. Next year ND will not be 11-1 or 10-2, playing Michigan, Stanford, @ Va. Tech, then finishing vs. Florida State, @ Northwestern and @ SC. Throw in the usual November collapse plus a loss to a team that should never beat them (see: @ Wake, Navy, Pitt) and 9-3 will be as good as it gets during this Kelly regime. If Zimbabwe can get rid of the Mugabes, why can’t ND rid itself of Kelly and Swarbick? The Mugabes got $10 million; what will Kelly and Swarbick settle for?

      1. “David,”

        Please explain how any of us, even those who have been critical of BK for years, long before you ever got here, “chose” this?

        Unless you know something we don’t, none of us one here are ND’s AD or president. We have neither voice nor vote with what happens at the top of the ND football program.

        So, if you can forego the insults, please explain what you mean when you say “you chose this”?

  12. ND losing is a good thing because they now avoid playing a real team in a bowl game, but getting blown out tonight is just embarrassing.

    1. You know what though. I’m sick of playing in middle tier and lesser bowls. Yeah, ND might win it. But that’s not good enough for me anymore. This team wants respect, to be taken seriously, then they need to play the big boys and beat the big boys. They want people to stop calling them overrated, then it’s time to play like the big boys.

      What’s really sad is the way this wacky crazy season has unfolded, ND had an outside shot at a playoff game again and they blew it. Against a Stanford team that while good, is not by any means elite. ND should have been able to beat Stanford. I blame it on BK who didn’t have his team ready to finish the season.

  13. BK at his absolute best is a 9-3 coach at ND, no more or better than that.

    Truth be told, though, no one can win at ND with this talent level.

    Now, if the talent level is better than I think, well, then it’s all about BK’s poor coaching.

    1. I agree about BK. And maybe every 6 or 7 years maybe they even get a big time bowl game. But I do actually think it’s poor coaching. I think ND has the talent. We’ve got our fair share of 4 star recruits and upper tear 3 stars playmakers.

      And I blame BK. There were times this year the players did show a dominant side. They’re capable because I’ve seen them demolish an above average USC team. The talent’s there. I absolutely blame BK for that (I’m not sure about Elko and Long yet, there have been some misses but I can’t say yet if it’s them or BK–in all fairness it’s hard to judge a position coach after one year).

    2. While the talent is not SEC level at ND its certainly good enough to handle a decent PAC 12 team like Stanford. This is on the Coaching staff. Kelly just got punked again on the road

      1. Absolutely. ND crushed USC. They should have been able to do the same to Stanford. Stanford is NOT an elite team. ND has the players to beat them. This game comes down to poor coaching. I mean, the opportunities were there for ND. Stanford couldn’t convert 3rd downs most of the game. The Irish would have good drives. But then they’d get a costly penalty, or they turned the ball over, or the coaches didn’t use the personnel they had properly. They got sloppy at the end and what was a back and forth, close game turns out to be a blow out for Stanford. Georgia is far and away a better team then Stanford and they didn’t blow out ND. That reeks of poor coaching.

      2. Damian below is obtuse…Stanford is very tough at home..period…and on a nuetral field or in Palo alto would go toe to toe with Georgia..Shaw made a bonehead decision starting Chryst instead of costello at the beginning of the fact costello was # 3 QB.Costello makes Stanford a very good team

  14. Hey Bruce g, this still the team you think will win, enjoy being the cubs (before 2016) squad… wait till next year. Brandon wimbush is shit.

    1. No, that’s the “Bahama Bowl”!

      Perhaps “Ronna” will get his wish and Butch Davis and FIU will beat ND to finish the season on a truly humiliating note.

      How did I know the game was over after Stanford’s first TD of the 4th quarter?! Perhaps I actually know how gutless this team is under the lights on the road against a good team.

      But we still have “Positive Pete” and the “Grand Wizard” to look forward to.

      1. Don’t worry they’re not playing any NY 6 game!

        But I’ve been saying that for a while and got shit for it by a lot of you here.

  15. Don’t worry folks, “Positive Pete” will cheer us all up after the game.

    “Ronna Burgundia” will lift her head from Butch Davis’ crotch and tell us something totally inane.

    “David” will insult everyone and remind us what some of us on here have been saying forever, that BK is a fraud.

  16. I knew it, I freakin knew it. As soon as he said “It’s been a turnover free game” I knew Wimbush was going to throw an interception. Everytime any commentator makes some stupid comment like that it happens. Damn you ABC.

      1. I just can’t believe it. As soon as he said “It’s been a turnover free game” I was like you freakin jerk off. I knew it. Anytime any commentator says something like that…”oh, so and so hasn’t missed any field goals this year” you can bet that person will miss the FG.

        Game over. For all the hype and promise this year held, it’s come down to another failed November under BK. If the season were 8 games we’d be fine. But they keep forgetting 12 games people, 12.

  17. What a frustrating game. ND finally, FINALLY gets a good punt return, all the way to the 20 yard line and 2 penalties later they have to settle for a FG. What a waste of a good punt return.

    This looks like it could come down to the last play. It may very well come down to who has the ball last.

  18. Mark that “drive,” ND just probably lost the game right there settling for three.

    This O is remedial.

    Once more the most over-rated O line in the FCS.

    1. Yeah, very disappointed. We keep hearing about the eliteness on the offensive line. These are the times they need to prove it. Against Georgia and Miami they failed miserably. Now they’re not terrible. But when push comes to shove, when it’s time to put up or shut up they either get blown or they commit a drive killing penalty.

      I think it’s particularly frustrating because there are times they do actually show flashes. So you know they’re capable, they just aren’t getting the job done when it counts the most.

  19. You can’t win with this kind of QB play on the road against ranked teams. It’s tough enough to squeak by Navy at home with such a poor passer.

    1. Can’t wait for the BK apologists if ND loses.

      I dare “Positive Pete” to make a ND win prediction. I mean the Irish are only down 4.

      Come on, “Pete,” show us what you’re made of.

      But if you do and ND loses you promise to disappear.

  20. This isn’t a NY 6 team, much less a PO team!

    BK is a 8-4, 9-3 coach. That’s at his best.

    Until ND makes a commitment to recruit and admit better athletes that’s what it will be regardless of who coaches.

    There’s a reason Urban Meyer spurned ND twice. There’s no commitment to winning.

    Whatever Lou did or said to the administration needs to be repeated and soon!

    ND will lose this game because one QB can throw the ball and one can’t.

    1. Yep. Can you imagine the field day Alabama or Auburn would have against the Irish. A rematch with Georgia would be ugly.

    1. Totally agree, “Jeff”.

      I’m sure “Positive Pete” is watching some other game in his parallel universe.

  21. This is going to be a defensive battle early with more scoring in the second half. Stanford will adjust and will score on their first possession of the second half. Wimbush may try to do too much and if he turns the ball over then I think Stanford goes up by 10 or 17. I see Notre Dame rallying but coming up short losing 34-31.
    I hate to say it. But I just don’t think Kelly looks at the details necessary for a top opponent in an away game.

    In his 8 years at ND, Kelly has had one QB whose confidence hasn’t been destroyed and that was Kizer. You look at every Other QB under Kelly at ND and they seem to show flashes of brilliance while ultimately digressing. Unfortunately I see Wimbush in that category and that may be the difference tonight.

    May my prediction be wrong tonight.

  22. I don’t envy Frank predicting this game. I honestly think it’s 50-50. I think the Irish have the pieces in place to blow out Stanford. But will they? A month ago I would have said absolutely. The team that crushed USC would crush Stanford. But if the team from the last 2 weeks shows up we could be in for a long night.

  23. Weather will be Fking ideal for this showdown of overrated teams. 66 deg with 3 to 5 mph winds. Haven’t liked what I’ve seen from Notre Dame the last two weeks. Better step up your game or get embarrassed by a lesser talented team. Stanford 35 Notre Dame ?

  24. This game will reveal a lot about this team and the direction of the program.

    I hope they learned some things from the Miami game. Go Irish!

  25. OK, I’m jumping on the Frankie, Positive Pete bandwagon. I just can’t see us getting beat by a KJ Costello. We can’t let him get comfy in the pocket.

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