Well, there is a lot of pressure going on at Notre Dame right now, where they simply don’t tolerate losing. It is a matter of perspective as to whether head coach Brian Kelly is on the hot seat, but he has called out his players a lot, and that never looks good. His team has four losses at the moment, which is quite a comedown from where they were expected to be. In fact, the Irish was a top 10 team in the pre-season polls, and actually the same thing can be said for the Stanford Cardinal, who come into this game with two defeats. So the stage is set for this game which will begin at 7:30 PM on Saturday night in South Bend. NBC will televise it live, and BetAnySports customers can watch it and place wagers as it is happening, through the magic of Live Betting Ultra.
When you take a look at the teams Notre Dame has lost to, it is not a list that is so all-inspiring. Texas, Michigan State, Duke and North Carolina State are not exactly knocking down the door to the top 10. The game against the Wolfpack last week was particularly ugly, in terms of weather and performance. The Notre Dame offense had only 113 yards, and needless to say, there were special teams gaffes, including a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown. This has to be the low-water mark in Kelly’s tenure at the helm. While it is true that seven members of the Notre Dame team last season were taken among the first 103 picks in the NFL Draft, this is still Notre Dame, and there is still talent around.
Firing his defensive coordinator, Brian Van Gorder, does not necessarily look like it was an answer, although the jury is still out. All we can tell you is that the culture around this university is not such that missing a bowl game is going to be met with pleasantries.
The culture is a little different around Stanford, so David Shaw probably isn’t worried about losing his job. And frankly, because of his background, his stock as a possible future NFL head coach is not necessarily plummeting. But he has not fared well this season, and these last two games have brought a lot of anguish.
In the college football odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, Notre Dame is favored at home:
Stanford, like Notre Dame, was expecting great things this season, with a lot of momentum after the 45-16 victory in the Rose Bowl over Iowa. And Christian McCaffrey, who possibly should have won the Heisman Trophy last season, was certainly considered one of the top-level candidates. But things have been a little rough for him lately; last week against Washington State, the only had 40 yards from scrimmage, and had to leave the game with a leg injury. So his status for this game is not 100% clear. Last year he was held to rather pedestrian numbers against Notre Dame, rushing for only 94 yards. Meanwhile, the Irish had 299 yards on the ground, although they lost 38-36 on a last-second field goal. The last four games between these teams have been decided by a total of 19 points.
So what has happened to Stanford? In their last two games they have been outscored by a combined 86-22 by Washington and Washington State. But BetAnySports patrons know that only tells some of the story. The offensive line has simply not done the job, clearing no paths for the run game, where they have averaged 1.6 yards per carry, and allowing 12 quarterback sacks. These last two games have been awful, but at least Stanford has scored victories over USC and UCLA. Notre Dame can’t really claim any “marquee” victories on its schedule.
This is the first time since the 2007 season that Notre Dame has a losing record through the first six games of the season. And when you look at the rest of their schedule, it actually gets a little more difficult. After this game at Stanford, they have to play Miami in two weeks, then Navy, which just entered the Top 25. Virginia Tech is also an opponent that is nationally -ranked, and they also have to go to the LA Coliseum to face USC. That is never easy. So who knows if we are going to see more transition in the coaching ranks at this school by the time we get to the bowl season, which Notre Dame may not be participating in.
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