We will win this game.
I guarantee it.
There are 2 conditions to this guarantee.
1) We are turnover free.
2) We don’t give up any big plays in specials teams (long returns, blocks etc.)
That’s it. The rest will take care of itself.
I did not anticipate feeling the feelings I’m feeling about this week’s game against Stanford.
The Notre Dame section of my brain took the equivalent of a sledge hammer to the temple last weekend, and the dull fog carried over until Wednesday when I became capable of emotionally processing the Irish after 3 games.
After running through a few things I felt had to be addressed in my post Wednesday, I found myself driving home from work listening to the Dome and Domer podcast and getting very antsy.
It dawned on me that we have a tremendous opportunity this weekend to completely flip the momentum of this season by beating the cardinals. As dark as I and the rest of ND nation felt last Saturday night, there is still a chance to get what we all so desperately need.
A quality win.
A win against a top 25 team
A win we are “supposed” to lose
A 9-10 win season.
Thanks to Stanford’s lopsided scores in their first 3 games (thanks even more to Harbaugh being a call-time out-up-40-to-ice-the-opponents-kicker dirtbag) the bandwagon is chugging nationally. Everyone loves Stanford and Luck and marvel how they have “taken on the personality of their head coach” blahblah.
This all plays in our favor b/c the better Stanford is perceived the greater the victory will be.
So I have asked myself why am I getting so ridiculously fired up/anxious/excited about this game? I get fired up/anxious/excited about every game….but this is ridiculous-USC levels.
I think b/c there is such an urgency to get the taste from last week out of our mouth, and I know we have what it takes. Plus I do not like Jim Harbaugh approach to himself, life and football. He needs to be taken down a peg or 4.
Positions vs. Position Breakdown
Quarterback – Edge Stanford
Luck is fine quarterback. He has a strong enough arm (though far from the strongest) and can move his 6”4’ frame fast enough to be considered a threat (He is not a running quarterback though, he is stiff and can’t avoid tackles). What makes him truly good is his intelligence and accuracy. He is one of those valedictorian guys (true) who is just born smart and the coupling of this with above average accuracy for a college quarterback, you can see why so many are high on him.
That being said, the only leg up on Crist he has is an extra year of playing experience. Crist is sharp in his own right and has a stronger arm and comparable poise/moxy/awareness. He is not as fast as Luck, but is plenty mobile. This time next year when his accuracy gets to the next level we will be talking about a possible Heisman much like Luck is being talked about this year.
Running Back – Edge Irish
It is well documented how Stanford has spread the carried out to 8 backs at times to compensate for the departure of Toby-one-kanobi. They have skill and athleticism, but none are above a “B”. The primary reason for their terrific yards per carry is the lack of competition and one of the best offensive lines in the country. None of them can dominate and consistently make people miss/break tackles to the point where they keep any defenses up at night. Of course with their offensive line it doesn’t really matter.
I would argue that Notre Dame’s 4th string tailback is better than anyone Stanford has. I am and have always been a Huge Hughes fan (the misuse of his talent throughout his career is a topic for another post) and have also watched every snap Stanford has played this year. Without question we have better backs.
Wide Receiver – Edge – Irish
By far their best receiver is Whalen who is out for this game. He is the clone of Blair White, Michigan States starter from a year ago and simply catches everything, knows how to get open and has underrated athleticism. Owusu has the juice but is not a pure receiver and is one game back from a moderate knee injury. Baldwin is a veteran who up until this year has not played a whole lot and is a lot like David Grimes…and David Grimes was not very good.
I don’t think I even have to justify ND’s personal b/c that would be redundant.
Tight End – Edge – Irish
We have Kyle Rudolph and you have Conrad Reuland.
Offensive Line – Edge – Stanford
Now ND ‘s line has played exceptionally well, especially considering it has 3 first time starters. But Stanford’s line is very good, like top 5 in college football good. They are all about 6’5” 300lbs and they are all upperclassmen. They move people and do it with an attitude.
That being said, their one weak link is right tackle where they have a senior who is a 1st time started with very little playing experience outside of this season. He is a “C” player at best and can be exploited.
D-Line – Edge – Irish
This is close, but I give the nod to I am Williams and Co. b/c both units have been equally productive but the Irish have a higher ceiling talent wise.
Stanford’s best D-Lineman is Sione Fua their nose and he is legit. All three of them are seniors and play solid.
Williams, KLM and Ethan are more athletic and have played well this season. I must add that they have in no way played as well as they are capable and can potentially dominate
Linebackers – Edge – Push
The Irish have struggled getting off blocks in the run game and generating a pass rush. Although Fleming “flashed” against MSU, he nor his fellow backers have yet to play up to their potential and have overrun their gaps on too many occasions for me to give them the nod.
Stanford backers are led by 2 way super-hero Owen Marecic who is rarely out of position and brings a physical presence. They also have Shane Skov, a young talented player with some athleticism who had his first action of the season against Wake and played alright. He is very block able however once engaged.
Secondary – Edge – Irish
With Slaughter back this week (maybe the most talented safety on either team) ND gets the advantage. Stanford returns 3 starters from last year, but last year they got torched. Walls and GG are both better than anyone Stanford has.
SPECIAL TEAMS – Edge – Stanford
With bother kickers and punters cancelling themselves out, it comes down to coverage and returns. Stanford has Owusu who I think took 3 to the house last year on returns and is the prototypical return man (think Tamarick Vanover….god I loved watching him).
With Kelly publicly putting Cierre “on notice” I would not be surprised if he rips one this weekend. And don’t sleep on John Goodman. He can fly and not just for a white guy…his track times in high school were high 21’s in the 200 which is legit.
So that leaves the final “score” ND–6 Stanford-4
Now here is the thing. Any respectable follower of college football will point out that despite what Nolan Ivers think, it is obvious that Stanford is far superior to ND. They have the 3rd ranked offense and I think 5th or 6th ranked D. On top of that they have the #1 ranked D against the pass.
So obviously the Sum is greater than the parts.
Well they played Sacramento State who is awful even for a I-AA school, then UCLA which is without question the worst offense I have seen this year (5 fumbles didn’t help), and then a Wake Forest team running the triple option (and running it poorly I might add).
You flip the schedules of these 2 teams and damn I would love to see the results.
But that is stupid talk b/c you can’t do that and thus far ND has turned the ball over and given up big plays against 2 good teams while Stanford has played flawless against truly bad teams.
Now I think ND c an flat outplay Stanford if they eliminate the self destruction….but the real reason I think they win this game is b/c I have a feeling. Now this feeling is not totally ethereal, bur based on everything I have heard in every interview of every coach and every player. And that feeling is…
Enough is Enough.
A team/program can only take so much pain before something snaps. Now it can be a bad snap (see 2009) or a good snap, and I think the good snap snaps on Saturday. I think the pain they have endured turns into outright violent rage that will for once and for all put its foot down and say No More.
I think they are primed to fuckin lay the wood this weekend and put together a performance we have all been waiting for.
Its gonna be fun to watch.
p.s. I am well aware that this line of thinking has been thought before only to deepen the darkness in all ND fans hearts after a gutbusting loss. I don’t care, and this is why I am a fan.