Notre Dame is looking to finish the regular season with a 10-2 record, but in order to do that the Irish will have to beat No. 21 Stanford on the road. That is a task Notre Dame has not accomplished since the 2007 season.
The BGI staff makes its predictions for Notre Dame's vitally important final matchup against the Cardinal.
LOU SOMOGYI, SENIOR EDITOR
The Irish have lost four in a row at Stanford, and are trying to avoid losing the regular season finale for a fifth straight year — which has never before occurred at Notre Dame. Brian Kelly also is 2-9 at ND on the road versus an AP top-20 team at the time of the game, and you will hear him say you can put that to rest afterwards.
Finally, this game has been decided by seven or less points each of the past five seasons. All this means the Irish are overdue for a bigger win.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 31, Stanford 20
BRYAN DRISKELL, FOOTBALL ANALYST
There have been bigger games for Notre Dame in terms of the ranking of an opponent, and there have been games with more on the line. But this is arguably the biggest regular season game in Brian Kelly's tenure. There are not only implications for this season, but there are bigger picture implications.
Notre Dame has to overcome Stanford's recent dominance over it, and it must end the four-game season-ending losing streak. It must once again establish itself as the nation's premier academic football program.
A win would also put Notre Dame in position for a major bowl game. That motivation, combined with Notre Dame's matchup advantages in the trenches, should propel the Irish to victory as long as quarterback Brandon Wimbush can find an early groove. If he does, Notre Dame will roll.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 34, Stanford 16
DAVID MCKINNEY, RECRUITING REPORTER
What a season it’s been. It’s been one heck of a turnaround for Notre Dame, and a really fun season to cover. I think the Notre Dame players want this win so badly, that I really don’t seem them laying an egg in Palo Alto like they did in South Beach.
I know that’s not super analytical, but it’s just a gut feeling after talking with players earlier this week. Getting double digit wins is the way these guys want to go out, and I think they’ll get there Saturday night.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 30, Stanford 28
COREY BODDEN, RECRUITING REPORTER
This game, unsurprisingly, will come down to the team that displays the most physicality and can control the trenches.
With Stanford star running back Bryce Love not completely healthy, I think Notre Dame’s defense will be able to keep big plays to a minimum. I also like the Notre Dame offensive line’s chances to give Brandon Wimbush time to make throws in order to complement the Irish rushing attack.
This game is still going to come down to the 4th quarter, and potentially the final possession. Notre Dame complete its revenge tour and knocks off Stanford to reach the 10-win plateau for the second time in three seasons.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 24, Stanford 20