Notre Dame vs. Stanford College Football Week 13 Picks and Predictions

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Tanner McKee #18 of the Stanford Cardinal. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/AFP

Because of the pandemic, Notre Dame and Stanford’s long-standing college football rivalry was put on hold for 2020, but it’s back Saturday as the No. 5 Irish visit the Cardinal. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Stanford Cardinal 

Saturday, November 27, 2021 – 08:00 PM EST at Stanford Stadium 

Fox has the telecast of this non-conference game between Associated Press No. 5 Notre Dame and unranked Stanford. These teams usually play every year but the pandemic changed everything in 2020 and they took a season off with Notre Dame going to the ACC for just that year.  

The Irish don’t want to join a conference full-time because they don’t want to end long-standing rivalries with Stanford, Southern Cal, and Navy. It’s smart marketing and helps recruiting for Notre Dame to play at least one game in California per season (vs. either Stanford or USC -- and one visits South Bend every year). 

Notre Dame is 21-13 all-time vs. Stanford and won the last meeting 45-24 in Palo Alto in 2019. When the Irish are ranked in the series and the Cardinal aren’t, ND is 12-1. The Cardinal’s last win in the series was in 2017 at home. The Irish are 5-2 against the spread at BMR’s top-rated books in the past seven meetings. 

Irish Still Have Playoff Dreams 

One of the biggest winners of Oregon’s loss to Utah on Saturday was Notre Dame (10-1) because now the Irish are going to pass the Ducks in the new College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday night. They will also jump Michigan State, so ND should be No. 6 in the rankings.  

This is Notre Dame’s final game of the regular season and this is where not playing in a conference title game hurts the school because it doesn’t get that extra game to impress the committee as every other contender does. Thus, the Irish really need to hammer Stanford. Coach Brian Kelly’s team did hammer Georgia Tech last Saturday 55-0. It was the fifth-largest shutout in modern history for the Irish.

Senior QB Jack Coan completed 15-of-20 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Coach was a bit shaky early in the season but has gotten better as it has gone on. Running back Kyren Williams finished with 120 all-purpose yards and had two rushing touchdowns. Fellow tailback Logan Diggs added two touchdowns, one on the ground and one receiving. 

Notre Dame has now won 10 games in five straight seasons for the first time in program history. It has won 15 consecutive games in November, 35 straight games when allowing less than 20 points, and 41 consecutive games against unranked opponents. That latter streak is the longest active in the FBS

The team remains without All-American safety Kyle Hamilton. The future Top 10 NFL Draft pick suffered a knee in Notre Dame’s 31-16 win over USC on Oct. 23. Hamilton should be back for a bowl game. The defense really hasn’t missed Hamilton much lately, not allowing a TD in the last 187:23 minutes of game time (3+ games).

The Irish defense has outscored opposing offenses 12-9 over that span. Notre Dame is 6-0 ATS on the NCAAF picks in its past six.  

Season Can’t End Soon Enough for Stanford 

Could this be the final game as head coach at Stanford for David Shaw? The Cardinal finished 4-8 in their last full season in 2019 and are 3-8 this year – the school is at a huge disadvantage to others in the Pac-12 because of stringent academic requirements, but Notre Dame is close to the same level and keeps winning. Thus, nothing to play for in the finale other than pride Saturday and knocking the Irish from a possible playoff spot. 

Stanford lost their sixth straight game last Saturday, 41-11 at home to California – the Bears are not that good and should not be beating their rivals by 30. They also had a bunch of guys returning from COVID.

Cardinal starting QB Tanner McKee was back after missing two games injured, but he wasn’t great in completing 26 of 43 for 239 yards and two picks. He did become the third freshman in program history (Andrew Luck, 2009; Chad Hutchinson, 1996) to reach 2,000 passing yards. 

The Golden Bears racked up 636 yards as Stanford had no answers on defense. It was the Cardinal’s worst loss to Cal since 2004. Shaw’s team has started 10 different players in the secondary due to injury and other issues. Safety Jonathan McGill made his season debut Saturday against Cal after missing the first 10 games of the season to injury. 

Stanford is the only school in the country playing 12 Power Five opponents during the regular season, the first program since USC in 2011 to schedule 12 Power Five teams in the regular season. Shaw does have a history of upsetting teams as Stanford has defeated multiple Top-15 opponents in five of Shaw’s 11 seasons.

The Cardinal defeated USC and Oregon earlier this year when both were in the Top 15. No doubt that Notre Dame wins this game, but that’s a ton of points even as Stanford is 0-6 ATS on the NCAAF odds in its past six. The Cardinal have nothing to lose, so I’d expect trick plays galore, etc. They can stay within 17. 

NCAAF Pick: Stanford +19 (-110) with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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