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Notre Dame Football: There is unrest in the forest

Trouble with the trees

When Notre Dame announced that this game was going to be in primetime, I raised an eyebrow. For years now, I’ve heralded to anyone who would listen, that Stanford was crumbling and has been since 2017. So why put this game in primetime, what purpose does it serve? I’d like to think that they did this for the most cutthroat of reasons, that this is a public execution.

Off with it’s head!

It’s no shock that Stanford is awful this year, they were awful last year and anyone paying attention would have known they’d be awful once the decision was made to put this game in primetime. The only reasonable explanation is that they wanted a night game to bring in recruits, have a good stress-free time of dunking on an inferior opponent on the national stage, all without being overtly obvious that was what you were doing. That’s what Michigan did when they scheduled their one night game this year against Hawaii, only that was obvious. An outsider will look at the Stanford placard, think thoughts of those mid-10’s teams, and go, “okay Notre Dame, I see you.” This is not a mid-10’s Stanford team however, this more like a redux of Walt Harris’ 2006 squad, it’s barely functional. This game has all the makings of a blowout, so let’s catch some bees and chop some trees.

Exactly how bad is Stanford?

Stanford is not just bad at football, they are really bad at football. They haven’t won a game against the FBS since October 2nd of last year, they’ve lost 11 straight. It’s not just they are losing either, they are getting pummeled in those games, with six of them being by 18+ and three by 30+. One of the biggest reasons is that they step out onto field like they’re playing an NBA All-Star game, giving up an average of 37.5 points in their last 11 against FBS opponents. The most damning aspect has been their rush defense, for perspective, Stanford has given up 3863 yards rushing since the start of last year, Notre Dame has given up 3850yards rushing since the start of 2020. There’s no one worth mentioning on that entire defense, what’s the point? The only time they didn’t give up a 40 burger this year, they let Oregon State(and their backup QB) come back and beat them with these defensive breakdowns.

Offensively I guess there’s Tanner McKee to hang their hat on. He might be good but objectively who can say definitively when your team is consistently losing by double digits? Does he have 10-5 TD/INT ratio, 1249yards passing and an almost 64% completion rate? Sure, and that is pretty mid on it’s own but then you have to consider how much he padded his stats against Colgate. When you strip the Colgate numbers from his stat line becomes significantly more pedestrian, 8/4, 76-127(59.8%) and just 941yds. The reality of Stanford is that post Andrew Luck, all their QBs are indiscriminate, mediocre facsimiles of one another. Tall, slightly talented but otherwise uninspiring JAGs who excite no one but the NFL scouts that fetishize people standing in shorts next to rulers.

Hogan, Burns, Chryst, Costello, Mills, McKee. It’s all the same.

Their offensive line stinks, they gave up 13 sacks combined in the Washington and USC games. Every receiver is like David Shaw used the cloning machine from the movie Multiplicity on JJ Arcega-Whiteside one too many times, and long gone are the days of Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love. Can they get to 20? Sure, the thing they do best is score garbage time points; like the 10 they score in the last 5 minutes against Oregon, the 7 they got in the last 2 minutes against Washington and the 14 they got in the fourth quarter of a 41-14 game against USC.

It’s Not a Question of If but When and How Bad

Stanford can’t stop the run, they can’t protect the quarterback, the temperature is going to be in the forties and David Shaw admitted his team was still reeling from last weeks collapse. This team is coming into South Bend ready to quit and all it will take is a simple nudge to put them over the edge. Six of the last eight FBS teams they played put up 40+, why won’t Notre Dame? The last time an unmotivated team from a warm climate came up to play Notre Dame at night in the cold, we witnessed FSU looking for the exits at halftime, down 32-6. Pick whatever ridiculous amount you want for Notre Dame’s rushing total, Michael Mayer will continue to be unstoppable and the pass rush is going to have a party in the backfield. Notre Dame wins this game 48-23 and it’s not going to even feel that close.

I’ll spare you the Pyne Tree joke.