Staff Predictions for Notre Dame vs. Stanford

WINSTON SALEM, NC - SEPTEMBER 22: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish watches on against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during their game at BB&T Field on September 22, 2018 in Winston Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
WINSTON SALEM, NC - SEPTEMBER 22: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish watches on against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during their game at BB&T Field on September 22, 2018 in Winston Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Our writers give their thoughts on the biggest Notre Dame football game of the season.

It’s almost game day. Stanford vs. Notre Dame. A top ten battle for the right to stay in the College Football Playoff conversation. Saturday night, under the lights.

It doesn’t get much better than this.

As we do every week, the Slap The Sign staff is here to give our thoughts on how we think the game will shake out and what the final score will be.

Here are our takes.

Carlee North

Saturday is the biggest game of the season. Not just for playoff implications, but for a recruiting battle that has turned the wrong way in favor of Stanford over the past several years. And to be honest, this is probably one of the top three games of Brian Kelly’s Notre Dame career.

I had the Irish winning this game to start the season, and maybe I’m a little more optimistic now after watching Book with the offense last week. I don’t think they’ll have the same type of success as they did against Wake Forest, but I think they’ll do enough.

Defensively will be frustrating throughout the game, mainly because of the size Stanford brings down the middle of the field and on the perimeter. That said, the defensive line is the difference and they’ll get after Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello all game, which will rattle him just enough in the fourth quarter to pull out the win. Irish 27-20.

Chase Eyrich

We should be really excited for this game after last week’s performance by both teams. Stanford is about to face the best defense they’ll see this season. I think the Irish have what it takes to slow down the Cardinal. I see Notre Dame edging this one out with the offense now clicking. Notre Dame, 27-24

Connor McJunkin

Well I was proved wrong last week — which was a good thing — and saw a competent passing game with my own eyes. This newfound confidence in the offense with Dexter back and Book leading the charge has me excited. Stanford’s offense is going to test the Irish defense with its playmakers, but we saw what happened to Stanford’s defense last week when they played a semi-competent offense. This is a great matchup on paper and both teams will be hungry for a win to stay in the playoff race. This will be a close game most of the night, but the Irish pull away late and win 30-20.

Jack Leniart

I had a harder time finalizing my score prediction for the Stanford-Notre Dame than any other game this season. Both teams have had peaks and valleys throughout their first four games, and I’m not entirely sure which version of each team will take the field on Saturday. This game will be crucial for Notre Dame’s case to make the College Football Playoff. The Irish have seen their strength of schedule statistics deteriorate over the first four weeks of the season. If they want a spot in the final four, they will most likely need to run the table. I think they know that, and I think that, along with the fact that this will be a night game in South Bend, gives them the edge. Notre Dame 34, Stanford 24.

Nathan Erbach

This isn’t the Stanford we are accustomed to. Their defense is vulnerable and their offense can spread you out and kill you with big, fast targets. Notre Dame should be able to score in the 30s with Ian Book as the starter, and the Irish defense should be to play their typical bend-but-don’t-break on multiple drives. It will be a relatively close game throughout, but at the end of the day, Notre Dame is at home and the better team. I’ve got Notre Dame winning, 34-26.

Ben Belden

Hot take: This game will resemble another early fall battle between the Irish and a Pac-12 school at night in Notre Dame Stadium: Notre Dame’s win over USC from a season ago. While the Irish won’t pull away from the Cardinal quite the same way they did the Trojans a year ago, Notre Dame finds a way to do what Oregon couldn’t do last week: Maintain a lead. Notre Dame 38, Stanford 21.

Mason Plummer

Points will be somewhat hard to come by in this game, but with the crowd behind the Irish, I think they get the win. I do see Arcega-Whiteside causing the Notre Dame secondary a lot of problems, so dealing with him will be a big factor in how this game goes. The Irish will rely on the running game and Book’s accuracy to wear down the Stanford defense. Notre Dame wins a hard-fought battle, 24-17

Paul Walsh

Ian Book came out firing on all cylinders against Wake Forest. Although Stanford’s defense might not be as forgiving, I do think the Irish offense will play well enough to win. Notre Dame’s defensive front will stuff Bryce Love, putting all the pressure on Costello to make the big plays. The Irish pressure him into making a few too many mistakes. Notre Dame wins 31-20.

Sonny Martinez

I expect this to be more of a shootout than most. No slight to the defenses, but I think these two just match up nicely on offense. I expect a big day for Ian Book, and look for KJ Costello to have a solid day, as well. 38-34 Notre Dame.

Next. Kelly takes a dig at Stanford. dark

J.P. Scott

I’ve watched Stanford a lot this season. I just don’t believe they match up well anywhere with Notre Dame. I can’t see the offensive line holding up against Notre Dame’s pass rush. I can’t see that same line consistenly opening holes for Bryce Love. I can’t see Stanford’s receivers getting open in the secondary. I can’t see the Stanford defense having an answer for Notre Dame’s running game. This should be a sound win by the Irish. If not, point all fingers at Brian Kelly. Notre Dame 34, Stanford 16.