Saturday’s matchup between Stanford and Notre Dame represents the 33rd meeting between the schools, with Saturday night’s matchup being the biggest one yet.
Before getting into the facts and figures about Stanford and Notre Dame, I have a question for you Irish fans:
Do we consider Stanford a true rival?
While the Irish and the Cardinal do square off annually, the matchup never seems to bring nearly the amount of hatred from either side that you see with Michigan or USC. There seems to be more of a mutual respect between the two schools.
Don’t get me wrong though, I do not like Stanford one bit. I just don’t dislike them nearly as much as I do Michigan or USC.
The Legends Trophy Rivalry
The Legends Trophy may be one of the most underrated trophy names in all of sports. The name comes from the original first meeting in 1925 in The Rose Bowl. It was said that there were so many legends in that game, that there was a Legends Trophy given to the winning team and the name has stuck ever since.
The new version of the trophy was presented in 1989.
The rivalry between Notre Dame and Stanford is a unique one. While most rivalries stem from proximity or past history, this one stems from recruiting.
Brian Kelly himself said recently in an interview with Jim Rome on CBS Radio that most recruits who visit Notre Dame also visit Stanford. He states in the interview that both schools are looking for the same kids — successful both in the classroom and on the football field.
Therefore, because Notre Dame and Stanford are constantly battling year-in and year-out for recruits, there is a constant rivalry running rampant, even when the teams aren’t playing.
As mentioned, the not-so-storied rivalry between the Irish and the Cardinal began way back in 1925. Notre Dame and Stanford have met every year since 1988, excluding the 1995 and 1996 seasons. The Irish lead the overall series 19-13, however Stanford has won the past three games.
With eight of the last 10 games being decided by seven points or less, it is almost certain that Saturday’s game will be a close one.
Notre Dame will be looking to get over this “Stanford bug”, if you will. Stanford has been Notre Dame’s kryptonite as of late, and have prevented the Irish from having the kind of seasons they want. Notre Dame vs. Stanford nearly always — at least recently — represents a top-25 matchup, and those are the kind of games Notre Dame must win in order to be a College Football Playoff contender.
Looking toward Saturday night
This latest edition of the “Battle for the Legends Trophy” has the potential to be the best one yet.
This matchup is the first ever where both teams are ranked in the AP Top 10. With the Cardinal ranked No.7 and the Irish ranked No.8, this game could not have bigger implications for each team season.
It seems likely that the winner of this matchup will be a strong favorite to be a contender for one of the four College Football Playoff spots.
Stanford stumbles into this meeting with red-hot Notre Dame. The Cardinal were beyond lucky to make it out of Eugene, Oregon with a win last weekend. That’s not to say that 19th ranked Oregon was an easy opponent by any means, but Stanford looked absolutely dreadful for well over half of the game.
I fully expect them to look a completely different team Saturday night, because, quite simply, they always play great against the Irish.