Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Stanford Cardinal
Date and Time: Saturday, November 25, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, CA
Opening College Football Odds: Notre Dame -1.5
Notre Dame vs. Stanford TV Coverage: ABC
The biggest thing that we have to keep in mind with Notre Dame is that this is the last shot it has to impress the Selection Committee for the CFP. The Irish have a decent resume at 9-2 with wins over Michigan State, USC and N.C. State, but that second loss to Miami, as brutal as it was, turned out to be a big issue. If Notre Dame beats the Cardinal up on the road, they'll have four pretty darn good victories on their resume and will have a case to get into the top four, but if we're being honest, this team isn't getting into the playoff without a slew of help.
Josh Adams is the key to the Fighting Irish this season offensively. He had a terrible first half last week against Navy, but in the second half, he finally got into some space and busted off three double-digit yardage runs. That turned out to make all the difference in the world.
Adams went a stretch of two and a half games without a single run for more than 12 yards, and Notre Dame isn't going to win any games against good teams with him running like that. This is a tough matchup against a really strong defensive team, but Adams is going to have to run the ball efficiently to keep the Golden Domers in this game.
Stanford had your prototypical Stanford game last week against Cal. The Cardinal won the "Big Game" 17-14, and they did so by literally running out the clock against the Golden Bears.
The Stanford offense hasn't been all that impressive this year, averaging just 399.8 yards per game. A scoring average of 31.8 points per game looks notable, but this team hasn't topped 30 since beating up Oregon 49-7 on October 14.
The Cardinal have had awful quarterback play all season long, and we're at the point that it just isn't going to get any better from here. K.J. Costello went the distance against the Golden Bears and went 17-for-26 for 185 yards with a score and a pick, but that's about as good as it's going to get for David Shaw's crew at this point.
Bryce Love's Heisman Trophy campaign is said and done with, but the fact of the matter is that he's going to have to play at a really high level to win this game. Love has been battling all sorts of injuries over the course of the last several weeks to the point that he wasn't even on the field for the drive that killed the clock against California.
Love only had 14 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown in that game, and though he showed that patented burst on a 57-yard touchdown run that ultimately proved to be the difference in the game, he clearly isn't right.
That could put a slew of pressure on junior Cameron Scarlett. Scarlett had the hot hand in the backfield last week, running for 61 yards on 14 carries. He's had a few really good games this year, and this might have to be one of them for the Cardinal.
Notre Dame vs. Stanford Free Picks
Notre Dame feels like it has been fool's gold all season long. Brandon Wimbush can do a lot with his legs, but he isn't capable of throwing the football all that well. The Irish have receivers who can do some damage, but Wimbush can't get the ball in their hands.
If Adams is truly limited, we don't see this one ending well for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are rightfully dealing with short spread at 1.5-points at all of the top college football sportsbooks due to the fact that they're worse-served to replace an ailing Adams than Stanford is without an ailing Love.
College Football ATS Pick: Stanford +1.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Stanford 27, Notre Dame 20