The Stanford Cardinal will look to hand the Notre Dame Fighting Irish their first loss of the season when the two rivals square off in an intriguing Week 6 showdown between nationally-ranked playoff contenders that gets underway at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday.
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) October 1, 2014
No. 13 Stanford at No. 8 Notre Dame
When: Saturday, October 4, 2014
Kickoff: 3:30 PM ET
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
Spread: Stanford -2
Stanford Vs. Notre Dame – Week 6 NCAAF Expert Picks Preview
Stanford (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) is coming off a close, 20-13 win over Washington State in their last contest though the Cardinal failed to cover the spread as a -7.5-point favorite.
Stanford has recorded two shutouts this season while allowing an identical 13 points in their other two games to enter this Week 6 matchup with the nation’s top-ranked defense (6.5 points).
Stanford is ranked 77th in scoring (27.5) and 68th in total yards per game (413.3) but is also averaging nearly six penalties per game. Senior kicker Jordan Williamson has also struggled in going 4 for 8 on field goals. Otherwise, the Cardinal could be undefeated themselves.
"Turnovers and penalties and missed field goals have crushed us in the red zone," head coach David Shaw said. "It’s being confident. It’s being efficient. It’s being productive. It’s always advancing, never retreating."
Shaw did have some praise for his team, saying his aggressive defense is reminiscent to the New York Jets.
"Everybody is a viable blitzer." Shaw said.
— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) October 2, 2014
Notre Dame (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) was a 31-15 winner in its Week 5 matchup against Syracuse, while covering the spread as an 8.5-point favorite.
Quarterback Everett Golson is having a fantastic season in leading the Fighting Irish after missing last season because of academics. Golson has completed 69.6 percent of his passes for 1.142 yards with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Golson has also carried the ball 39 times for 104 yards and another four scores.
The Fighting Irish are ranked 49th in the nation in scoring (32.0 ppg) but fourth in points allowed (11.5).
This matchup marks just the second time since the start of the 2011 season that an opponent has been favored at Notre Dame Stadium. The other time was last season against Oklahoma, when the Irish were 3 1/2-point underdogs and the Sooners blew them off the field 35-21.
Coach Brian Kelly said he realizes his undefeated team can still improve.
"We are not an experienced group and if we sway too far from working on getting out of our breaks and taking a direct snap, because we may fumble it, we’re going to be in trouble. So that’s where I really have to stay as a task master when it comes to those details,” Kelly said.
Notre Dame has scored 30 or more points in each of their four games, the first time that’s happened since the 1943 season and the Irish are also 4-0 ATS in their last four games against Pac-12 opponents.
Still, with Stanford winning four of the last five meetings against the Fighting Irish and the road team going 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings, I’m backing the Stanford Cardinal to cover the spread in this one!
My Pick: Stanford -2 Points