Thoughts on Three Week 11 Predictions for: #4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and #14 Stanford Cardinal

Week 11 brings a slate of quality games.  Here we will be discussing TWO contests.  One will heavily impact the chase for the insert-credit card-company-name-here BCS National Championship Game.  The second game will decide which program has the skills to stay within striking distance of Oregon in the PAC-12 North, which could indirectly impact the national championship.

 

#4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-0) v. Boston College Eagles (2-7)

When: 8pm ET

Where: Alumni Stadium – Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Weather: 40’s, clear

Results last season: Notre Dame 16, Boston College 14

 

Final Score this Season: Notre Dame 34, Boston College 14

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish made the trip from South Bend to the big city of Boston, Mass. to take on the Boston College Eagles in a prime time match-up on ABC.  Notre Dame wants this game to be a re-enactment of the Boston Massacre. Boston College will approach the game like the Battle of Lexington and Concord where the outnumbered American militiamen used intelligence gathering and guile to defeat the overbearing and arrogant British forces.

Notre Dame has a balanced offense that is managed on the field by quarterback Everett Golson.  The dual-threat quarterback has completed 57 percent of his passes for 1372-yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions.  Golson is often relieved of his duties by Tommy Rees who was relegated to back-up status after an off-season arrest for resisting arrest. Running backs Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick and George Atkinson have combined for 259 carries, 1450-yards and seven touchdowns as a trio.  Tight EndTylerEifert(guaranteed NFL first round pick) and wide-out T.J Holmes have combined for 59 receptions, 786-yards and six touchdowns.

The Notre Dame defense is almost impenetrable when they are focused.  Linebacker and potential Heisman Trophy candidate Manti T’eo leads the defensive troops who have allowed opponents to score a mere 11 points per game. The Irish are ranked 2nd nationally in points allowed per game.

Boston College has struggled this season. New offensive coordinator Doug Martin, the former head coach of the Kent State Golden Flashes, has implemented a well conceived system that has performed well but has been inconsistent.  Quarterback Chase Rettig, who has NFL sleeper pick written all over him, leads the Eagles attack.  Rettig has completed 57 percent of his passes for 2556-yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.  The running game has been anemic by Boston College standards.  Andre Williams has been the most productive runner having rushed 130 times for 584-yards and four touchdowns.  Look for freshman David Dudeck to be involved as much if not more than the often injured Williams.  Receivers Alex Amidon and Johnathan Coleman have had productive seasons.  As a tandem they have 96 receptions for 1507-yards and 10 touchdowns.  Finally, place-kicker Nate Freese – a great name for a NEW ENGLAND KICKER – has been successful on 10 of 12 attempts.

The Eagles defense has not met expectations.  The loss of all-time great linebacker Luke Keuchly to the NFL, injuries to talented linebacker Kevin-Pierre-Louis and attrition have limited the Eagles effectiveness in defensive coordinator Bill McGovern’s system.  BostonCollegeis ranked 87th in the country by allowing opponents to score 31 points per game.

Close calls made in favor of the Fighting Irish in the Stanford,Oklahoma andPittsburgh games respectively have propelled currently undefeated Notre Dame to victory.  Those wins have made this game crucial to Notre Dame’s national championship chances.  Over the last 11 games between these teams Boston College has won seven. In order for the Eagles to be competitive in the game THIS YEAR Chase Rettig needs to maintain his composure and not commit turnovers as the game will be completely in his hands offensively.  That being said Notre Dame has more talent, more luck and better coaching than the Eagles this year.  Notre Dame will win a game that could be tightly contested or a complete blow-out depending on the circumstances.

 

#14 Stanford Cardinal (7-2) v.  #11 Oregon State Beavers (7-1)

When: 3pm ET, FOX

Where: Stanford Stadium – Stanford, California

Weather: 60’s, sunny

Results last season: Stanford 38, Oregon State 13

 

Final Score this Season: Stanford 24, Oregon State 20

Stanford and Oregon State are chasing the Oregon Ducks for control of the ever influx PAC – 12 North.  Each of these programs play Oregon over the next few weeks.

Stanford had difficult loses to Notre Dame and Washington earlier in the year but the Cardinal has regrouped and is playing well.  They are led on offense by quarterback Josh Nunes.  Nunes is very “green” and his ability to manage the game without committing turnovers is paramount for the success of the team.  Nunes has completed 53 percent of his passes for 1643-yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions.  Dynamic and darting running back Stefan Taylor has rushed for 947-yards and eight touchdowns. Taylor along with receiver Zach Ertz and tight end Levine Toilolo have 82 receptions for 1050-yards and nine touchdowns.

The Stanford defense is the primary reason for the success of the program this season.  Looking back on last season it is difficult to fathom how the Cardinal lost a game when they had Andrew Luck at the helm and essentially the same defense as this season.  The Cardinal are allowing opponents to score 17 points per game which ranks them 12th in the country.

The Beavers are the second most surprising team in the country this season behind Kansas State. Oregon State is led on offense by quarterback Sean Mannion who has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1579-yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.  The running game is anchored by Storm Woods(was he named after an American Gladiator) who has 540-yards and six touchdowns this season to date.  Receivers Brandon Cooks and Markus Wheaton have 104 receptions for 1693-yards and 12 touchdowns as a tandem.

The Oregon State defense has been really good this season as well.  They have only allowed their opponents to score 18 points per game.  The Beavers are ranked 19th nationally in that category.

Both of these teams are solid offensively and defensively.  The home field advantage for Stanford will be the difference.  Look for Stanford to win a close relatively low scoring PAC-12 game.

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