Two historic programs beset by problems
Stanford’s not accustomed to losing under coach David Shaw. Back-to-back blowouts, however, have the Cardinal in the doldrums.
Will the proud program be able to rebound against another struggling blue blood? Shaw’s bunch travels to Notre Dame tonight, with handicappers favoring the host squad. Online sports book BetDSI opened the Fighting Irish as 2.5-point favorites over Stanford. The over/under is 55.
Complicating matters further for the Cardinal: Christian McCaffrey’s health status. The Heisman Trophy runner-up may not play due to an unspecified injury. Offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren’s rushing game had already been scuffling, ranking 100th in the country with 140.8 yards per contest. The absence of McCaffrey, though, would be downright devastating.
Notre Dame’s new defensive coordinator, Greg Hudson obviously won’t complaint. Tabbed to replace Brian VanGorder three weeks ago, Hudson’s still trying to assess the main reasons behind his unit’s continued inability to stop opponents. The Fighting Irish were shredded by Texas, Michigan State and Duke right out of the gate, and matters didn’t improve much in a 50-33 victory over Syracuse.
Even star quarterback DeShone Kizer’s committing an uncharacteristic number of snafus at the moment. The sophomore has thrown interceptions in five consecutive affairs. He’ll surely be asked to complete a number of crucial passes later this evening, with Notre Dame striving to sustain the home school’s success in the series. Two flawed powerhouses, though, suggest fewer theatrics than usual.
SATURDAY NCAA FREE PICK: STANFORD/NOTRE DAME UNDER 55 POINTS