Oct 3, 2008

Stanford. October 4, 2008

Welcome to Anti-Preview for the Stanford Cardinal. This week Notre Dame faces an opponent that, quite honestly, is a little scary. Look at that fucking tree mascot. It's nightmarish.

Stanford. The Cardinal come into South Bend with a lot of confidence, but no real marquee win. Stanford is 3-2 with victories over Oregon State, San Jose State, and at Washington. They lost handily to Arizona State 41-17, a game where Rudy Carpenter (ASU) threw for 345 yards and 3 TD's. They also lost at TCU 31-10, a game where the Cardinal offense was dreadful. Stanford is also a little banged up with leading rusher Toby Gerhart coming off of an injury(mild concussion?), and one of the Cardinal starting WR's will be out for the game (I can't recall which one). Stanford has not beat ND since Bob freaking Davie was coaching during his last year. Since then, the Irish have pounded the Cardinal and that includes 3 victories by the Molder of Men, Ty Willingham. Ouch.

What should I be drinking? Wine and lots of it? Stanford is surrounded by wine country. Napa, Sonoma, Livermore, and Santa Cruz engulf the area of Palo Alto/ San Francisco. So more than likely, a good bottle of wine would suffice- if you are a tool or a Spartan. Instead, grab a beer that is overlooked due to the amount of wussies in the area. Anchor Steam Beer is a refreshing beer that is a style all of its own:

The California Common, or Steam Beer, is a unique 100% American style lager.
It's usually brewed with a special strain of lager yeast that works better at
warmer temperatures. This method dates back to the late 1800's in California
when refrigeration was a great luxury. The brewers back then had to improvise to
cool the beer down, so shallow fermenters were used. So in a way the lager yeast
was trained to ferment quicker at warmer temperatures. Today's examples are
light amber to tawny in color, medium bodied with a malty character. Mildly
fruity with an assertive hop bitterness. - From
The Beer Advocate

So grab a hold of this unique American invention and enjoy. If you are attending the game, please bring your camcorders, and cameras for tailgating and use them to document the gestapo marching around campus looking to incarcerate you and your family.

What should I be eating? San Francisco is famous for its treats. No, not Rice A Roni, but its wide varieties of Sushi. As much as people eat this Oriental dish out at a restaurant, it can be made quite simply at home. Here are a few recipes that you can whip together at home the night before, or even at the tailgate itself: California Sushi Roll, Salmon and Seaweed Sushi Roll, and Tuna Sushi. Of course, if you do this in South Bend and on a whim say, "Man, wish I had some sushi," you can always go to Matuba Japanese Restaurant Sushi & Sashimi on Mckinley Avenue.

You may get some weird looks from other tailgaters as you tear into a sushi roll, and don't be surprised if you conjure the wrath of Sarah at Bad Trade:

When I went to visit Stanford while looking at colleges, they weren't cooking
anything. Because, you know, sushi doesn't require cooking. And they were
drinking wine.I'm sorry, any team with fans who think sushi is an appropriate
item to eat at a tailgate is not a team we should be playing on a regular basis.

You may want to consider a log table while serving this dish, and I'm certain the Roman Catholic Church will look down on a nyotaimori style platter.

What should I be wearing? You mean, besides a platter of sushi? The forecast calls for a mild fall day that is mostly sunny and a high of 64. That sounds perfect for a bunch of aging hippies and hippies that have no idea what a real hippie really is. So grab a tye dye blue and gold shirt, some old torn up jeans and a pair of Birkenstocks (with or without socks). It might be a little cool in the morning, so grab an old Army jacket and take a Sharpie to draw a big peace sign with the words Notre Dame around the circle. Crunchy!

What freshman will make the biggest impact (besides Floyd) ? Michael Floyd is going to be a major contributor for the remainder of the season, so he will no longer be eligible in this category. Last week I said Blanton would make the biggest impact and I was prophetic as you could argue that it was his INT return for TD that really sparked the Irish to kick the shit out of Purdue. This week, I am going with Kyle Rudolph. Stanford likes to blitz as much as the Irish. I think Rudolph will be key in helping to protect the QB in max protect situations, he should find a lot of room in the middle of the field with the coverage schemes that Stanford likes to run, and he is oh so important in locking down the edge when ND is running the ball- especially with the delays and draws that have been the most successful part of the rushing attack. I think Rudolph scores a redzone TD and continues to improve on his blocking. We need him to.

What offensive player needs to step it up? Last week I chose Armando Allen and once again I was prophetic as he gave his best performance as a football player since his junior year in high school. This week I am going to go with another sophomore, and it is a safer pick- but crucial. Jimmy Clausen. Clausen had his best week in an Irish uniform as well against Purdue as he threw for 275 yards and 3 TD's with 0 INT's. He is going to need to the same kind of stat line this week if ND expects to put another ass whooping on the Cardinal. Of course the biggest stat is the no INT's. As long as Jimmy can make those good decisions, ND should roll on offense with a good balance of passing to set up the run. Carpenter (ASU) is a similar type of QB and he threw for 345 yards and 3 TD's in their home win versus Stanford. Jimmy could beat those numbers with the stable of WR's that he has at his disposal... Tate, Floyd, Grimes, Kamara (strong #2 candidate for this category this week), and Rudolph. Californication.

What defensive player needs to step it up? Kerry Neal. Neal has been a man without a position this year. the Irish have been using more 4 man fronts with the nickel packages, and the 4-3 alignments that we have been seeing. Neal is a bit undersized at DE and really doesn't have his off of the ground in a LB stance at all this year. I just have a hunch that he is going to be unleashed on Pritchard and have a sack or two. Just a hunch and definitely a hope.

What special team player needs to step it up? Brandon Walker. This is a new category for the Anti-Preview, but it is needed since this is such an important part of every football game. Walker finally had a field goal go through the goal post last week as he went 1-2 with a 41 yarder made. He is still perfect on his PAT attempts, but he really has to focus as Weis seems determined to get this part of the Fighting Irish scoring machine on track. Weis does not want to fall back into the misery of HAVING to go for it on 4th down because his kicker can't come close to a 40 yard FG kick. Walker has a leg that is strong enough to make most kicks within 45 yards, but his execution has been awful. He has to improve this week and keep his confidence on the rise. Maybe he should pay attention to Sprout and Eric at The Subway Alumni Show as they had some good tips for Walker.

Is there a rivalry trophy at stake? As a matter of fact, yes. (I wouldn't have asked otherwise) Here is an excerpt from an old Subway Domer post on all of ND's rivalry trophy games... This might be the most obsolete trophy. It is not even published by a video game. It was presented for the first time in 1989 by the Notre Dame Club of the San Francisco Bay Area. The Legends Trophy, is a combination of Irish Crystal and California Redwood. Whatever the hell that means.

Who's gonna win? Despite any of the shit spewed out of Stanford offensive lineman Chris Marinelli's mouth, the only thing that they are going to gash is their ass as ND should continue to dominate this series. I see a confident and improving Irish team that is going to continue to get better and play with more emotion thanks to that dumb ass Marinelli. Irish 45-17. The offense gets its balance by throwing the ball to create running lanes for Allen and punches it in while in the redzone. I don't think Stanford will be up to the task, but this is still a decent Cardinal team so the Irish must continue to play with emotion and prepare like it's a must win game.