It Can't End Soon Enoughposted by John Vannie
A new head coach will be named soon, possibly as early as Tuesday, and it is very unlikely that any of the current staff will be retained. The players realize this, of course, and their motivation against the Cardinal as well as any residual interest in a lower tier bowl game is collectively quite low.
There has been some talk that the Gator Bowl may be interested in a 7-5 Notre Dame team, but that would require the Irish to defeat Stanford this weekend. That is not going to happen. Besides a shortage of motivation, the week has provided nothing but a series of distractions for the players, not the least of which is the brawl that left quarterback Jimmy Clausen with a panda look this week. Tommy Zbikowski, he's not.
In any event, the Cardinal represent the type of physical running team that has caused problems for the Irish all season, and it may take less time than normal to break the spirit of Notre Dame's gelatinous defense. Weis may make things fun with some devil-may-care play calling, but I don't suspect that the level of offensive execution will be crisp.
The Irish can make this another close game for a while if they have the desire to do so, and the final score will reflect their level of effort. A loss by 7-10 points would be a nominal result, but it could deteriorate into a blowout. We may get to see a few more players in extended action as auditions for next season or rewards for meritorious service on the scout team this year, but this game might be tough to watch for even the most hard core fans.
STANFORD 41 NOTRE DAME 21