The folks in charge of ESPN's College GameDay have chosen the unexpected heavyweight matchup between the Stanford Cardinal and Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend, Ind. as their featured game of Week 7.
This game has everything the fans expect from a College GameDay selection: both teams are ranked in the Top 25, there is a team looking to remain undefeated, it is a rivalry game and the environment will be second to none before, during and after these two teams square off at Notre Dame Stadium.
We're heading to South Bend next week to see the Stanford Cardinal take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame!— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 7, 2012
This is really the only site that makes sense for Week 7 considering the lack of marquee matchups. The South Carolina Gamecocks were the subject of last week's College GameDay special and take on the LSU Tigers this weekend, so they are out. The Red River Rivalry does not look as exciting either, now that the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns have suffered early season losses.
Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish are off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 2002 when Tyrone Willingham, then in his first year as head coach, and Notre Dame opened the season with eight victories in their first eight games.
The Cardinal are 4-1 and are hoping to score their second win this season over a Top 10 opponent. Stanford topped the USC Trojans, who were ranked No. 2 in the nation when they faced the Cardinal on Sept. 15, at Stanford Stadium.
Both teams looked impressive offensively in their most recent tilts as well. Notre Dame rushed for 376 yards on 51 carries against the Miami Hurricanes at Soldier Field on Saturday, while Stanford got top-end performances from Stepfan Taylor and Josh Nunes in their 54-48 overtime thriller against the Arizona Wildcats.
The defenses are still the strength of both squads though. Stanford has only surrendered more than 17 points once this season and the Fighting Irish have held four of their five opponents to 10 points or less.
This game is not expected to be an offensive spectacle by any means, but Taylor and Notre Dame's host of talented running backs should be fun to watch next Saturday.
Even though the running backs will be the stars in this matchup, the game will be decided by whichever team's quarterback is able to make more plays than his counterpart.
Notre Dame's starter Everett Golson is coming off of one of his most efficient performances of the season as the sophomore completed 17 of 22 passes for 186 yards and led the Fighting Irish to a 41-3 rout of the Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes over the weekend.
Nunes saved his best performance of the season for Saturday as well. The junior signal-caller went 21-of-34 for 360 yards and two touchdowns, though those numbers are likely a bit inflated due to the fact the Cardinal faced a Rich Rodriguez defense.
Notre Dame has lost the last three games in this series after reeling off seven consecutive wins over the Cardinal in the battle for the Legends Trophy.
The last time College GameDay traveled to South Bend was back in 2005 when Notre Dame fell to USC 34-31 courtesy of Reggie Bush's infamous push, which still has Fighting Irish fans fuming. This will be College GameDay's eighth visit to South Bend, and Notre Dame is 3-4 all-time when Lee Corso and co. come to town.