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I'm only 7-4 at picking the Irish this year, so my opinion/analysis seems about as inconsistent as our play. I do believe that tough losses even out over time or you get fired. Lou Holtz lost a ton of close games his first season (Michigan and Penn State come to mind). At the end of the season the Irish stole a late one at USC and it seemed to turn their fortunes.
Brian Kelly has had similar luck in his first two seasons, as games that could have been won, or often should have been won, slipped away (Michigan twice, Tulsa, Michigan State, South Florida). This trend needs to reverse itself, or Kelly will likely not survive for a second contract at Notre Dame.
That being said, his teams have been best when expectations are low, or their backs are against the wall. This is one of those times. Stanford is a little better and is playing with perhaps a Heisman in the balance. Nevertheless, in a season of inconsistent and topsy-turvy play, the Irish keep it close and win with a late special teams' play. My head says Stanford but my heart takes the Irish in a nail-biter!
Notre Dame 33, Stanford 31