Why Notre Dame Will Win: Notre Dame returns 14 starters, eight on defense. The unit may be improved from last season, hard as it is to imagine. They will sorely miss their quarterbacks on both sides of the ball in Manti T'eo and Everett Golson. Notre Dame will be overrated in the polls early because of their national championship appearance, but as a result, underrated at the end of the season (when Stanford faces them). The are murmurs in South Bend that Tommy Rees' job is not safe. If Tommy Rees shows Notre Dame something, this team could could be just as close as Stanford is to the BCS Championship game. Notre Dame could be Stanford's gatekeeper.
Why Stanford Will Win: Last year, Stanford lost a heartbreaker in South Bend in overtime, 20-17. This year looks much different. Both teams have new starting quarterbacks and the game will be played at The Farm. Josh Nunes essentially lost the game for Stanford when he completed 12-of-25 for 125 yards and two interceptions. The Cardinal can expect more out of Hogan, while a balanced offense should put the ball in the end zone. Stanford's defense will need to stay stiff as ever with Notre Dame's running backs and recievers developing well. While the Irish are waiting for a miracle, Rees can manage games, but he can't win them like Golson could. Stanford should bend, but not break, and the Cardinal will win at home.