No. 4 Stanford, having wrapped up Pac-12 Conference play last week against Cal, can only be a spectator as its conference fate is decided for them, but still has a slim shot at reaching the BCS championship game.
The Cardinal (10-1, 8-1 Pac-12 North) host No. 22 Notre Dame (8-3) Saturday night, and could use another win against a ranked team to help its championship hopes.
Additionally, the Cardinal can still win the Pac-12 North and reach the conference’s first championship game with an Oregon loss to Oregon State on Saturday.
Stanford and Notre Dame have met each of the past 14 seasons with the Cardinal having won two in a row, including a 37-14 win in South Bend last season.
It is the first time in the series, which dates back to 1925, that Stanford has won back-to-back games.
Andrew Luck will make his final appearance at Stanford Stadium on Saturday with the possibility of winning the Heisman Trophy still alive.
“There is nobody in college football that is doing what Andrew Luck is doing,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “Andrew is doing something that I haven’t seen [in] college football.”
Luck threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns against Cal in the 114th Big Game last week.
The senior quarterback has 2,937 yards and 31 touchdowns heading into the matchup with Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish are coming off a tight 16-14 win against Boston College and have won four in a row since losing to Southern Cal on Oct. 22.
Stanford bounced back last week after its first loss of the season with a close 31-28 win against Cal.
“We’ve got good tough kids that play really hard and have learned how to win games in the fourth quarter,” Shaw said.
The Cardinal’s 10th win gives them their second consecutive season with double-digit wins, the first time in school history.
“It goes a lot to our players because winning a lot of games is hard,” Shaw said. “You have to make sure you get up for every game because you’re going to get other people’s best game.”
But the Stanford defense has slipped in the last two weeks.
Prior to its 53-30 loss to Oregon on Nov. 12, Stanford was only allowing 16.5 points and 321 yards per game.
Since then, the Cardinal have allowed 81 points and 748 yards of total offense.
Stanford sits at sixth in the BCS standings, looking up at undefeated LSU and one-loss teams Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech.
No. 4 Stanford vs. No. 22 Notre Dame
WHEN: Saturday, 5 p.m.
WHERE: Stanford Stadium
TV: ABC (KGO, Ch. 7)
RADIO: KTCT (1050 AM)