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Hype has no effect on Irish or coach

Focus squarely on Stanford matchup

Tony Krausz
Notre Dame
vs. Stanford

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: NBC

Radio: 1190 AM, 92.3 FM, 107.3 FM

FORT WAYNE – Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is willing to talk about how this season is shaping up to be special with everybody but his team.

No. 7 Irish (5-0) roll into the first weekend BCS rankings will be released with a showdown against No. 17 Stanford (4-1) at home Saturday.

And even though Saturday’s outcome will greatly affect where Notre Dame is when the BCS poll comes out Sunday night, Kelly isn’t talking to his team about what the future could bring.

“It’s not brought up at all,” Kelly said during his Tuesday news conference. “We don’t talk from that level of 30,000 feet because it really doesn’t do us any good.

“All we can focus on is what we can control on a day-to-day basis. When I do press conferences and talk to the media, sometimes I let our team know I’ll talk in those terms, but amongst us, it’s about today and what we do today.”

The Irish will have plenty of things to pull their focus away from the Cardinal this week.

A week after NFL Films was around the team for an NBC special that will be shown before Saturday’s game, ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike In the Morning” will broadcast from Notre Dame on Friday and ESPN’s “College GameDay” will be on campus Friday and Saturday. Plus, it is midterm exam week at Notre Dame.

Kelly, whose Cincinnati team was undefeated in the regular season in 2009, has dealt with teams facing outside distractions before.

“It’s just making sure your football team is focused on their preparation,” Kelly said. “I don’t think that that’s much different in terms of what I’ve tried to do week to week, whether I was at Grand Valley State and we won 24 consecutive games and now the Detroit newspaper was covering us, (and) that was a lot of noise for us. It’s just on a larger scale, but it’s still the same noise.”

Notre Dame will have to block out the noise to defeat Stanford, which upset then-No. 2 USC 21-14 Sept. 15.

And even though the Cardinal no longer have quarterback Andrew Luck, who was selected with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft by the Colts, Kelly still sees a challenging team that has beaten the Irish three times in a row.

“(We) haven’t beaten Stanford, and I would say that if there is one team that has beaten us physically, it’s been Stanford, and they know that.”

Note: Stanford coach David Shaw said the Cardinal will likely be without its top wide receiver against the Irish. Shaw said it was unlikely that sophomore Ty Montgomery will play because of a lower body injury.

Montgomery, who has caught 18 passes for 168 yards, was injured during Stanford’s overtime victory over Arizona last weekend.

tkrausz@jg.net

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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