When the Stanford Cardinal took the field in South Bend wearing the road whites, the stage was set for a statement game. If there's one sure way for a team to vault itself into the national championship discussion, it's to go on the road and defeat a highly-ranked team. In Notre Dame, the Cardinal had a perfect target. Even though the Irish came into the game undefeated and ranked ninth in the nation, they hadn't yet been tested, and there were some observable flaws. Most experts -- at least those not wearing blue and gold -- even expected Stanford to emerge with the victory. As we know now, it didn't turn out that way.