You can't lie to me. I know back in August that there wasn't a one of you that thought this game would actually have national championship ramifications. If you're sitting there thinking, I thought it would…QUIT LYING.
No one had any designs on this one being "important", for lack of a better word. Entertaining? Sure. Important? Nah. But, after eight weeks of college football in 2012, this one has more intrigue than any other game this weekend because it's two of the legendary programs in college football playing for the first time since 1999, Bob Stoops first season in Norman. And, on top of that, it MEANS something.
1. Run the Four Leaf clover all day long - Theo Riddick, George Atkinson III, Cierre Wood and QB Everett Golson.
2. Control tempo - Offensively with run game and defensively by putting OU in third down repeatedly - only way OU slows tempo is on third down.
3. If OU consistently doubles NT Louis Nix, run blitz to free up unblocked linebackers, in particular Manti Te'o.
1. TE/WR #80 Tyler Eifert - OU doesn't have an answer for him in the passing game but ND just has to find him.
2. LT #70 Zack Martin - Can control the edge to create downhill running lanes for speedy RB and QB.
3. DE #7 Stephon Tuitt - May be best overall NFL Draft prospect, eventually, on this roster.
1. Landry Jones. It's this simple for the senior QB: If he gets time to throw early, he can carve up young ND secondary. If not, the Irish will jump routes and receivers he zeroes in on when pressured.
2. How many different ways can the OU offense use Swiss Army Knife RB Trey Millard…he needs at least 8 touches.
3. Physically beat up Golson -- not in a dirty way of course, but make him pay for scrambling or running on designed QB runs.
1. WR #19 Justin Brown - Penn State transfer has slowly gained the trust of Jones and should be factor on punt returns.
2. S #30 Javon Harris - Been the team's playmaker at strong safety this season (two picks last week at Kansas).
3. C #64 Gabe Ikard - Has his hands full with #9 Louis Nix in front of him all day, great matchup of stud linemen.
The Sooners got their swagger back, seemingly, a few weeks ago in a three touchdown win over Texas Tech in Lubbock. Since the Sooners loss to Kansas State, the Sooners have averaged 52 points a game and only given up an average of 16 points a game.
The defense has been stout and playing much better assignment football, while the tackling has significantly improved. Notre Dame, on the other hand, has allowed only one touchdown in the last five games, four touchdowns all year and not a single rushing touchdown.
The Bell Dozer, QB Blake Bell, may have something to say about that, but down on the goal line, it'll be a great matchup. Regardless, Notre Dame will struggle to put sevens up on the board, even though it'll move the football effectively between the 20s. Jones will answer with a solid performance throwing the football in a highly enjoyable football game.
Oklahoma - 21 vs. Notre Dame - 13