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Prediction: Oklahoma (-12)
In what is set to be a huge non-conference matchup, Notre Dame will travel to Norman to face off with the Sooners for the first time since 1966. The two teams have faced each other just nine times in college football history, with the Sooners winning just one of those games.
This season, the Sooners have a really solid chance of turning that number into two, as they are already early favorites by 12 points. It seems like a pretty big spread for what could be a contest between two top-25 teams, but I'm confident in taking Oklahoma.
The Fighting Irish return key starters on both offense and defense, including All-American tight end Tyler Eifert and All-American linebacker Manti Te'o, but one area that's currently lacking in experience is the secondary.
As you can see, the picture I've chosen for this slide is of Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones. With two relatively inexperienced cornerbacks starting for the Irish, Jones should have no problem slicing up their defense.
This will be the most high-powered offense the Irish have seen in quite awhile. Not to mention, here's what Notre Dame's schedule looks like leading up to the Sooners in Week 9: Navy, Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan, Miami, Stanford and Brigham Young.
If the Irish can manage to get through that stretch of their schedule unscathed, then I may have to reconsider my prediction. However, if the Irish lose five of those seven games (which is definitely possible), I'm not sure they'll even be motivated enough to compete anymore.
It sounds harsh, but it's a possibility.
If you pile on enough losses early in the season, the motivation to finish the season without the hopes of a national championship, or just a BCS bowl in general, can be very detrimental to a prestigious program.
I'm calling Oklahoma in a blowout.