It was fun while it lasted for Notre Dame. However, the Fighting Irish's undefeated season will come to an end when the team visits Norman to take on the Oklahoma Sooners.
All good things must come to an end. This week, I'm afraid it will be Notre Dame's national championship aspirations.
I truly believe the Notre Dame defense can compete with any offense it faces this year, even an Oklahoma unit that is averaging 488.2 yards (17th in the nation) and 44.7 points (fifth) per game.
After all, the Fighting Irish are only allowing 9.4 points (second in the nation) and 280.7 yards (sixth) per contest. Oklahoma's offense will have its work cut out, that's for certain.
Then again, can Notre Dame totally slow down Landry Jones and the explosive Oklahoma wide receivers? We know the Irish's front seven will make running difficult, but can the secondary withstand a potential blitzkrieg from Jones?
That's a big question. While I think Notre Dame's defense will play well, they won't totally stymie the Oklahoma offense.
With that being said, it's the other side of the ball that I'm worried about for Notre Dame. I don't think the Irish will be able to move the ball against a very talented Oklahoma defense.
The Sooners are allowing just 15.3 points (11th in the nation) and 301.7 yards (15th) per game.
If Notre Dame is to have any success in this contest, it will have to be running the football. The Fighting Irish have a poor passing offense, and Oklahoma allows just 163.5 passing yards per game (ninth in the nation).
If the Irish can't run the ball successfully and stay out of long third-down situations, they're toast. They will really struggle to throw against this Oklahoma team.
We haven't even mentioned the home-field advantage for the Sooners. With so many BCS implications on the line, you can bet Oklahoma Memorial Stadium will be bumping.
Ultimately, I think Oklahoma is the first team that will be able to really take advantage of Notre Dame's weaknesses. The Sooners defense is too talented for a one-dimensional Notre Dame offense to have too much success. Furthermore, the Oklahoma passing attack will really stretch an Irish secondary that hasn't been tested like they will be in Norman.
Notre Dame is an excellent football team. Unfortunately, they aren't as well-rounded as a team as Oklahoma, and that will be the difference.
You may be a homer for your Golden Domers, but this is a game that Oklahoma should win. The dream season is ending on Saturday night.
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