Notre Dame at Oklahoma: Breaking Down the Winner's Chances of Reaching BCS Title
One of the bigger games of the Week 9 college football schedule is when Notre Dame travels to Oklahoma Memorial Stadium to take on the Oklahoma Sooners. Both squads are ranked in the Top 10 of the BCS rankings and should provide an interesting matchup that tells us a lot about both teams.
Many consider this the real test for the Irish. It will show us whether or not they are true title contenders, while Oklahoma is still looking for marquee wins to get themselves back in the title conversation.
Regardless of which team ends up winning this weekend, it will certainly be one of the stronger wins on that team's schedule and help build a case for a possible championship run.
Let's take a look at both team’s current resume and break down the possibility of either one of these clubs competing for this year’s national championship.
Notre Dame Resume with Victory
Victories: vs. Navy, vs. Purdue, at Michigan State, vs. Michigan, vs. Miami, vs. Stanford, vs. BYU, at Oklahoma
Ranked Teams Beaten: Michigan State, Michigan, Stanford and Oklahoma
Notre Dame was supposed to have the most difficult schedule in the country, but due to teams like Michigan and Michigan State tanking this year, the victories this season haven't been that impressive. However, winning in Spartan Stadium and completely dominating quarterback Denard Robinson, a player who has owned the Irish over the years, has to count for something.
Stanford is also no slouch; the Cardinal has upset USC earlier in the year.
Overall, you can laugh at Notre Dame's schedule now, but those teams are still the same talented clubs that everybody was so high on in the beginning of the season.
Oklahoma Resume with Victory
Victories: At UTEP, vs. Florida A&M, at Texas Tech, vs. Texas, vs. Kansas, vs. Notre Dame
Loss: Kansas State
Ranked Teams Beaten: Texas and Notre Dame
If you are one to laugh at Notre Dame's schedule, you must chuckle as well when it comes to the Sooners resume. Beating a Texas Tech team has shown to be an impressive victory, but there simply aren't many others to pinpoint as worthy of a championship bid. The Texas Longhorns have shown to be overrated. They lost two games in a row and barely escaped against a defenseless Baylor club.
A win over Notre Dame would help the resume for Oklahoma, but victories over Florida A&M, Kansas and UTEP don't hold much weight.
Remaining Games for the Irish
Games Left: vs. Pittsburgh, at Boston College, vs. Wake Forest, at USC
Ranked Teams Left: USC
The schedule gets much easier for the Irish after the game against Oklahoma, as the matchups against the usual lousy Big East and ACC teams begin. An end of the season matchup against the Trojans certainly won't be easy, and it will be the final test, especially with the game taking place on the road. USC has also won nine of the last 10 meetings against the Irish, including a 14-point victory last season.
But overall, things seem to be smooth sailing for most of the month of November, as Notre Dame makes its final BCS push.
Remaining Games for the Sooners
Games Left: at Iowa State, vs. Baylor, at West Virginia, vs. Oklahoma State, at TCU
Ranked Teams Left: West Virginia
Much like Notre Dame, Oklahoma will only have one ranked team remaining on the schedule, but the Sooners have a much more difficult road ahead. Iowa State has been known to pull off upsets in the past and has played ranked teams tough.
Baylor has the best passing attack in the country and is averaging 48 points per contest. Also, a road trip to Morgantown is never an easy task, as the Mountaineers will be searching for a marquee victory after losing two games.
The Big 12 has been a deep conference this year and will make Oklahoma work the rest of the way to run the table.
Who Could Make It to the Big Game?
Despite there still being a few tests remaining for the Sooners, Oklahoma plays well on both sides of the ball to where finishing the regular season with only one loss is a serious possibility. The problem is that there are many undefeated teams that Oklahoma will have to jump in order to make the big game. When you factor in that an SEC team is a lock to make the national championship, Oklahoma will need Kansas State to lose at some point and hope Oregon suffers a hiccup as well.
If the Wildcats finish undefeated, it removes much hope for the Sooners, as Kansas State beat Oklahoma earlier this year.
Even with a victory this weekend, Oklahoma will have a strong case for a national championship bid, but they will need some help along the way to guarantee a spot.
It is nearly a lock that Notre Dame would head into the USC matchup with an undefeated record if it wins this weekend. That game is no cakewalk at all, and may be even harder than the game against the Sooners. But let's say that the Irish do in fact run the table. Even if there are other undefeated teams in the conversation, does the BCS really keep Notre Dame out of the national title game?
Nothing would be promised to the Irish if they finish with a 12-0 record, but a national championship berth would be a great possibility and the odds shift into their favor with a victory this weekend.