Staff Predictions: Oklahoma vs. Notre Dame
Observer Football Beat Writers | Wednesday, September 25, 2013
By ANDREW GASTELUM
This is one where the Irish will be ready.
I honestly thought they would be surprised by Michigan State last week, turns out I still don’t know who won since there was zero offense and zero fun sir.
This is where they will be truly tested, and everyone will be watching.
This matchup will force the Irish to focus on every play call, down and second.
Unlike Michigan, they will actually be facing a team with more talent than themselves. Add that to the vengeful glare of Bob Stoops and company and the lingering feeling of a BCS-denying loss at home last season.
The Irish will find a way to succeed in their first opportunity as true underdogs, just as they did all year last year.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 33, Oklahoma 27
By MATTHEW DeFRANKS
Assistant Managing Editor
I think Oklahoma is overrated. I don’t know if they have a run game. And I don’t know how Blake Bell will fare against one of the best defensive lines in the country.
But I just have a weird feeling about this game. Call it a gut feeling.
Notre Dame has not showed much to the nation this season with a seemingly underachieving defense and a vanilla offense.
And there’s just something about Bob Stoops that has me thinking the Sooners will be ready (but only because it’s not a bowl game).
I think Notre Dame’s 10-game home winning streak comes crashing down courtesy of the Belldozer.
FINAL SCORE: Oklahoma 27, Notre Dame 21
By MIKE MONACO
Looking past each team’s rankings, I see two squads in similar situations. Notre Dame is still an unknown entity for the most part. Oklahoma, meanwhile, may be ranked No. 14 in the AP poll, but who have the Sooners really played?
Still, I think the Sooners are quite strong, maybe even deserving of that top-15 ranking. Blake Bell is the right man for the quarterback job, and the skill-position players are talented and plentiful.
Say what you want about Notre Dame’s offensive struggles, but I think its defense will be the key. Can the Irish stop that skilled Sooner offense and play as they did against Michigan State, or will Bell pick apart the defense with a Devin Gardner-like ease?
I’m thinking closer to the latter.
FINAL SCORE: Oklahoma 30, Notre Dame 24
By JOSEPH MONARDO
Associate Sports Editor
During last year’s matchup with Oklahoma, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Even as the Irish went up 17 in the fourth quarter, it was hard to believe they would hold on for a statement win on the road. Not only did they do that, but what they did after made the win just another entry in a miracle season.
The Irish could use a win over Oklahoma to answer some questions this year too. A victory Saturday would put the Irish on track for a BCS bowl and almost assuredly propel them near the top 15. Too good to be true for a team that still hasn’t put it all together through four weeks, right? Right. Notre Dame will hang around, but the Sooners pull it out.
FINAL SCORE: Oklahoma 24, Notre Dame 17
By JACK HEFFERON
Oklahoma hasn’t had much opportunity to show what it’s made of this year, while the Irish have had their opportunities but haven’t done much with them.
Blake Bell was the only thing that could break through Notre Dame’s front seven early last year, and now the Irish will have to deal with a full dose of the Belldozer on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Irish offense is a huge question mark, as Brian Kelly listed five co-starters at running back, and there’s never any telling which Tommy Rees will put on the No. 11 jersey come game time.
Still, the Irish defense showed just enough last week to inspire confidence. Oklahoma was Notre Dame’s coming-out party last year, don’t be surprised to see a repeat Saturday afternoon.
FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 24, Oklahoma 23