Two of the most storied programs in the history of college football are going to meet up on Saturday night in the game of the week, as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish clash with the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman.
Notre Dame might have one of the best defenses in America, but its offense has been suspect all year long. Oklahoma has had a history of playing terribly in big time games under the direction of QB Landry Jones. Still, these two Top 10 BCS teams are hoping to keep their name in the hat for the National Championship, and whichever team covers this 10-point spread will have the upper hand on the other. Kickoff from the Sooner State is set for 8:00 p.m. ET
1. Why Notre Dame will cover the spread: Notre Dame will cover the spread if it controls the pace on the defensive side of the ball. The Golden Domers are amongst the country’s leaders this year in three and outs, forced turnovers, and opposing quarterback rating, not to mention the fact that they haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown in almost a full calendar year at this point. That figures to end this weekend against the Sooners and their plethora of weapons. The Fighting Irish don’t need to be perfect defensively, but they do need to make sure that the Sooners don’t get the upper hand and run the pigskin down their throats.
2. Why Oklahoma will cover the spread: Oklahoma will cover the spread if Jones takes care of the football. This has been a big problem all year long for quarterbacks playing against Notre Dame, and Jones just cannot fall into that same trap. This is a man that has had a bad rap to his name about winning big games, and the only other time that he played against a team that eventually ended up in the Top 5 in the land thus far this year, Jones had just one touchdown and one pick in a brutal 24-19 home loss to the Kansas State Wildcats.
3. Total Talk: This is definitely a game of strength vs. strength. Notre Dame’s defense has allowed a total of just 66 points this entire season, and it has played six straight games that have gone ‘under’ the ‘total’. Oklahoma has scored at least 52 three times this year already and has played three straight ‘over’ the ‘total’.
4. Betting Trends for Notre Dame/Oklahoma: Believe it or not, there isn’t much history between these two teams. The last meeting was in 1999, a 34-30 win for the Irish that ended with Oklahoma covering +6, and the last time these two met in Norman was over 100 years ago. Still, Notre Dame comes into this one having failed to cover two in a row, while Oklahoma has rolled to three straight covers, beating the spread in those games by an average of 22.2 points per game. This one surely won’t be covered by that much, but an outright cover isn’t out of the question, even against a double digit spread.
Oklahoma 34 – Notre Dame 17