Notre Dame's Fighting Irish are off to a 7-0 start to this season, but they'll face their toughest test yet when they storm into Norman to take on the 5-1 Oklahoma Sooners Saturday night (8 pm ET, ABC). Most college football betting lines, including those at TopBet, opened this game with Oklahoma favored by nine or 10 points, but that number has been bumped to at least -11 at most shops.
Notre Dame is perfect so far, but there have been some close calls along the way. The Irish needed a late field goal to beat Purdue 20-17; got some help from the refs in beating Stanford 20-13 in overtime; and last week trailed into the fourth quarter before prevailing 17-14 over BYU. Notre Dame was favored in all three of those games, and failed to cover the spread in all three of those games.
But that might be nit-picking just a bit; the Irish also blew out Navy, won at Michigan State, toughed out a 13-6 victory over Michigan and pounded Miami 41-3.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, began this season with an underwhelming 24-7 win at UTEP, then brushed off Florida A&M, but then got upset at home by Kansas State 24-19. Since then, though, the Sooners have roared back to beat Texas Tech 41-20, Texas 63-21 and, last week, Kansas 52-7.
Statistically speaking, in playing the 20th-toughest schedule in college football so far (according to Sagarin), the Irish have outgained opponents by a 388-281 YPG margin, and outrushed foes 194-107. Oklahoma, in playing the 28th-toughest schedule, has outgained opponents 488-302 and outrushed them 200-138.
On the injury front, Notre Dame QB Everett Golson sat out last week's game vs. BYU after suffering a concussion the week before. But he is listed as probable for Saturday.
According to the Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com, Oklahoma should be favored by six points over Notre Dame, and that includes a home-field advantage.
The Irish, with that top-10 defense, have played six UNDERS out of seven games this season. The total on Saturday's game is 48 at most betting outlets.
These teams last met back in 1999, when the Irish beat the Sooners 34-30 in South Bend. Fifty-five years ago these teams played one of the classic games of the last century, when Notre Dame halted Oklahoma's 47-game winning streak with a 7-0 upset of the Sooners also in Norman.
Free Pick: The Irish have played several close games already this season, and this one looks like it might be close, too. We'll take the points with the Golden Domers. (courtesy of PickShark.com)