NORMAN — The Irish are coming. Oklahoma's quest to fill future football schedules has found a powerhouse partner: Notre Dame. The Sooners and Irish have agreed to a two-year series that will bring the Irish to Norman in 2012, with OU returning to South Bend, Ind., in 2013. Notre Dame hasn't played in Norman since 1966. OU athletic director Joe Castiglione confirmed the agreement, yet consistent with his policy, preferred to withhold comment until a signed contract is in hand. Notre Dame's John Heisler, a senior associate athletic director in charge of scheduling, also confirmed the deal. While the schools have met only nine times in football and only once since the late '60s, Notre Dame stands as a major nemesis to OU fans. The Irish own an 8-1 record against the Sooners and are still resented for a 1957 win in Norman that ended OU's NCAA-record 47-game winning streak. Notre Dame beat the Sooners 34-30 in 1999, Bob Stoops' first season and the first meeting between the elite programs in 31 years. The schools had been trying to get back together since. "We agreed at that time to agree to schedule some additional games,” Heisler said Thursday. "It didn't get done at that time. And it took awhile to get these slotted and to fit. But we've finally made it work.” The Sooners and Irish played fairly regularly in the 1950s and '60s, when eight of the nine previous matchups occurred. OU's only series win came in 1956, when the No. 1 Sooners romped 40-0 in South Bend. The most referred-to game in the series came a year later, when the Irish visited Norman on Nov. 16, 1957 — Statehood Day — and as a 19-point underdog, knocked off the No. 2 Sooners and halted one of the most celebrated streaks in sports. When the Sooners played at Notre Dame in '99, some 6,000 OU fans made the trip to South Bend. Beyond the fan bases, OU-Notre Dame matchups also create a stir nationally. The Irish have won 11 national championships, more than any school. The Sooners have won seven national titles — all since 1950. "Certainly, there haven't been a huge number of games in the series,” Heisler said. "That's what makes it a little intriguing, because you have two names that have been pretty high profile a long number of years. "When they aren't routine appearances, it grabs more attention.”
Irish heritage•Oklahoma and Notre Dame have met nine times, with the Irish winning eight of the matchups. With more games on the horizon for 2012 and 2013, a look at the series: 1999: Notre Dame 34, No. 23 OU 30 (South Bend) •Oklahoma's future non-conference schedules are littered with premium opponents. There's an effort to add at least one more: Ohio State. OU and Ohio State are in discussion about a possible home-and-home series for the years 2016 and 2017. The Sooners are scheduled to face a high-profile squad in every season through 2019, with the exception of 2016 and 2017. Adding the Buckeyes would give OU a lineup of foes that includes Miami, Washington, Notre Dame, Florida State, Tennessee and LSU.
The lineup:2007: Miami 2008: at Washington 2009: at Miami 2010: Florida State 2011: at Florida State 2012: Notre Dame 2013: at Notre Dame 2014: Tennessee 2015: at Tennessee 2016: Ohio State - TBA 2017: Ohio State - TBA 2018: LSU 2019: LSU By John Helsley 1968: No. 3 Notre Dame 45, No. 5 OU 21 (South Bend) 1966: No. 1 Notre Dame 38, No. 10 OU 0 (Norman) 1962: Notre Dame 13, OU 7 (Norman) 1961: Notre Dame 19, OU 6 (South Bend) 1957: Notre Dame 7, No. 2 OU 0 (Norman) 1956: No. 1 OU 40, Notre Dame 0 (South Bend) 1953: No. 1 Notre Dame 28, No. 6 OU 21 (Norman) 1952: No. 10 Notre Dame 28, No. 4 OU 21 (South Bend) By John Helsley