The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel took questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. You can join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports. Here's a transcript of today's chat:
With all due respect, it looks like you were wrong about West Virginia.
With all due respect, predictions are much more difficult to make when you make them before the fact rather than after.
If OU beats Notre Dame big time, how does this look for OU in respect to a national championship?
Oh, it will be good. It will help. But the Sooners have to climb over Kansas State. And then there's Oregon. But you could argue that OU is in reality No. 4. No. 1 SEC (I don't think two SEC teams make the Big Bowl). No. 2 KSU. No. 3 Oregon. So the Sooners really have to jump just two teams.
How many games does K-State have to lose before OU can pass them up in the BCS standings? Or the Big 12 for that matter?
I think OU will pass KSU in the BCS if KSU loses one game. That's probably not fair. It's a flaw in the system, which remains opinion-based. But if KSU stumbles, and OU beats Notre Dame, the Sooners probably jump.
Do you think Oregon will lose?
I think there's a chance Oregon loses at Southern Cal. Heck, the Ducks also play Oregon State, which will be an upset alert.
I have not been excited about an OU game more than this one in quite some time ... Are you getting the same vibe in Oklahoma?
Absolutely. It's a huge showdown for this season, a historic matchup, great for history and all those things. Super, super environment.
What’s the key to OU winning against Notre Dame? (Besides having more points, of course.)
Well, turnovers are huge. If OU doesn't commit more turnovers, it's going to be hard for the Irish to win. If the Sooners don't commit turnovers, the Irish will be hard-pressed to score much.
How healthy are the Sooners? What about any Notre Dame?
Can't say about Notre Dame. Haven't kept up. But OU, I think they're probably in better shape than at any point in the season, with McGee back. The O-line looks solid. So it's looking good, health-wise, for the Sooners.
Your score prediction for OU/Notre Dame?
Sooners by 12-15. I haven't settled on a final score.
How much do you think Stacy McGee will contribute against Notre Dame?
Quite a bit. OU has been using McFarland and Walker almost exclusively, so the Sooners need some relief there. McGee will give those guys some breathers.
What are Notre Dame's strengths and weaknesses?
Strengths? Defensive front seven. The Irish are really good. Weaknesses? The Irish can't throw much. It's sort of an old-fashioned offense. Old-Fashioned in a bad way.
Is Wes Lunt healthy yet? How will the loss of J.W. Walsh affect the Cowboys?
Our guys think Wes Lunt will play. Of course, they thought Wes Lunt would play last week. I think maybe if Lunt wasn't healthy, Walsh might try to gut it out.
With ESPN being in Norman for GameDay, will you speak with any of the commentators, i.e., Kirk, Desmond, etc.?
No. Not me. Maybe someone from my paper will. But I won't. Don't see the need.
This will probably be the most physical front outside of the K-State game. Does Landry try to air it out?
I don't think so. I think OU will pick its spots, but the Sooners don't want to throw 50-60 times. They don't want that Notre Dame pass rush to peel back. I think OU will try to run the ball.
Landry has been playing so well these last three games. Do you see him possibly slipping back to his old ways at some point?
Oh sure. He'll have a bad game somewhere. He's not Sam Bradford, case anyone hasn't noticed. But there's no great reason to believe it will happen vs. Notre Dame.
Can Notre Dame score on OU's defense?
Not easily, the Irish can't. Notre Dame has lit up only Miami, which is a kooky team. Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, BYU, Stanford, all played close-to-the-vest games. I don't see how Notre Dame could score into the 20s on OU without quite a bit of help.
Do you feel OU has one of the best receiving corps in the country?
No. Not near as good as West Virginia. The OU receivers are solid. But not spectacular. I think the OU run game is the untold story of this team. Averaging about 7 yards a carry from the tailbacks.
If James Harden's contract is the #1 story for the Thunder this season, what's the #2 story?
Lakers. How does the Thunder match up with the Lakers. Can OKC get the No. 1 seed? That's really the only intrigue of the regular season.
Do you see KSU going undefeated in the regular season?
Maybe. KSU has only two road games left. At Baylor, at TCU. Tech this week won't be easy. OSU probably will play KSU tough. But the 'Cats have the meat of their schedule behind them. KSU could make the Big Bowl, which would send the Sooners to the Fiesta Bowl as a consolation prize.
Is Frank Shannon pretty much sharing duties with Wort now?
To some degree. Everyone thought Shannon was taking over, but Wort has played well. And against Notre Dame, you'll see more Wort, I think.
OU hasn't used there tight ends much. I assume it's because of their bevy of good wideouts. Am I on the right track?
No. I'd say Trey Millard is keeping the tight ends off the field. OU isn't prone to play just two wide receivers, which is what you have to do if you play a fullback and a tight end. And I think the mandate has been handed down. Trey Millard plays.
I like OU 41-17. Do you think that is too high, wishful thinking or good chance to happen?
Too high. I mean, Notre Dame would have to self destruct to let OU score 41 points. The Irish defense is really good. If Notre Dame commits 3-4 turnovers, then maybe. But otherwise, no.
It seems to me that OU can take care of WV in Morgantown now. Your thoughts?
I'd say so. West Virginia is in free fall. Two-game losing streak and close to a three-game losing streak. Who knows how the Mountaineers will be come Nov. 17.
Was Stoops' first year the last time OU played Notre Dame?
Yes. 1999. OU has played Notre Dame in 1952-53, 1956-57, 1961-62, 1966 and 1968. Then in '99.
Was will OU have to do to overcome Notre Dame’s front 7?
Establish some run game and hit timely passes. I think OU will spread the field and try to get the ball to the slot receivers. Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard. Quick passes. I don't like OU dropping Landry back and standing in the pocket long.
Will the 7:00 P.M. kickoff have any bearing on OU's play?
No. And if it does, shame on the Sooners.
Score prediction for ‘Bama-Florida?
Are you ready for the NBA season to start?
I guess. It seems awfully early, considering we didn't start until Christmas last season. But the games are so much fun, there's no way you can't be ready for it.
Has Drew played this season?
Not that I'm aware of. It's possible he cleaned up the FAMU game, but I wasn't there, so I don't know.
What is your favorite lunch spot in Norman?
I like the House of Greek near campus. And I like Tarahumara's Mexican.
WV final record?
PJIII looks like he has a chance to be a ballplayer. And he is in a perfect spot with the Thunder, he doesn't have to worry about being "the guy" like he was at Baylor. I think his athletic ability will serve him well in the spot minutes he is likely to get.
I love the pick. Jones is a solid backup to Kevin Durant, which the Thunder has sort of been searching for.
You really think Walsh would try to gut out the TCU game if Lunt doesn't go? I thought he was ruled out for the regular season.
I'm saying if Lunt wasn't ready, OSU might have talked to Walsh about gutting it out. That's why I think Lunt is ready to go.
What do you think the status is of the Harden negotiations? Wasn't there an announcement with Jeff Green several days before the extension deadline where there was an announcement that a deal wouldn’t be done? Do you expect anything similar with James, if it is obvious today that they won't get a deal done?
I don't remember any kind of announcement with Jeff Green. It just became clear once the deadline passed. Same thing will happen this time, if Harden doesn't sign.
Can OU run with enough success to sustain drives against Notre Dame, or do they need to focus on a quick hitting pass game?
Quick-hitting passing game. I think OU will run some against Notre Dame, but not "sustained". I think the Sooners will have to throw.
I watched that 1956 Notre Dame Crimson Classic last night. I was really impressed with what they did with the picture enhancement. I did, however, notice that there was no commentating. Was that an old game film? What were TV broadcasts like for football games back then?
I taped that and plan to watch it myself. Yes, that was an old game film. TV broadcasts were pretty primitive. I don't know what the deal is on the commentators.
‘Bama the BCS champ?
I'm going to pick no. Maybe that's wishful thinking.
Best QB right now in Big 12?
Collin Klein. Is there some kind of debate?