Notre Dame, too, would be fortified by victory. The Irish, like the Sooners a year ago, enter this game with a defeat. Win, and Notre Dame keeps the status to which it returned in 2012, when the Irish played Alabama in the Big Bowl.
The stakes are high. The risks are not. Bob Stoops likes to say that voters haven't always rewarded those who dare to play a strong schedule. He's wrong about that. College football voters have consistently rewarded those who play a strong schedule.
Games like Notre Dame have not kept the Sooners from national championship opportunities. Games like Notre Dame have helped place the Sooners in such games. Amid much debate, the BCS granted OU a berth in the 2003, 2004 and 2008 title games, primarily because of tougher nonconference opponents than those also in contention.
The Sooners have been rewarded for playing games that America wants to see. Games that enhance the sport rather than shame the sport. Games like we're going to see in South Bend. Games that college football needs in the worst of ways.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.