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Oklahoma football: Despite the series' history, Notre Dame looks at OU as just another game

The Irish do not want to get caught up in the past. They're focused on the present — and that's working toward a possible national championship berth. This week, OU is in the way.
By Stephanie Kuzydym Published: October 21, 2012

/articleid/3721178/1/pictures/1862432">Photo - Casey Walker (53) is congratulated on his fumble recovery and return during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Kansas Jayhawks (KU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Casey Walker (53) is congratulated on his fumble recovery and return during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Kansas Jayhawks (KU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

However, Notre Dame fans see it a bit different. Corey Walz is a senior at OU. He grew up five miles south of Notre Dame Stadium. And as he puts it, “When you grow up in the shadow of the Golden Dome, you don't really have a choice.”

He called this coming weekend the hardest of his life.

Sixteen members of his Irish-loving family are making the trip to Norman, and he's decided to root for Oklahoma.

“It's going to rip my heart out,” Walz said.

He will soon become an OU graduate, which is why he decided to support the Sooners this weekend. But, he's not going to cheer against Notre Dame.

That's the common response from Irish fans who are current Sooners. This weekend's game is exactly like Nebraska in 2000 for a possible Huskers fan residing in Oklahoma — nothing good will come out of either team winning because it will most likely ruin one team's shot at the national championship.

While OU has played these big games regularly and been in the BCS title game three times since 2000, Notre Dame has never made it in the new millennium. For all of Notre Dame's tradition, competing for a national championship has become a bit unfamiliar.

The last time Notre Dame started a season 7-0, it was 2002. The Irish was ranked No. 4 — and then lost to Boston College at home. The Irish later to USC and ended up in the Gator Bowl.

For his Sunday column after Notre Dame edged BYU, Lesar wrote that the game against Oklahoma isn't a “BCS berth” game, it's a “placement game.”

Will this be a Fiesta Bowl season or a shot at the crystal-trophy-in-the-national-title-game season?

Kelly and the Irish don't know.

All they're focused on is making this next one count.


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