I’ve been asked several times this week about how Notre Dame views the Oklahoma game. Players, coaches, fans, everyone.
I don’t know how to quantify the answer, but I think this is it. I think Notre Dame is excited about the game for contemporary (2013 season) reasons. I also think the Irish (particularly fans and administration) is excited about OU because of some of the historical reasons. Not as excited as OU, but excited.
Here’s why Notre Dame’s enthusiasm might not be as high. Notre Dame has games like this on a regular basis. I know what OU’s theme is – “There’s Only One Oklahoma” – but the truth is, there’s only one Notre Dame.
However, that’s not to say the Irish are diminishing this game. I’ve already told you about the commemorative t-shirt that Notre Dame has produced, proclaiming this a “battle of champions” and extolling the combined exploits of both programs.
And Irish coach Brian Kelly talked glowingly about Sooner football.
“Bob Stoops’ program has been a benchmark for consistency and success,” Kelly said. “Our players are really excited about the challenge and the opportunity to play Oklahoma. Great game last year in Norman, and now they will come up here to South Bend.”
Of course, the most famous OU-Notre Dame game occurred in 1957, when the Irish ended the Sooners’ 47-game winning streak.
How much does Notre Dame cherish that victory? Well, the Irish have probably 100 victories they could tout as special, from the Four Horsemen running over Army in 1924 to national championship bowl wins over Alabama (1973 season) and West Virginia (1988), plus a dozens of games against Southern Cal and Army and Michigan and MichiganState in between.
But that 1957 win is no small thing, either. At the game Saturday, Notre Dame is honoring its 1957 team and coach Terry Brennan, who I wrote about for my Thursday column in The Oklahoman, which you can read here.
Our newsok.com videographers, Damon Fontenot and Tim Money, have produced a four-part series on the OU-Notre Dame series, and the final installment today centers on that 1957 upset.
You can watch the video here.