SOUTH BEND IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Tommy Rees #13 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks for a receiver against the Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Stadium on September 11 2010 in South Bend Indiana. Michigan defeated Notre Dame 28-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
In recent years, non-conference foes have begun to take on the likes of other powerhouses early on in the season or even in the middle of the schedule. This trend can be directly related to the want to win voters over early while boosting a program's strength of schedule. Bigger wins have a significant pull in who finds themselves ranked and who doesn't when the final bell chimes. This season, the Oklahoma Sooners will play host to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, America's team in terms of college football. However, Notre Dame took a step back in the spring while Oklahoma had a few breakout spring performances. Could this game be setting up for a flop much like "The Game of the Century" between SEC heavy weights the Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers?
Notre Dame boasts a schedule worthy of a BCS birth with the Michigan Wolverines, USC Trojans, and Oklahoma Sooners listed on it amongst others. If the Fighting Irish were to do the unthinkable and run the gauntlet, they could once again restore power to the once fabled program.
However, all of that may have come crashing down with the recent arrest of Tommy Rees who was expected to start , by some, at quarterback for the Irish. Following the Spring Game, it was Everett Golson who stood out. But, the nation's top QB prospect in Gunner Kiel is also on the roster. In total, there are four players gunning to be the next signal-caller at Notre Dame and the door is still wide open. The future of Rees is still in limbo as no punishment has been handed out. Will it ever be? Only Brian Kelly knows the answer to that one!
So, the bigger question is, will this game be a flop? Notre Dame could hobble into Norman with a few tarnishes on their record. The game could have absolutely no national championship implications, but would it matter?
If ND walks in with an 0-7 record, this game will still be huge for Oklahoma Sooner fans. The fact that OU is 1-8 all-time against the Irish brings about a chance of redemption. Yet, the biggest chance of redemption will come in knowing the fact that Notre Dame was the team that ended Oklahoma's record setting winning streak. The tradition between these two programs nearly out weighs the tradition of any other two programs and should be a game marked in all the calendars of Sooner fans.
No matter how bad or good this version of the Fighting Irish is, it will not downplay the importance of this game. Just another obstacle in the chase for eight.