Big Wins Since ’88: How Does The OU Victory Measure Up?


South Bend Tribune/JAMES BROSHER Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o (5) celebrates with teammates after he intercepted a pass from Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, in Norman, Okla.

It’s a good thing Oklahoma’s receivers were too much for the young Irish secondary, and that the Irish defense hadn’t faced a “real” offense yet this season, and just so everyone knows, we can’t score either. The closer it got to game time against Oklahoma and the more I heard “expert” opinions predict blowouts or at least Sooner victories, the more confident I became that Notre Dame was going to head home to South Bend victorious. As I have said before, there is just something different about this regime with Brian Kelly at the helm and once again, this team went into a potentially season defining matchup and took care of business.

There is no doubt that the win over Oklahoma (BCS ranked #8) could be one of, if not, the greatest win for Notre Dame in recent history, maybe since the 1988 National Title. There was the win over Florida State in 1993, followed by the loss to Boston College which ultimately kept them from facing Nebraska or a rematch against FSU in the Cotton Bowl. Then there was the win over the 5th ranked Michigan Wolverines in ’98, followed by a loss to an unranked Michigan State team. In 1999 the Irish defeated OU at home who was then ranked 23rd, but finished the ’99 season 5-7.  Three years later in 2002 there was a less significant repeat of ’93; a good win against the #11 ranked Seminoles followed by a loss to an unranked BC team. The infamous “Bush Push” game in 2005 was as gut-wrenching as any loss I can remember but make let’s not forget, the Irish still made it to a BCS game and got handed a two touchdown loss by Ohio State. There’s a theme here; big win, disappointing loss. It’s pretty clear that Notre Dame Football has been the model for mediocrity for the last 24yrs or so and the glaring question staring Brian Kelly and the 2012 team in the face is; was the win over Oklahoma what this program needed to turn things around? The answer is, we don’t know yet but it sure is one heck of a start.

The team as well as its fans cannot forget that we still have 3 veteran quarterbacks to face in Tony Sunseri, Chase Rettig and Tanner Price, who will likely try and use their experience to attack our secondary. Sunseri and Rettig boast Top 50 passing offenses and should not be taken lightly. While Notre Dame should win these games pretty convincingly going into USC, a lost to any one of these teams would feel a lot like the last 20yrs rather times than the beginning of a new era for Notre Dame Football. Look for the Irish to stay focused and continue their businesslike approach no matter who they are facing over next three weeks. Notre Dame should show-up in LA 11-0 and have a chance to put their stamp on the season that turned Notre Dame Football back around. If this team can finish the season strong, the win against Boomer Sooner will go down as one of the most important wins in Notre Dame History.