NORMAN — Here we are.
Once again, even as Bob Stoops is sure to play down the history, history is in the air.
Once again, even in a season nobody’s thought to put Oklahoma into the national championship race, a game approaches with zero Big 12 implications yet feels so much bigger than a conference game.
Once again, ghosts may be vanquished. Once again, the Sooner Nation, at least in this one series, awaits its deliverance, wishing OU to beat Notre Dame for only the second time in 11 tries and, against a reasonably good Irish team, the first time, period.
Once again, it seems like everything. Once again, it just might be.
If it’s not quite as tangible as last season, it’s only a matter of location. This time the Sooners and the Fighting Irish will meet at Notre Dame Stadium, in front of Touchdown Jesus and a college football nation.
This time, though OU’s in the middle of the top 25 and the Irish own one of the last spots, there may be more at stake than last time.
Last time, the Sooners had already fallen awfully at home to Kansas State and, though, it wasn’t yet entirely clear, the Sooners were soon to become a defensive mess.
But OU hasn’t lost yet.
Defense has been strong.
Should the Sooners claim their first Irish victory since 1956, a 40-0 win over a bad Notre Dame team that won only two games, they will not only have vanquished the ghosts and turned the historic Irish tide, but they’ll be 4-0 with TCU, Texas, Kansas and Texas Tech to play, a quartet of should-be wins before traveling to Waco, Texas, quite likely to face the Big 12’s most dangerous team.
And if that were OU in the national championship conversation in the long term, a Saturday victory would vindicate the Sooners in the short term.