According to USA Today, the teams with the two biggest fan bases in the country are about to do battle in South Bend, Indiana as the Ohio State football team travels to Notre Dame. The last time Ohio State had a game of this caliber, they dropped a fourth-quarter lead over eventual two-time National Champion Georgia.
Many believe that if Ohio State had won that game, they more than likely would have become the eventual National Champions. That’s hard to fathom having dropped back-to-back games against rival Michigan and not winning the Big 10 Championship, but yet Ryan Day and company were one missed field goal away from probably doing it.
Despite those unfortunate shortcomings, Ohio State was still being viewed as one of the better programs in College Football again this season. A quarterback competition to replace C.J. Stroud, and a few closer wins than expected to start the year, and the shine that was Ohio State football seemed to be fading. That was until last week when new starting quarterback Kyle McCord admittedly had his best game in his short career.
Confidence has once again arrived in Columbus, Ohio. Day and the coaching staff seem like they believe in the strides this team has made since the beginning of fall camp. The players look self-assured as well. As for the fans, Buckeye Nation seems to have regained their mojo as well.
Standing in their way is a proud program that wants to take Ohio State’s spot in the pecking order of being one of the teams from the north that can compete for a National Championship.
Notre Dame had an admittedly rough season in 2022, losing to both Ohio State and USC, which wasn’t necessarily unexpected, but then also dropping games to Marshall and Stanford which was unexpected.
Former Ohio State football player and current Fight Irish head coach Marcus Freeman saw his most glaring weakness and addressed it in the form of 24-year-old graduate transfer quarterback Sam Hartman. Now the Irish are flying high offensively and ready to challenge the Buckeyes for a possible spot in the College Football Playoff.
The Notre Dame fanbase is also extremely confident about Notre Dame’s chances to win on Saturday.
This game feels like the kind of contest that could change the trajectory of a program for years to come. If Notre Dame wins, this could catapult them into the CFP discussion. An Ohio State loss means the Buckeyes would have to win the remainder of their games, including defeating the Michigan Wolverines and claiming the Big 10 Championship in order to have an argument at claiming a spot in the CFP.
If Ohio State wins, they get to keep their spot at or near the top of the college football pedestal, which seems to be getting crowded with both Georgia and Michigan claiming most of the space while older but newcomers like Florida State, Texas, and USC try to find footing amongst the top as well. A Notre Dame loss simply means the Irish remain a second-tier program.
There is so much riding on this game for both programs. Whether you are a fan of Ohio State or a backer of Notre Dame, today’s contest has all the makings of a classic.