A few weeks ago, I wrote that the then-undefeated West Virginia Mountaineers, Georgia Bulldogs and Notre Dame Fighting Irish all had flaws and would not remain in the national championship race. Since then, West Virginia and Georgia have both fallen out of the title chase, but the Fighting Irish have remained, riding a 7-0 start to a No. 5 ranking in the BCS standings. That start has Notre Dame fans dreaming of the national championship that has eluded the program for a long time.
The biggest reason for Irish optimism is the team's excellent defense, which has Brian Kelly's rebuilding project a year ahead of schedule, and their Saturday night showdown with the No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners is being billed as a classic matchup between old-school physical defense and new-school spread offense.
However, as good as the Notre Dame defense is, the past two weeks haven't changed my opinion of the Fighting Irish, and I believe that their magical ride to the BCS title game will end Saturday in Norman -- and it won't be the OU offense or Notre Dame defense that decides it. Here's why: