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The Irish are 10.5-point underdogs against the Sooners, largely because of questions about their offense, which is ranked 74th nationally.

A win against the Sooners and the Irish will be favored to make it to their season-finale against No. 10 Southern California (6-1) undefeated.

But Kelly is looking at beyond his third season. He looks at what Bob Stoops has done at Oklahoma and seeks to emulate it. Stoops has posted 10 10-win seasons at Oklahoma and led the Sooners to 13 straight bowl games, including eight BCS games. Stoops has a record of 144-35 and is 79-4 at home.

“That’s where we want to be. I mean, we want that consistency. Year in and year out you know Oklahoma is going to be part of the conversation,” Kelly said. “And that’s where we want to get our football program. We’re nowhere near that yet. We think we’re moving in the right direction. We’re trending the right way.”

At Notre Dame, that’s essential in a coach’s third season.