Every college football team plays in big games each year. Whether it be major conferences clashes that have BCS implications or rivalry games between two bottom feeders. However, there are big games, and then there are games against the University of Notre Dame.
The esteemed program has 11 national titles, seven Heisman Trophy winners and 97 consensus All-Americans. Not many schools have a movie centered around their program and no other school has a national television contract.
The Irish had been underachieving under Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis. However, in three seasons, Brian Kelly has brought the program back to national prominence. The team went 12-0 last year and finished the regular season as the No. 1 team in the nation.
Notre Dame will have to replace the heart and soul of its defense in Manti Te'o and its starting quarterback from a year ago Everett Golston was kicked off the team in the spring. Tommy Rees returns after throwing for 436 yards and two touchdowns a season ago.
Previous Meeting (October 2nd, 1999 - Notre Dame wins 48-17)
The Sun Devils and Irish played in both 1998 and 1999 as part of a home-and-home series. The two teams met in Sun Devil Stadium in 1998 with Notre Dame winning 28-9. That next season Arizona State traveled to South Bend and fell to the Irish 48-17.
Why is it important?
There is some bad blood between the two schools after Notre Dame tried to get out of coming to Tempe in 2014. The Sun Devils need to prove that they belong with Notre Dame. This game is on national television and the two teams meet at AT&tT Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
This is the biggest non-conference game for Arizona State since Georgia came to Tempe in 2008. The Bulldogs were ranked third in the nation and blew out the Sun Devils to a tune of a 27-10 rout.
Todd Graham has set lofty goals for his team since he walked onto campus in 2011. This is a game that will test Arizona State against a national power on a marquee stage.
Anytime a team plays Notre Dame they will be getting a lot of media attention across the national platforms and a victory against the Irish will only boost the profile of Graham's program.
How winnable is the game?
Notre Dame lost a lot of production off of last year's team that went to the national championship game. Besides Golston and Teo', Notre Dame will have to replace its top two rushers and its top receiver from the 2012 squad.
Like Arizona State, Notre Dame boasts one of the best defensive lines in college football. Returners Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt combined for 14 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss last season. Tuitt himself had 12 sacks and 13 tackles for loss in 2012.
This may be the stiffest test for the Sun Devil running game all season. The Arizona State offensive line will face one of the most disruptive defensive lines in college football.
This game has all the makings of a defensive struggle that will come down to the fourth quarter. The Sun Devils have struggle in close games in recent years, but because of the changeover in the Notre Dame roster this game is very winnable for Arizona State.