Once upon a time, Lou Holtz was an Ohio State assistant under legendary head coach Woody Hayes and helped lead the Buckeyes to a national championship in 1968.
However, Holtz moved on from Ohio State soon after, eventually moving up the ranks to a head coaching position at Notre Dame from 1986-96, winning the program’s most recent national title in 1988.
On Friday, Holtz left no doubt about where his allegiances lie when Ohio State and Notre Dame battle in a top-10 matchup on Saturday.
"Notre Dame wins by 10. I believe that in my heart. ... Notre Dame is a better football team than Ohio State," Holtz said on The Pat McAfee Show. "And let me tell you why. We have the best offensive line in the country. Sam Hartman won't even get his jersey dirty all year. He has time to throw the football. ... We have great running backs. This team is averaging about 10 yards per carry. We have great receivers, so offensively, we're set. Defensively, our defensive line's better.
“You look at Coach (Ryan) Day — and I coached at Ohio State under Woody Hayes. We won the national championship when I was there. I'm proud of that. However, (Day) has lost to Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Michigan twice. And everybody that beats him does so because they are more physical than Ohio State. And I think Notre Dame will take that same approach."
Moments later, Holtz said Notre Dame has not had the best strength of schedule, coming in with four wins against Navy, Tennessee State, NC State and Central Michigan — a SOS that ranks 44th in the NCAA. Still, Holtz said that will have little to no impact on the No. 9 Irish when the team faces the No. 6 Buckeyes.
"Every day, we get to practice against good," Holtz said. "We get to practice covering our good receivers. Won't be much different than covering the great receiver they have at Ohio State. Plus, we're playing at home."
Notre Dame has won its last seven games at Notre Dame Stadium, last falling to Stanford on Oct. 16, 2022. While Holtz said he expects Ohio State versus Notre Dame to be a "close football game," he believes the Irish will secure their first win over the Buckeyes since 1936, breaking Ohio State’s five-game win streak in the all-time series – one that started in 1995 and 1996, when Holtz coached at Notre Dame.
"You take this message to Ohio State," Holtz said. "You tell them to bring their lunch because it's going to be a full damn day's work."