Why a Michigan-Notre Dame Revival NEEDS to Happen

Posted on Posted in Michigan Football

Growing up as a Michigan football fan, there are certain games and moments that have resonated with me over the years. Many of these memories come from the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry.

Unfortunately, the Fighting Irish removed the Wolverines from their schedule following the 2015 season. Although it appeared the two rivals would not meet for some time, a restoration could come sooner than once thought.

In recent interviews, Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly has said he wants to bring the rivalry back after dropping Michigan to play a heavy Atlantic Coast Conference schedule. Jim Harbaugh and new Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel have been adamant about adding Notre Dame back to the schedule.  For now, it appears both parties are on board.

Why the revival NEEDS to happen

Given the history of the rivalry and the rich tradition of each program, this move needs to happen.

Michigan and Notre Dame sit No. 1-2 in all-time wins and win percentage. Both programs combine for 24 National Championships, 177 All-Americans, 10 Heisman winners and 834 NFL draft picks.

Most importantly, the rivalry itself dates back 130 years and created many of college football’s iconic moments.

I remember watching highlights of Desmond Howard’s diving catch in the end zone in 1991. I still smirk hearing my Dad reminisce about how “asinine” it was for Michigan to kick to Raghib Ismail in 1989.

I remember how pumped up I was when Michigan dominated Brady Quinn in South Bend in 2006 on their way to an undefeated match-up with Ohio State. And I still get goosebumps thinking about Denard Robinson’s heroics in the first “Under the Lights” game and his game-winning touchdown pass to Roy Roundtree with two seconds remaining.

These two Midwestern powerhouses have made plenty of memories over the years.  It’s time for some new ones.

As a die-hard Maize and Blue fan, I truly understand the significance of the game. It’s not just a match-up for bragging rights; it’s a game that could make or break your season and serves as a measuring stick for each team to evaluate itself early in the season.

Michigan would benefit from a non-conference battle

In 2016, the Wolverines have a rather soft schedule. Three early match-ups against Hawaii, Central Florida and Colorado, as well as five straight home games, kickoff the season. Michigan’s first threat arrives in town when Penn State visits on Sept. 24. While many Michigan fans find comfort knowing their team should breeze through the first few games, I prefer the Wolverines to be tested early on.

With fierce competition in the Big Ten East Division, Michigan would benefit from an early challenge against the Fighting Irish. The game would also boost the strength of schedule and playoff resume. Losing a hard fought battle to a tough Notre Dame squad could still give Michigan a great case for the College Football Playoff — the ultimate goal for Harbaugh and Co.

While there is still much work to get the deal done, 2018 is already being discussed as a possible revival year. If the two can once again ignite the rivalry, more historic moments will be made. This time, with playoff implications on the line.

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Kullen Logsdon
Huge Michigan football/basketball fan. Want to be a famous sportswriter.

8 thoughts on “Why a Michigan-Notre Dame Revival NEEDS to Happen

  1. This narrative from arrogant Michigan fans has got to stop. ND didn’t remove Michigan from the schedule. They aligned with the ACC in the ever-changing landscape that is Power 5 football teams. The Big Ten has gone to a 9-team conference schedule. Swarbrick has been a great leader of the ND Athletic Program. He’s shown foresight in predicting changes to college football. Michigan would have dropped ND once they went to a 9-game conference slate. Michigan would have come out with an arrogant statement about ND not aligning with their schedule goals and other such nonsense being spouted from Ann Arbor since Fielding Yost was the coach. The disrespect from Ann Arbor has been going on since the early 1900s. ND could have been a member of The Big Ten as early as the 1910s. They begged to be a member for near three decades. The Anti-Catholic bigot Yost and Amos Alonzo Stagg kept ND from becoming a member. They, basically, created NDs independence in football by denying them membership. They came crawling back to ND in the late 80s early 90s asking if they wanted to be a member. By then, ND was an established brand. They told The Big Ten to cram it with walnuts. The games are always great. I saw the last four played. But, Michigan, as usual, is arrogant. Last game should have been 38-0. BS penalty on the pick six to end the game in South Bend.

  2. Michigan never got over ND refusing membership in the Big Ten and is lonesome for the relationship that keeps the Wolverines on the CFB map, the Michiana Champion is winner among ND, MSU and UM; an automatic Big Bowl bid. Lose the Big Ten Title and Michigan slides a little closer to the edge of the CFB map.
    The road back goes from the Grotto past the Dome and ends at Touchdown Jesus. Amen

  3. Back in the day, the televised college football season kicked off with the Michigan-Notre Dame game.

  4. In the resurgence of both programs, this rivalry should not be left behind. The tradition is intense, layered, and rich, and the two universities are inexorably linked because of it. Two excellent books with keen insights have been written by “Michigan Men;” John Kryk’s (2007) series history: “Natural Enemies: Major College Football’s Oldest, Fiercest Rivalry: Michigan vs. Notre Dame,” and John Bacon’s recent book “Endzone…”

    UM & ND are linked by geography, a shared history, and by tradition. ND’s first football game was played against Michigan – and yes, the early years featured some ugliness (Fielding Yost’s & A.A. Stagg’s bigotry, & black-balling).
    But between these universities there has also been plenty of respect. In the modern era, relations were good – right up to and until Dave Brandon’s reign (& dismissal) as A.D. at Michigan. It was because of Brandon – counter to the whole “chicken” narrative – that ND opted out of the series (Bacon’s book, referenced above, is clear regarding this fact). And contrary to another false narrative, it was done face to face, ND A.D. Jack Swarbrick had called Brandon to discuss, who then insisted upon receiving a letter which was handed to Brandon before a game. Brandon, for reasons unknown, reported to the press that he had been blindsided.

    Once Brandon had been dismissed, MICHIGAN began making overtures to get ND back on their schedule; and they will find a way. Because the series should renew; because it’s the highest revenue producing game on their schedule, and because it’s too good a rivalry to die.

    Since it resumed in the modern era (1978) the series record is dead even, 15-15-1; astoundingly, 20 of those 31 games were won on the last possession or last PLAY of the game. It’s “most wins” (UM) vs. “highest winning percentage” (ND), in the history of the sport. It’s the two best fight songs in college football, and it’s a case of what’s good for all of college football: natural enemies.

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