It was only a matter of time before the move to the ACC created a B1G casualty on Notre Dame’s football schedule. However, I don’t think anyone could have predicted that, starting in 2014, the Michigan series would be the first to go.
Larry Lage of the Associated Press was the first to break the news:
— Larry Lage (@LarryLage) September 25, 2012
This means that the game will now only have two games left: Michigan in 2013 and Notre Dame in 2014. There was, of course, already a planned hiatus in 2017-2018, meaning that we won’t see the Irish face off against the hated Skunkbears until 2019 unless Jack Swarbrick manages to convice Michigan to throw a game in here and there.
Spoiler alert: don’t count on it.
Given the history between our two schools, it is rather hilarious that Notre Dame is now the one to deliver the killing blow to the series for a change. Even more hilarious, Michigan, the same school that once had one of their icons say they didn’t need Notre Dame (I’m so pissed the Detroit Free Press doesn’t have that archived…), is now trying to paint Notre Dame as the heel:
“The decision to cancel games in 2015-17 was Notre Dame’s and not ours.” – Dave Brandon
— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) September 25, 2012
“We value our annual rivarly with Notre Dame but will have to see what the future holds for any continuation of the series.” – Dave Brandon — Michigan Football (@umichfootball) September 25, 2012
“This cancellation presents new scheduling opportunities for our program and provides a chance to create some new rivalries.” – Dave Brandon — Michigan Football (@umichfootball) September 25, 2012
While I’m sure their eventual “new rivalry” with a nearby MAC school will be ever so compelling, the spin is incredible. Of course Michigan fans have been happy to eat it up:
@umichfootball I say never play those pompous a-holes again!Take them off the schedule permanently!
— Archie Bartel (@abpalfy) September 25, 2012
@umichfootball no better way to put it. Notre Dame is so fucking pompous. A mediocre team that refuses to join a conference. Move on.
— Zachariah Hilyard (@Z_Hilyardo) September 25, 2012
@umichfootball I hope UM tells them to go screw themselves if ND wants to schedule future games.
— david martin (@1102boomsoon) September 25, 2012
I didn’t even have to search for those tweets either, they were right there for the picking as replies to Brandon’s statement. Not that I expect anything less from Michigan fans, but the butthurt is incredible coming from a fanbase that would have celebrated this had Michigan axed the series.
As far as my personal opinion, I’m sad to see the game go and hope Jack merely exercised this option to free up our future schedules. I’d still like to see ND and Michigan face off on a regular basis, even if we can’t work it out as an annual matchup. While it’s fun to have Hate Week every year, ND/USC is bigger for us and Michigan/tOSU is bigger for them.
My worry though is that this scheduling casualty hampers our independence. Even though some schedule change was to be expected, I figured that Purdue or Michigan State would go before Michigan did. Yes, we’ve played Michigan the least amount of times, but there is no doubt that it is the higher profile matchup. National perception will line up on that side as well.
While I’m sure the series will see life again, I am very interested in hearing Swarbrick’s reasoning behind this and/or this was a result of Michigan refusing to budge in negotiations to keep the series going.