The last time Brady Hoke spoke about Notre Dame, he was pandering to Michigan alumni by calling the Irish “chicken” for cancelling the series with Michigan. At today’s B1G media days, Hoke has transitioned from attempts at humor to just being flat-out factually wrong:
— Matt Fortuna (@Matt_Fortuna) July 28, 2014
First off, let’s place the whole “is Michigan really a rival?” debate to the side for a minute. Simply put, regardless of our stance here at HLS, there are plenty of people that still view this as a rivalry. It’s debated because there are some solid points on both sides.
Notre Dame/Michigan being a “national” rivalry is not one of them.
The game itself is the very definition of a regional rivalry. The Game between Ohio State and Michigan is also a regional rivalry as is the Iron Bowl, a regional tilt between two Alabama schools.
Now is there national interest in those games? You bet. ND/Michigan will be no exception this year as this will be the last dance between the two for quite a while just as the last tilt between 6-4 Texas and 6-5 Texas A&M was in 2011.
In the end, only Longhorn and Aggie fans really cared about the end result. Everyone else tuning in simply could throw out snark in one direction or the other should they wish. The same will be true for both the Irish and the Wolverines.
National attention does not a national rivalry make. So what is a national rivalry? Try Notre Dame and Southern Cal. Those are two schools have quite a bit more distance between them than the “nation” of Indiana and Michigan. As a bonus, the two have played each other far more often (85 meetings compared to 41).
But go ahead and keep thinking that this game will really matter in the future to anyone else besides ND and Michigan fans, Hoke. Keep that fresh in your mind as you’re forced to play divisional foes Maryland and Rutgers annually while the Irish are playing true national games of importance against Texas and Georgia. You can thank Delany for your scheduling handcuffs then, not ND.
Now for the second erroneous point: that the series is over. No it isn’t. It’s just over for now.
I’m sure by the time that ND and Michigan face off again, you won’t be there Hoke. Hell, I’m not even sure David Brandon will be there at this rate. That doesn’t mean this series is over.
More than any other rivalry series, ND and Michigan have by far seen the most breaks that I can think of off the top of my head (most of them by Michigan’s choice, but hey, minor details). The series has always managed to come back. It will come back again when your conference commissioner starts to realize handcuffing all B1G schools with a nine game watered-down conference schedule is a terrible idea as the lack of flexibility kills your out-of-conference scheduling (your fellow B1G schools, Michigan State and Purdue are having similar issues with that and future scheduling with ND by the way).
This game isn’t dead. It’s just another break.
Go back to taking “chicken”-style pot-shots at ND, Hoke. We can take it. It’s a hell of a lot more fun to hear (and respond) to those than factually false statements.