Notre Dame has notified Michigan that they will be cancelling their series with the Wolverines after the 2014 season. This announcement is a result of Notre Dame’s recent deal with the ACC. The deal states that the Irish will play five football games per season vs. ACC opponents once Notre Dame moves their athletic allegiance the ACC starting in 2014. However, Notre Dame will still be considered an independent in football.
The idea that the Domers have decided to end their current relationship with Michigan is comical and sad. With Notre Dame’s five-game commitment to the ACC, seven games are left to be scheduled per season. Why is there not room for Michigan? Notre Dame has stated that they feel their rivalries with USC, Stanford, and Navy are more important to keep intact year-in and -out.
USC, I’ll give them. That is a better rivalry for Notre Dame than Michigan, but Stanford and Navy? The only reason Notre Dame values Stanford and Navy over Michigan is because they have a better chance of consistently beating them. Yes, they will consistently get beaten by USC, but again, that is a rivalry they simply could not end.
The idea that Notre Dame has to cancel ANY current rivalry because of their ACC games is laughable! They already have three ACC opponents on their schedule this season, plus Pittsburgh, who will become a member of the ACC next season. That represents four ACC opponents this season along with USC, Stanford, Navy, Michigan, Purdue, and Michigan State. What’s the problem with that schedule? The problem is that it just has one too many threatening opponents for the Irish. Why not ditch the team that has beat you five out of the last seven meetings?
What other explanation could Notre Dame possibly have for ending a series that provides a matchup between college football’s two most storied and successful programs? The only advantage the Irish receive from this decision is that they are removing a tough opponent from the schedule.
If there has been one criticism of Notre Dame over the years, it is that they have not been “Notre Dame” since they won their last national championship in???? 1988. Replacing Michigan with an opponent like Virginia or some other weaker ACC team will not add to their legitimacy.
In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. This is something Notre Dame has failed to recognize and accomplish for over 20 years. If Notre Dame wants to become a legitimate national contender again, they have to channel their inner Rockne and seek out the best opponents college football has to offer, not shy away from a great rivalry in favor of weaker opponents.