Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The end of Michigan-Notre Dame

The Michigan-Notre Dame series is over (or, more specifically, will be after 2014):
Michigan is the first casualty of Notre Dame's new arrangement with the ACC. The Fighting Irish notified the Wolverines that they are exercising a three-year out in their series contract, meaning the last meeting between the historic rivals will occur in 2014.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, The Associated Press obtained a letter Tuesday from Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick to Michigan AD David Brandon, canceling the games from 2015 to 2017.
Lame, Notre Dame. Lame.

I wrote about this a couple weeks ago when Notre Dame did the ACC thing, with this being the takeaway:
... don't be surprised if the 2017 Michigan-Notre Dame game is the last one for a while.
It would've been if ND hadn't exercised the above-referenced out clause, officially ending things three years early and giving me a sad face.

I mean, I understand things from Notre Dame's standpoint -- playing two or three pretty decent ACC teams a year along with USC and Stanford and Navy (an occassionally competitive team) cumulatively represents a more competitive schedule than a lot of teams are gonna be playing -- but why bail on Michigan to play Stanford and NC State (or whoever)? There's something to be said for nationally relevant/interesting games, especially that one, which because of its history has been hyped/promoted disproportionately to the quality of the two teams for the last many years. That attention is a good thing for the programs; giving it up for a guaranteed-once-every-few-years spot in the Orange Bowl and some games with Stanford isn't. Notre Dame national brand yadda yadda.

The only good news from a Michigan standpoint: variety. There's a not-microscopic portion of the fanbase that's gotten bored (for lack of a better word) with Notre Dame since that series often comes at the expense of any other legitimate nonconference ones. The MoneyFest with Alabama notwithstanding, Michigan hasn't played a major-conference team of any consequence since getting annihilated by Oregon in '07 and doesn't have one on the near-future schedule (unless you wanna count one-offs with Oregon State and Colorado in 2015 and '16). Actually getting one of those teams might be problematic, though, since (a) most that would be of interest have already filled their schedules for the next few years and (b) Michigan needs to find a team that'll come to Ann Arbor in even-numbered years to offset a Big Ten schedule that includes Nebraska and Ohio State on the same home-road rotation. I'll pass on a Bama rematch, BTW, unless it's for a national title in like 2014 or after Nick Saban has descended into the afterlife.

Also good news: ummm ... uhhh ... yeah. There isn't any. There are only people who think there's good news because they choose not to acknowledge the benefits of having a game that has ALL OF THE HISTORY, generates a laughably generous amount of national coverage and usually results in the overrating of the winner, which has been Michigan more times than not over the last decade.

In summary: Boo-urns.


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