Remember when Michigan versus Notre Dame was just a good story on the field? Those days ended when Notre Dame handed Michigan a note just prior to the 2012 game, canceling the series between these two schools for the foreseeable future after the matchup this Saturday night in South Bend.
Both schools and fanbases were just about to go ahead and move on with life in a new era (probably never forgetting what happened). However, that is put on hold once again as Notre Dame pulled another stunt in the lead up to a game with Michigan.
This time, Notre Dame announced a two-game series in 2022 and 2023 with Michigan’s one rival — Ohio State.
Nothing like saying you aren’t going to dance with a long-time opponent, and then turning around and scheduling its biggest rival to rub it in their face.
You know, because the timing of this announcement was “purely coincidental” right? Just like planting that letter hours before kickoff back in 2012 was magic timing too, right?
One thing is for sure, Notre Dame wasn’t about to fan the flames in a press release…err, you bet they were.
“I am excited we are able once again to bring these two programs together on the football field,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a release. “Football games between Notre Dame and Ohio State make great sense from a strength-of-schedule standpoint. In addition, with [Ohio State athletic director] Gene Smith having both played and coached football at Notre Dame — and with [Ohio State coach] Urban Meyer having served as an assistant football coach at Notre Dame — there are some obvious, high-profile connections between our two institutions.”
While Swarbrick chose to accentuate the ties between the schools, there was a hidden swipe taken at the state of the Michigan Wolverines’ program.
By talking about helping the strength of schedule, Swarbrick pretty much put Michigan’s current state of the program in to stark reality.
The fact is, Michigan football of 2014 is struggling to regain national relevancy. It isn’t a Top 25 program, and Michigan has finished a season ranked in the Top 25 just once in the last f
But that’s not the point really. Ohio State replacing Michigan is a massive slap in the face to the Michigan program, and doing it the week of the final matchup is just sticking the knife in deeper and twisting.
It was bound to be awhile before Michigan got over what Notre Dame did in 2012, but this latest insult could be the thread that unravels the entire rivalry for as long as Dave Brandon and Jack Swarbrick are both around their respective programs.
Let’s just hope that cooler heads prevail and the fans become winners once again with the renewal of this great rivalry sooner, rather than later.