In reaction to today's news that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have elected to end their annual series with the Michigan Wolverines, the OTE editorial staff got together to weigh in on the decision and offer our thoughts. It's like a mini-potluck
1. So, how do you feel about this decision? Are you going to miss watching the Irish and Blue duke it out early in the non-con slate?
Chad: YAWN. Michigan and Notre Dame have played 39 times.....which is 9 times fewer than Northwestern and Notre Dame have played (I think -- someone should check me on this). Not a huge change in any regards. Notre Dame vs. MSU or Purdue are far longer-lasting series.
Graham: It's ridiculous, is what it is, and it's just another slap in the face of a great rivalry that made the schools both a lot of money.
Frankly, it's everything good about college football. Even when the teams were having down years, it's a fun game. You beat a terrible rival by forty? Awesome, bragging rights. You played a close game? Uh, look at the last four years of ND UM.
And the imagery of gold helmets and winged helmets colliding was beautiful. This is just stupid.
Ted: It sucks for Michigan, because they had nothing to do with this.
Jesse: Good for Notre Dame I guess. We all knew this was coming and I have a feeling there will be more attrition as Notre Dame chooses its opponents wisely in the future. I am mostly disappointed because it feels like a rivalry despite having the deepest roots.
JDMill: More proof that Notre Dame has no interest in playing the same caliber of teams that they played in the past en route to national prominence.
MSULaxer: This series always seemed more important to the networks and the talking heads than it did to either party involved.
Brian: Notre Dame backing out of the Michigan series wasn't completely surprising. Nor was it completely unexpected. With ND's recent deal with the ACC and the stipulation that they load up on five patsies from the ACC every year, something had to give. ND wasn't giving up USC & Stanford. They value the west coast exposure too much, believing their annual games in California are a boon to recruiting. Their argument will be that playing in Ann Arbor doesn't open them up to any new markets or recruits, that it's primarily a business (recruiting) decision.
2. While it seems that the games with MSU and Purdue aren't affected by this announcement, should we prepare for their eventual elimination? What does this mean for Notre Dame's other Big Ten opponents, or for other "regular" rivals of the Irish like the service academies?
Ted: If ND wants to ruin a good rivalry like this, the B1G should just cancel every B1G team series with them. ND is kind of dipping their toe in the conference play pool; give them a push. It's a good early season rivalry that's had a lot of entertaining games, and I knew that whoever lost, I was going to be pretty happy about it either way.
Jesse: I'm cool with not seeing Notre Dame and their golden helmets. History be damned, or whatever, I just really see no reason to continue to give them the time of day and the huge marketing value. They can go ahead and have fun with the likes of Duke and NC State. Michigan can replace Notre Dame and get the hype machine running and they will.
MSULaxer: MSU and PU both have much longer histories with ND than UM (beyond football - MSU has competed against ND in male team sports more than any other school in history).
We all saw the writing on the wall with the cancellation of TAMU/UT and Mizzou/KU series. Those series meant a lot more to all involved than UM/ND.
It's just a matter of time before they drop us all as "regular" opponents. Shame, maybe...but some part of me thinks "Good riddance."
Brian: ND is not likely to stop scheduling the service academies (why would they, when more often than not those games are automatic Ws), and it will interesting to see if the Irish choose to stop playing other Midwestern opponents against whom they've had more success over the years. It's hard to argue that this will improve their schedule. Yet, with or without Michigan on the schedule, ND will still somehow still be hailed for playing "the nation's toughest schedule" every year.
By the way, this is somewhat off topic, but the one thing that bothered me more than Denard Robinson's passing and Al Borges' playcalling during last weekend's Michigan/Notre Dame game was NBC playing an Irish jig as they went to commercial. Someone needs to remind NBC that Notre Dame is a university in Indiana.
Cory: Agreed 100% with Brian. We'll hear the same old tune about the Irish playing a tougher schedule, yet they've essentially swapped Michigan for something like Duke while retaining the market they value the most. It's a money and recruiting play, conference or rivalry be damned. Part of me wishes Delany would lean on Purdue and Michigan State would both call off their series with the Irish. I'd want to see who they replaced THOSE two games with.