ND-Michigan series a casualty of ACC schedule
By LaMond Pope 713-2691 or firstname.lastname@example.org September 1, 2013 7:04PM
Tommy Rees, Robby Toma
Updated: September 1, 2013 11:28PM
Brian Kelly described Notre Dame’s series with Michigan in several ways.
Hard fought? Yes.
High profile? Sure.
One of Notre Dame’s historical rivalry games? Not so much, in the coach’s opinion.
“I really haven’t seen it as one of those historic, traditional Notre Dame rivalries,” Kelly said during a teleconference Sunday. “I’ve seen it just as one of those great football games that Notre Dame has played.”
The teams meet in one of the marquee games of Week 2 Saturday. ESPN’s College GameDay will set up shop, hyping what will be the last time the teams play at Michigan for a few years. The series takes a break after the 2014 contest in South Bend. Starting next season, Notre Dame has to make room for five games a year against ACC schools. The Michigan game becomes a casualty.
“For me, I’ve been in Michigan a long time (coaching at Grand Valley State and Central Michigan), I’ve always felt the Notre Dame-Michigan game was a big regional game,” Kelly said. “But I think in the Notre Dame history books, this game has (been) played itself, but obviously there’s been some years where it hasn’t been played for a number of years as well.”
The series started in 1887. Michigan holds a 23-16-1 all-time edge. There was an extended break between meetings in 1943 and 1978. The teams have played fairly regularly since, including every year since 2002.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke made waves this summer saying Notre Dame was “chickening out” of the series.
“Everybody knows the challenges that we have as an Independent when it comes to scheduling,” Kelly said. “We’re a team that a lot of people want to play, including Michigan obviously, or Brady wouldn’t comment in that regard.
“We’re trying to do the best we can with maintaining the independence status and fulfilling the obligations we have with the ACC. We’d like to play everybody. Unfortunately we can’t. There’s going to be a little bit of a hiatus with this game, but we’ll work hard to get them back on the schedule.”