The recent and rapid conference realignment has provided some additional intrigue to the college football landscape, yet is has also cost the game some of its premier rivalries–including Texas-Texas A&M and now Notre Dame-Michigan.
As the Fighting Irish seek to meet their new limited ACC demands, it was strange that the rivalry with the Wolverines was a game that was cast aside, and this fact was not lost on Michigan coach Brady Hoke. Earlier this week, the outspoken coach declared the Irish were simply “chickening out” of a longstanding rivalry.
Given that the Irish made the national championship by running through a cupcake schedule, Hoke sees Notre Dame as casting aside the more difficult opponent as they keep lightweights Michigan State and Purdue on the schedule.
However, Tim Dahlberg suggested Wednesday that the cancellation was purely a business decision and that the Irish cut the easiest contract to get out of after being forced to let one of its traditional rivalries fall to the wayside. Moreover, Dahlberg points out that the Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry, though first played in 1887, did not become an annual affair until 1978, making it less “traditional” than most of the other annual contests for Notre Dame.
Whether resulting from being “chicken,” the loss of the rivalry is certainly yet another casualty of the new age of college football, conference realignment, and big dollar signs. The good news for Hoke and the Wolverines is that they have the opportunity to make the Irish thankful of their decision on September 7th.