Monday, July 30, 2007


ESPN and other sources are reporting that Michigan and Notre Dame have agreed to a 20 year extension of their rivalry from 2011 through 2031. Just a little over a week ago, Notre Dame athletic director told an Alabama newspaper that Notre Dame was going to take a break from Michigan while he was talking about a possible Alabama-Notre Dame series. A few days later Bill Martin told the Detroit News that Michigan and Notre Dame were exploring the idea of "taking a break". Martin wanted to switch the years that Notre Dame was in Ann Arbor, so that Michigan could alternate OSU and ND away years. Doing so, however would mean that ND would play USC and UM away in the same year, and they didn't wanted to do that.
So now, after ND announced a new series with Oklahoma, this news comes out.

What gives? Was this all just a negotiating ploy? If so, by which side? There seemed to be pretty positive reaction from the Internet fan bases of each school to the idea of taking a break. Were these comments from both sides just a test to see how the fans would react? Was there some pressure brought by big donors to keep the series? Has the home-home, away-away problem with the other big rivalry games been solved? Where does this leave the possibility of other big time opponents? Are the Irish still going to take a break in the MSU series?

Personally, I'm a little disappointed. When it looked like the series might take a hiatus, there were a lot of possible opponents floated around message boards and sports talk radio (Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Miami to name a few). I hope this doesn't mean we are stuck with ND, a lower level BCS team and two MAC teams every year. I want to see some other big timers coming to A2.

Just a thought: No word on if ND will play two straight games at UM or vice versa, but perhaps they agreed to do that in exchange for Michigan playing this game in October or November in a few years to help ND balance their schedule.