With rumors swirling around that the Notre Dame-Michigan series will add a new chapter in the historic/heated/bad-blood rivalry, it becomes official that the two teams will play each other again. The series is set to return to open the 2018 season on September 1st, 2018, in South Bend. A second game will be played on October 26th, 2019, in Ann Arbor. Michigan had previously scheduled to open the 2018 season with Arkansas, but decided to cut that game out in order to play the Irish. In doing so, Michigan had to pay $2 million to cancel the Arkansas game. So yes, Michigan is quite literally paying to have an opportunity to play the Irish.
For the last year or so, both sides have said that getting the series back is something of a priority for both schools. However, there were certain obstacles that kept this from happening (Notre Dame agreeing to play 5 ACC games a year, the Big Ten going to a 9 conference game schedule, plus the contentious relationship between Jack Swarbrick and former Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon). However, it looks like whatever obstacles were in the way have been worked through now.
The last time that these two historic schools have faced each other, the Irish blew out the Wolverines 37-0 (remember the 6) in Notre Dame stadium. The Wolverines lead the series 24-17-1 in this on again, off again series that dates back to 1887. Interesting that for a rivalry that dates back over 100 years, the teams only faced 42 times on the field.
Notre Dame fans will be mixed in whether this is a rivalry that should be played, or if we should just ignore Michigan's existence (to be fair, Michigan did this 100 years ago to us).
Personally, I think this is a series that should be played with the backstory that it has, and that it is good for college football. At least until we get the series record to Notre Dame leading it 25-24-1. I make it no secret that my Notre Dame fanhood is still in its infancy, and thus, I have been digging through the archives learning why the Irish and Wolverines hate each other so much (and to an extent, why Notre Dame dislikes the Big Ten), and it has truly been insightful. Maybe I'll get a post up about the ND/Michigan series and its history for discussion, I'm sure I'll learn a lot from it from you guys.
Stay tuned as more develops on this story.