clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Notre Dame Football: Irish are going to stay independent, but that doesn’t mean Michigan is back on the annual schedule

Think again

Michigan is trash sign at notre dame stadium Mike Miller/One Foot Down

With news that new media rights deals for conferences and networks are starting to fall into place, we now have a general idea of what to expect with Notre Dame’s new deal with NBC. It was reported a while back that the Irish could be seeking $75 million a year, and that kind of money would help keep the Irish football team out of a conference and free as a bird.

We are inching closer to something a little more finalized.

Sources say the school should expect around $60 million per year from a new contract — though it’s hard to predict how the media business will look three years from now.

Obviously, Notre Dame would remain independent if it agrees to a new rights deal. But its association with NBC — and NBC’s new association with the Big Ten — make it likely that the Fighting Irish would add more Big Ten games to its schedule.

In other words, expect a return of Notre Dame’s rivalry with Michigan before 2033, which is when they are next scheduled to meet.

But does it? Does a new deal with NBC and the Big 10 deal with NBC really mean Notre Dame and Michigan will return to playing annually?

Not really.

Notre Dame’s home schedule hasn’t been all that great during the ACC era. It’s the ACC deal that guided Notre Dame’s hand to not play the Purdue Boilermakers, Michigan State Spartans, and Michigan Wolverines every season. Notre Dame’s misguided attempt at a wookie life debt with the Navy Midshipmen, and the desire to keep the USC Trojans and Stanford Cardinal (California schools) meant that some tweaks to the schedule we became used to over the 25 years prior were needed.

Things are definitely changing now, however, so what kind of changes should we expect?

It really depends on the NBC contract. Perhaps there’s a stick and carrot situation here with NBC willing to give the Irish more money in exchange for more games against Big 10 opponents. That certainly seems logical, as Notre Dame has schedules to fill out in the future, and already has a fair share of Big 10 games on the docket.

So yeah... I do expect Notre Dame to basically be 12 in the ACC and unofficially 12 in the Big 10 in the future, but that doesn’t mean it will be Michigan every year. There are quite a few Big 10 teams that can (and will) show up on Notre Dame’s football schedule — not just the skunkbears. Maybe that’s something you want as a fan — and maybe it’s not — but it doesn’t matter. John Ourand saying the game is likely to come back as an annual matchup is just speculation and wishful thinking from someone outside of the bubbles of both Notre Dame and Michigan.

What’s important right now, is that Notre Dame is determined to stay independent in football, and won’t have to change that line of thinking unless a path to the playoff becomes impossible.