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Posted on Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 9:32 a.m.

Notre Dame writer says beating Michigan is the top priority for the Fighting Irish this season

By Nick Baumgardner

On paper, there will be nothing more than a non-conference win or loss at stake when the Michigan football team travels to Notre Dame this season.

As always, the game's not a league contest and it'll be held on Sept. 22, giving both teams plenty of time to avenge a loss.

For Michigan, the nighttime bout (7:30 p.m., NBC) against the Fighting Irish seems important, but not as important as, say, Ohio State, Michigan State or Alabama.

For Notre Dame, however, beating the Wolverines could mean everything. So much so, in fact, that's Matt Fortuna believes Michigan is the Fighting Irish's most important foe.

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One Notre Dame writer believes the most important game of the season for the Fighting Irish will be against Michigan on Sept. 22 in South Bend, Ind. file photo

"Michigan has tortured Notre Dame lately, and the Irish will be out for redemption after last year's home night contest against USC -- their first in 21 years -- went anything but according to plan," Fortuna wrote. "It will be a big recruiting weekend. If history is any indication, it won't lack for drama, either.

"For the Irish to take the next step in Year 3 under Brian Kelly, they won't find a bigger momentum boost than taking down the Wolverines in prime time."

The Wolverines have won five of the last six meetings with Notre Dame, the last three by a combined 12 points.

While this matchup may be a huge deal for Notre Dame,'s Adam Rittenberg counters Fortuna's point by saying it's just not that important for Michigan.

"Michigan-Notre Dame always moves the needle nationally, and the nighttime atmosphere in South Bend will be electric," he wrote. "The game carries importance for the Wolverines, but not as much as it has in years past. Beating Notre Dame is always big for recruiting and because of the teams' rivalry, but how many Michigan fans would rather see the Maize and Blue beat Alabama?"

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 10:47 a.m.

is it just me or do these coaches such as Kelly and RR seem so obsessed with offense that they consider their defense only as a after thought.......

Nathan Parke

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

Notre Dame and Kelly care about Defense and they have done very well at putting together solid classes on that side of the ball since he has been there. They just have had some problems keeping the DBs at school. Take a look at their last two classes on the D side. Especially 2013 is loaded with top talent on D.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 11:10 a.m.

Can't speak so much to RR, but the surprise with Kelly is that his defense has actually been better than his offense. Perhaps at previous stops that was the case with Kelly, but not at ND. The primary problem with Kelly so far has been his management of the QB situation, which has translated into a stale offense and too many turnovers.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

Can't understand why any quality player would choose ND. Not a national power for a long time and as an independent you have one thing to play for, the national championship. No conference championship still possible if you drop two preseason games and that will just about kill any chance of the national championship.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

@Nathan... you make some good points and some poor ones. As far as bargaining power, the question and answer are rather simple: Name one team for me that has more or even as much bargaining power as ND? The answer is none. Perhaps it is by virtue of being independent (though other independents--including Penn State and Florida State in earlier times--don't have ND's bargaining power). Being tied into a conference shouldn't be an excuse. Texas forged ahead with their own TV contract, why hasn't Michigan done the same? The next sentence shows how little you know about college football... Texas, USC, Michigan, OSU and Alabama would all be bigger draws than ND? Give me a break. USC and Alabama wouldn't even be close. Texas has the best shot, then Michigan and OSU. I lived in PA for years. ND was easily the 2nd most popular team in that region. Michigan is an afterthought in PA, except among alumni. I don't care about the religious beliefs of students, but perhaps you should actually read the original comment and my response to it. The topic at hand was why any quality athlete would ever want to choose ND. Well, if you keep up with recruiting at all, you'll know there are some quality athletes that do care about going to a school with a spiritual tradition. If you think Michigan is a national brand in the same sense ND is, seriously, take off your maize-and-blue colored glasses. Michigan is right up there, no doubt, but not on the same level as ND. Again, go to PA or Massachusetts or Texas, etc. and see which team has a bigger following. Yes, ND has lost 3 BCS bowl games and clearly has been down... and clearly some don't want to go to ND b/c of ND's lack of recent success... but not everybody is like that (re: Mick's point). And you need to do a bit better job w/ your college football history. Like I said, Alabama, Oklahoma, USC, Texas, ND in the '50's and early 60's, etc. were down and bounced back. ND can do the same. Tell me why it can't...

Nathan Parke

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

Lifetime-Your claim that ND holds the most weight at the bargaining table is distorted. The reason it seems that way is because they are idependent. They dont have a conference to do a lot of the TV negotiating for them. The Big Ten makes the deal for the teams as far as TV goes. ND has to do it by themselves. NBC has allways run the ND games and they know they will get the ND fans to watch every saturday. What else would NBC put on at noon on a sat that will get viewers? Texas, USC, Michigan, OSU, Alabama would all be bigger draws and have more leverage if they were in the same situation as ND. Who cares about religious beliefs of the students? Thats has nothing to do with what happens on the Football field. You have this idea that ND is the only national brand when its not the case at all. Michigan has one of the largest and wealthiest alumni bases in the country. Not to mention that the younger generation are not clammoring to be ND fans due to the fact that ND hasnt had much success in the last 15+ years. What is it, one BCS game and it was a beat down by OSU? You mentioned other teams being down and bouncing back. ND has been down a long time and really have shown no ability to get back up even though (as you correctly stated, good NFL production, good recruiting, coaches like Wiess and Kelly who are good coaches but for some reason can't win in South Bend. Im no ND hater by any means BTW. I have a ton of respect because even though Im only 30 I know that the classic programs with their tradition and history are more important than ever in this ever changing sport. But ND has to start beating the teams they are suppose to beat, they have to live up to the expetations and exceed them.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 10:25 a.m.

@DonAZ... certainly agree with you that some shine if off the dome. No question. But that's a far cry from Mick's crazy bewilderment at why any quality player would choose ND whatsoever.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 10:24 a.m.

Terry, even Michigan fans have to see that half your comments regarding Michigan are delusional, let alone those of another school. Instead of calling me delusional, how about you respond to my comments, point by point. What is incorrect? That ND has a first rate education? That they're the biggest dog at the bargaining table? That they play all over the country? That other teams have had similarly long down stretch and have bounced back? That they're on national TV each week? Come on man, why don't you actually think and attempt to critique rather than just make baseless assertions that make you feel good about yourself?


Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 1:39 a.m.

I can't go quite so far as Mick here ... there's still some shine on the Notre Dame apple. If -- and it's a big if right now -- but IF Notre Dame were to come back to prominence their brand's value is going to skyrocket. The players on the next ND team to strike it big -- and I mean top 5 big -- are going to have a lot of people looking at them closely. BUT ... the more years they wallow in relative mediocrity the less shine the apple has. I feel for Brian Kelly right now ... I really do ... I think the ND administration knows and Kelly knows they simply can't flush and start again. Unless they absolutely have to. And IF they have to, then oh my goodness, the cover of SI will be "What's Wrong with ND?"

Terry Star21

Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

PS....Lifetime is extremely delusional....

Terry Star21

Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 12:26 a.m. sad as it sounds, you are correct.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

Good God, where to begin. How about first with a very quality education and a national alumni base that hires/has contacts across the country? How about for those students who are spiritually-inclined (not necessarily Catholic... Ryan Harris was Muslim and said that was a big positive for him) and would like to go to a school where that is taken seriously? As far as football, independence can be spun as a bigtime positive. I like the fact that I have traveled to Washington, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee, Nebraska, etc. to see the Irish play. Goodbye independence and hello regionalism. How about the fact that the Irish are on national TV every single week, despite the fact that we've been down for quite a while? How about the fact that they still have a decent pipeline to the NFL despite so many mediocre seasons? How about the fact that other programs were down for long stretches as well and they bounced back (Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, etc.). How about the fact ND remains the strongest brand at the bargaining table? I could go on, but I won't. P.S. I'm not a Michigan fan, but for godsakes, if they had a long string of mediocre years I'd still be able to understand why a recruit chose Michigan... and it wouldn't be hard.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

If ND wants to return to relevance in the college football world, it's actually pretty simple. They have to stop picking bad head football coaches, firing them, and then hiring another. They have an excellent school academically and their recruiting base has not diminished. It's just the coaching. And the book is still out on Brian Kelly. His treatment of players on the sideline and tendency to lose control of himself are not good signs.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 10:19 a.m.

@Terry. For me it's always Michigan b/c I live here in AA, but for the grand majority of ND fans and alumni it's USC. Second would be Michigan. Not sure about MSU, but at best they would be a distant third.


Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

Terry -- "but to the administration - it's the neighboring schools" Interesting question to ponder. ND *is* unique in that they really do wish to be both a national brand *and* retain their midwestern heritage. The national brand chops come from beating USC; their local chops come from beating U-M and MSU. Which side the administration comes down on is anyone's guess ... probably "both." I think in the very near term the answer is, as you say, local prestige. ND's recruiting is somewhat national, but a lot local. If they re-establish themselves against local foes UM and MSU, then they can turn their focus even more towards USC.

Terry Star21

Sat, Jul 7, 2012 : 12:30 a.m.

81..I agree 100%.'s the two Michigan schools that are most critical. Quite a few fans will believe it's usc, but to the administration - it's the neighboring schools (I believe).

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

Agreed. The primary issue is easily the head coach.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

"And the book is still out on Brian Kelly." Absolutely true. Kelly's real claim to fame is his two-year stint at Cincinnati. His tenure at CMU was good, but not stellar. His 2009 season at Cincinnati was what put him on the radar screen for Notre Dame. But that may have been more of a step up than he is capable of handling. So, as you say, the book is still out on Kelly. He really needs a good 2012. To quiet the ND natives he's going to need a 9-3 record with a couple of signature wins -- Michigan would be one, USC would certainly be another. But a 8-4 season with losses to Michigan, USC, Oklahoma and Michigan State? I think that just ups the noise against him.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

It is about Brian Kelly and his QB situation. That man has switched more QBs than any coach I have seen the past few years. Bottom line for Kelly and the Fighting Irish: another new QB, lacking experience is like a headless snake. It might be another close game, but I think the Michigan defense can control the ND offense, as per new QB and come out on top. GO BLUE!!


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

Sometimes I wonder if a coach like Kelly -- who had some success at CMU but really came into the limelight with Cincinnati -- doesn't fixate on the QB model that gave them success. For Kelly that was Tony Pike at Cincinnati. I wonder if his QB churn at ND is because he's trying to find the "next" Tony Pike. In some ways I think that's the problem a "certain other coach who shall remain nameless" has. His QB-fixation is on the Pat White model.

Blue Marker

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

Great point about the QB situation in South Bend. No one on this thread has brought that up and I think it's ND's biggest weakness. If Michigan wins I believe you have the reason why.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

Notre Dame's top priority should be having a winning record!


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:33 a.m.

I absolutely love the Mich. vs ND match up and just like last year I will be on pin and needles up to and during the game. Make no mistake, in my opinion that game is what college football is all about. Prior to Brady coming to Mich. as head coach we, Mich. were stuck in the mud much like ND is now. I think ND is close to turning things around and except for a call here and there they, ND would have beaten us last year. We better take that game at ND seriously this year or in my opinion, we could very well lose to them. ND game is a wonderful matchup of two very traditional powerhouses and just because ND has as of recent been in a down cycle makes that game no less significant to this fan of Mich. If we're not careful we could have 2 losses or more after the ND game. Mich and ND are joined at the hips in tradition in college football going all the way back to Mich helping ND get on track in college football. That game sets the barometer for the season win or lose and it has a special significance this year because win or lose at the Alabama Mich game we still have to get by ND at ND.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

hailmary your post is spot on! this game to me is old school football, hard fought, close score's with lot's of tradition from both school's and is just about as important and exciting as the UM-o$u game. GO BLUE!!!!!!

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 10 a.m.

Thank you, Hailmary. You represent the best of Michigan fandom, and I agree with everything you said. My comments above are not directed at you or fans like you.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:42 a.m.

I am not so arrogant as to think that ND is a has been. Just like Mich. their fans love that team and DR will be lucky if the team can even hear his play calling. Those ND fans will inject so much adrenalin in those ND players that unless Mich. brings their A game, that particular game could spell trouble for the whole season for Mich. After the shootout with Alabama win or lose, Mich. better be ready for Air Force because in my humble opinion I'm betting that Air Force is counting on Alabama taking the wind out of Mich's. sails. It all goes back to the old adage that every game is important even the Mich state game.

Steve McQueen

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 6:11 a.m.

Denard Robinson has been completely dominant vs. ND in his career. In fact, historically there are few players at any school who have had the kind of 2 game run vs. an opponent like Denard has had vs. ND. It has gotten to the point where any time a ND player leaves to go to school, go play, see a friend, to buy a freakin comic book, they have to ask themselves Is today... Denard Robinson Day?

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 9:57 a.m.

Sadly, I agree. No Denard Robinson and we easily win '10 and '11. Still, if we can actually eliminate the turnovers and have decent QB play, this game is quite winnable for us (though it won't be easy).


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 5:34 a.m.

ND has loads of talent, and a very good coach. Michigan played three epic heroic games to beat them in 2009,10, and 11. I'm very cautious of this game. can lightening strike 4 times in a row?


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 9 p.m.

Keep in mind the '09 and '10 Michigan teams were very weak teams by Michigan standards. With a new ND QB at the helm he better be top notch or I think Michigan will have little trouble with ND.

Blue Marker

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

Ah, the voice of reason. Thank you Scott!


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:50 a.m.

Scott. I believe we will lose that game if we don't bring our, "A" game.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 4:12 a.m.

Wow! Dont know where you guys are coming from. Listen, I bleed maize and blue but if you think Notre Dame is lacking in talent when compared to UM you are out of your minds. They just have to put it all together. This game is always a dog fight. UM has beaten Notre Dame three tears in a row and now they have to go to South Bend for a night game? How long do you expect UM to keep this win streak up? Personally I think Mich has a better chance of beating Alabama at a neutral site than they do racking up win number four AT South Bend.

Nathan Parke

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

We are confident that Michigan can get this win because of the fact that ND doesnt even know who will be starting at QB for that game. Likely it will be the true freshman. They also lost their best Dlineman, a coupe of key Olinman, RB Jonas Gray, lost their whole secondary and lost M. Floyd. ND is going to struggle putting up points against the Michigans defense. Their lack of experience on offense is huge in this matchup. Playing them early is a blessing for Michigan as they will be breaking in a lot of new players at the skill positions The Michigan offense should be even better than they were the last couple years. Last year we didnt have Fitz in the role as leading back. Combined with the fact ND lost their best Dlineman, the LB Flemming and both starting CBs and starting S. The M defense should be good too. The loss of the key players on the line isnt as much a factor in this game due to the losses of the RB Gray, the offensive lineman and having inexperience at QB. ND has a ton of talent but little experience at some key spots.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 9:55 a.m.

Thank you for being very reasonable, klick12. I agree with most of what you say. But unfortunately I disagree with the assertion that you guys have a better chance against 'Bama than us!


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:51 a.m.

Klick12, I absolutely agree with you.

Terry Star21

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

Michigan vs notre dame is still a huge game - for now. Yes it has lost some luster, as the program continues to struggle, but America still loves these two storied programs. And yes, like others, I do believe this is the biggest game for the irish. Fans might not think so as much, reeling over that team from California. But for kelly, this is the big one - another loss, another nail in the coffin. On a separate note, I always will believe nd fans are the best in the nation (after Michigan), and we have always been treated well - every trip down there. MgoBlueForTiM...Michigan won't let it get close this year.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

@Nathan Parke... your stat about Michigan taking 5 of the last 6 from ND is rather hand-picked as well. ND took 3 of 4 from Michigan right before that. The series is right at about .500 since it's been renewed. There is no question that past 20 years or so Michigan has had a better record than ND... by fairly significant margins. But that hasn't translated to dominated ND on the field, which you think it would.

Nathan Parke

Mon, Jul 9, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

SEC FAN- Why do you keep using that hand picked stat? How about the fact that Michigan's record against the SEC is 20-6-1. Or that since 94 we are 7-1 against your SEC? Or that Michigan has won 5 of the last 6 against the Irish. Or that ND has hovered somewhere around .500 for the last 20 years or so? You know your using these last 6-7 years when you know it also includeds the worst 3 year stretch in program history. You constantly commenting on Michigan articles is a good representation of reality, the reality that Michigan owns the SEC.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

Agree with most of your comments. I love watching this game every year. But, since (including) 2005 season: ND: 51 - 37 (5 seasons over .500) UM: 52 - 34 (5 seasons over .500) I'd submit the recent mediocracy of the rivalry isn't due to just one side.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

Unlike Michigan, Notre Dame does not have a general studies program for their underachieving athletes to hide out in. This is the reason the program is not what it was once was.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

Arthur, Michigan is no Stanford. Stanford has no general studies and health club management degrees. Andrew Luck graduated with a degree in Architecture. Are you saying a general studies degree from Michigan is more highly regarded than a business degree from ND? Does anybody out there know a non-athlete student from Michigan who graduated with a degree in general studies?

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

I'll have whatever you're smoking, ArthGuinness...


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

The only ones impressed with a Notre Dame degree are other Notre Dame graduates. It's *them* that need to get out more. Michigan and Stanford degrees are regarded highly by everybody.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 9:53 a.m.

I don't think we (ND) lose b/c our academic standards for student-athletes are higher than Michigan's (which they are, but the gap isn't so huge). I think we lose b/c our coaching has been subpar. Davie, Willingham and Weis back-to-back-to-back will nearly kill any program, and the jury is still out on Kelly. On the other hand, michboy40 hasn't a clue about our facilities, which are state-of-the-art and can compete against anybody's. And ArthGuiness's comment that nobody is really impressed with an ND degree? You need to get out more, buddy.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 2:08 a.m.

No one is really that impressed with a Notre Dame degree, though. So while I'd agree that General Studies, Sports Management, etc. are rather weak majors at Michigan, they're still tougher than majors at most other schools. On the other hand, I'm actually really impressed with Stanford, though. Even the football players are getting solid degrees that would get you a job anytime, anywhere. Not to mention they're currently winning, mostly thanks to Harbaugh. Michigan could and should strive for Stanford's level of excellence in this department.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

Then what degree programs do the atheletes hide out in at ND? At Michigan it is Health Club Management and General Studies. Besides, did not Jim Harbaugh say the same thing about Michigan?


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:02 a.m.

ND gets plenty of top recruits, and their classes are always in, or around, the top ten, so the "we can't get talent because the curriculum too is hard" is a load of garbage. ND loses because their athletic department and facilities are archaic, so the "talent" does not develop at the same pace as other schools...but whatever you need to make yourself feel better.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1 a.m.

Well Terry, Do you really believe Denard would have been accepted to Michigan on academics alone? ND has not lowered their academic standards for athletes, Michigan has.

Terry Star21

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 12:36 a.m.

I'm sure that's the !


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 11 p.m.

I agree with the article -- for ND, this year, and particularly early in the season, it's all about Michigan. In many ways that's not unlike the focus last year on Michigan beating OSU. Or, for that matter, Hoke's renewed focus on beating MSU this year. Brian Kelly is on the hotseat ... he has to show improvement or the heat will only get worse. Michigan is a high-profile school that is, conceivably, beatable by ND. Therefore, Kelly must beat Michigan. That said, if ND beats Michigan but goes 4-8 otherwise, the victory over Michigan won't mean that much in the broader scheme of things. So yeah ... beating Michigan is a focus area for Kelly and ND.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

@DonAZ... no doubt, out of the first four games it's clearly Michigan that is circled. And yes, the schedule is particularly brutal this year. I'm not so dismissive of the Oklahoma game as some are, but USC is going to be brutal. I expect a repeat of last year at best.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

@Lifetime -- the difference is ND has beaten Michigan State recently. Last year's 31-13 victory over MSU was pretty convincing. Ditto Navy, who ND lost to in 2009 and 2010 ... losing in 2009 was a shocker; again in 2010 was unimaginable. But y'all beat Navy in 2011, so some of the sting is off that. But the three straight losses to Michigan are sitting there like a festering wound. That's why I say it's "all about" Michigan. I have to imagine (or guess) that for the ND fan that for the first 4 games Michigan is the one circled in red. Looking at your schedule -- MSU, Michigan, Miami (who's coming back), Stanford (big question mark post-Luck), Oklahoma and USC. Ouch. Other than the Michigan game I wish you well! :-)

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 9:46 a.m.

This is a very sensible opinion. I wouldn't say it's all about Michigan (MSU is a big game as well), but Michigan this year is even more important than other years.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:55 a.m.

Right on DonAZ, don't you just love the Magic surrounding this game ?


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Why do you have to choose the opponents you prefer to beat? We want to beat all of them .... one by one. So the next game is always the most important one. It's a guarantee that after M beats Alabama, fans will be crushed if M loses to Air Force and ditto for the following game against Notre Dame. They're all important!! Once the season is over, victories over ND, MSU, and OSU + a bowl or championship opponent will all have been special.

Steve McQueen

Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

ND does not have the horses to beat Michigan this year. Michigan will win something like 27-13.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

@Blue Marker... no, you certainly don't have to remind me! It's been excruciating for all ND fans, let alone this one who is an AA native! But to your other point, I don't have the stats in front of me, but the favorite has a terrible record in this series. I believe since the series was renewed in the 70's, there have been 28 games. Pretty sure the favorite hasn't even won more than single digits.

Blue Marker

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

@Lifetime, Especially in this series. The games always seem so close. UM has won in the last 30 seconds in the last 3 years....but I doubt I have to tell you that.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 9:44 a.m.

Keep in mind the ND-UM game rarely goes as expected. ND has a ton of talent, but a lot of it is young this year. Edge goes to UM, mainly b/c of Denard. But I doubt it's a 2 TD victory either way.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:56 a.m.

Okie Dokie Steve, I'm going to run all the way to Vegas with those odds.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

For me, beating ND always feels better than any other win until the ohio game. Very few expect us to beat Alabama, but most people expect us to beat ND. So I disagree...we can lose to Bama and get away with it (especially if we look solid), but we can't lose to ND, that would be tragic.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:56 a.m.

You just might be right michboy40.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

I think the sportswriters have it wrong. Right now--all attention is on Bama. Once that game is wrong, all attention will be on Air Force, then Mass, then ND. (Though I can't help but think a few of the fans and players will look ahead to the next "big game" after Dallas.). Michigan certainly knows the importance of that game, and we are all selfish. We want them ALL. Not one or the other.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:58 a.m.

If Brady is as good a coach as I think he is, we will be ready for that game. I think a lot depends on how Brady and staff prepare the team for each game.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

Oops--"once that game is OVER"....


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

Beating ND will always be important for Michigan just like beating Ohio and MSU. This year is special because we want to beat Alabama. The best thing for Michigan is that we can't look ahead and just focus on the opponent we are about to face. I think having Alabama in week 1 helps Michigan, because we have to be focused and prepared (mentally and physically) to play our best starting Game 1. Go Blue!.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 8:59 a.m.

No doubt about it James.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

So he's not a Notre Dame writer, does not work for the school, nor employed by the school. He works for ESPN? Any ruse for a headline, eh? That implies Notre Dame has made an official proclamtion. Unprofessional.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 2:10 a.m.

I agree with RWBill - this article says he is from - not the other blogs based on the affiliation stated, the headline is misleading if he was ID'd by the other titles, i would agree with andrew, but he was not


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

When his LinkedIn profile states "Notre Dame blogger at" and his twitter handle is MattFortunaND, and's own profile says " Notre Dame blogger", it's a pretty good bet that this guy is, in fact, a "Notre Dame writer" as the headline states.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

Michigan has two of the best rivalry games in the country, and if MSU can keep competing for the Big Ten title, you can count three. I have no problem with this; it reflects on Michigan well. Also, regardless of what they've done lately, Notre Dame is still within spitting distance of the second most college wins all-time. Given their obvious recruiting power, if they could just get the right coach they'd be back in an instant. I have yet to be convinced that Kelly is that coach.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 9:02 a.m.

I like Kelly, I just think he needs to tone down that out of control temper. His out of control temper reflects poorly on the players ability to sustain their composure's during games.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

The tradition, Touchdown Jesus, the Golden Dome, and more importantly a contract that puts them on national TV for every game they play is what keeps Notre Dame relevant. This works both to keep them talked about in the media and in recruiting as well. A recruit knows they will have national exposure in every game, and will play in every region of the country in their four years at ND.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

They survive on tradition. Maybe they ought to try football.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 9:04 a.m.

ND is relevant because they are ND one of t he greatest college tradition schools in the country just like Michigan.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

I cannot understand how Notre Dame still ranks after years of failure. The glory days of Coach Ara Parsegian are in the distant past. They just plain aren't a significant cog in the college football wheel anymore. Michigan has bigger fish to fry, and they should cut loose the fighting Irish from their schedule. ND has always played too many smaller schools in order to inflate its win-loss record. I can't stand seeing ND play anymore (they're too boring - too predictable). And their hot head coach loses more games with his temper than he wins. GO BLUE!


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

ND living in the past? hmmm...since (including) 2005 season: ND: 51 - 37 (5 seasons over .500) UM: 52 - 34 (5 seasons over .500)

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 9:41 a.m.

I'm glad to see there are several level-headed Michigan fans who have posted in reply (Hailmary and superhappyfunbrett, who makes a great point about not cutting tradition just b/c a few years in a row go one way (e.g. OSU/UM as well). Then there are those like Terry Star21 (who is consistently the biggest Kool-Aid drinker on here and) and especially OldBittyBates and GoBlue2009 who make a lot of factless assertions without addressing anything that I've written. I'm insecure because I've pointed out that Michigan is only 14-13-1 (including winning 5 of the last 6) since the series resumed against a supposed has-been like ND? Please, for those of you flaming against ND, please tell me why Michigan can't do better. I'm also insecure b/c I've pointed out that ND still wields significant power in the college football world? Oh-Kay. The point is of course I know ND's been down by historical standards. Doesn't take a genius to figure that out. But it gets quite tiring living here running across a certain segment of the Michigan fandom that thinks the Wolverines are so superior to ND that the two shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence. That is clearly not the case.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 9:08 a.m.

Old Bitty, that's like saying how could Mich. still rank after Lloyd Carr's last couple of years and the RR debacle. I don't care if we, Mich were in the cellar, every school out there felt vindicated when they beat us even if we were irrelevant to the national stage.


Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

Notre Dame: returning to glory since 1992. That Notre Dame fan who replied to this comment has as many insecurities as his team has chokejobs. What have they done in the last 2 decades? Consistently lose and barely make bowl games, that's what.

Terry Star21

Fri, Jul 6, 2012 : 12:34 a.m.

OldBitty..agree 100%. notre dame is living on past history (even fans are hanging), running on fumes. The media just keeps refusing to give up on them. Sad.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 11:25 p.m.

I can't agree with "cutting loose" tradition. Yes, we've had their number these last few years. But it hasn't been a cake walk, either. When OSU or Michigan goes on a streak, nobody (intelligent) says we should kill The Game. Sure, it's a hell of a lot bigger game between THOSE two schools... but my point is: just because a few years go one way, doesn't mean it's time to kill off tradition. If ND can't muster a win next few times out or is seriously still lame nationally, I could MAYBE see taking time off between games... but not ditching them completely - as if there's no history or build up to be had here. I say give Irish a chance at redemption. And in the meantime, enjoy watching one of your main rivals flail around dying like a fish out of water. (You may only get such a kick a handful of times in your sports loving life. SIT BACK AND DIG IT!!!)

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

What a laughably arrogant and mostly uninformed comment by OldBittyBates. Where to begin... first, since the "glory days of Ara Parseghian" that "are in the distant past," ND has won more national championships than Michigan, and holds a 13-14-1 record against the Wolverines (and that includes losing 5 of the last 6 to them). The likes of Bob Davie and Charlie Weis have beaten 1/2 national championship coach Lloyd Carr, and the twice-fired Ty Willingham holds a winning record against Michigan. Not to mention Holtz had Bo's number bigtime. What does this say about Michigan that they can't dominate a supposed has-been such as ND? And ND isn't significant in the college football wheel anymore? Puh-lease. To be frank, even a school like Michigan wishes they had the bargaining power that ND has. And that's not taking anything away from Michigan, which is clearly one of the few big dogs in the college football world. I'll leave it at that. And ND playing a light schedule to inflate its win-loss record? Gimme a break. Have you taken a look at our schedule this year? Or most years? I won't even touch on some of Michigan's past out-of-conference schedules, except to say at best you're the pot calling the kettle black. Last, without even debating whether our play is too boring or predictable, I have to ask if you're not a fan of ND, why would you even watch us play in the first place? I was born, raised, and live in Ann Arbor, and I pretty much couldn't care less about Michigan football except for one game a year. GO IRISH!


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

I agree recent games have been exciting but I am glad we are taking a break from them.. Very stale.


Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.



Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

I pretty much agree with you..but last year's game was anything but boring.