Notre Dame writer says beating Michigan is the top priority for the Fighting Irish this season
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 ESPN.com's Matt Fortuna believes Michigan is the Fighting Irish's most important foe.
AnnArbor.com file photo
"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, ESPN.com'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?"