Notre Dame vs. Michigan: The End of an Era

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Notre Dame vs. Michigan: The End of an EraOn Sept. 7, Notre Dame prepared for their last game in the Big House. The Irish went into the game with some outstanding positives: an undefeated regular season in 2012, least points allowed in College Football, a trip to the national championship game, and arguably the best defense of 2012. Indubitably, they also had some glaring negatives: being walloped by Alabama in front of the nation in the Championship game, and losing Manti Te’o, Everett golson, Theo Riddick and Tyler Eifert.

The game was highly anticipated by both sides, as well as the media world, and expected to be a tight game, Notre Dame and Michigan were ranked 14 and 17 respectively. However, Michigan was underrated and has much more promise than was recognized before the matchup. QB Devin Gardner is looking to be a phenomenal fit at Michigan, as he was the leading passer and rusher in Saturday’s game, with WR Jeremy Gallon gaining the most receiving yards. Michigan came out strong and held a steady lead for most of the game, with few mistakes in the 41-30 win over Notre Dame.

As the game ended, the Chicken Dance played over the Big House speakers in reference to Brady Hoke’s comments earlier in the week. Brian Kelly recently declined to renew the contract between Michigan and Notre Dame guaranteeing more games: a tradition that has lasted over 100 years, starting in 1887. Hoke commented on the situation in an interview, saying that Kelly was “chickening out” and frankly, many agree.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Michigan fan, a Notre Dame fan or simply a fan of good football, the general consensus is that this is a sensational rivalry. Kelly is making a big mistake in discontinuing the third longest rivalry in the NCAA. In initial attempts to justify his decision, he tried to downplay the significance of the matchup, saying that it was simply a regional rivalry, and not as historically relevant as some of their other games. After immediate backlash from fans and sports media alike, Kelly quickly began to renege on his statement, which only made his public image worse as he was then labeled as a flip-flopper.

It is beyond me how Kelly fails to see the significance of a rivalry more than twice his age. The game amasses great profit and exposure for both schools, as well as being a student favorite. If he couldn’t see the evidence before the game, the new NCAA record for fan attendance that was broken at this years game should have been an indicator. Especially since the record they broke was set at the same night game in 2011.

I refuse to accept that the head coach of such an esteemed university’s football team could be so oblivious, and must conclude that the reason for opting out of the contract was superficial, as Hoke inferred. Looking at the rest of Notre Dame’s schedule, it is apparent that Kelly is trying to make uniform the teams they play, and Michigan simply doesn’t fit in with the teams Kelly has scheduled to give the Irish easy wins.

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