Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hot Topics: Reactions To The End of Notre Dame vs. Michigan

On a regular basis, our writers will break down a "Hot Topic" among the Michigan fans and express their personal opinions regarding the issue. Topics cover everything from major athletic department decisions to team apparel. Writers have their own opinions and readers and their views may not necessarily represent Hoke's Mad Magicians as an entity.  Readers are welcome to comment below or contact our writers via Twitter with their own thoughts.

Kyle Curtiss -Reactions On Decision To End the Notre Dame vs. Michigan Series 

1) I think it's a business decision. Everyone knows by now about the coddling deal NBC has with Notre Dame football. Neither NBC or Notre Dame wanted to lose that, and that's why when Notre Dame and the other collegiate sports moved to the ACC. The decision was made for the football program to schedule 5 games with ACC opponents. In the end, Swarbrick is going to try to milk as much revenue out of NBC and the ACC as he possibly can. That being said, that leads me to my second point:

2) Really? Notre Dame is going to schedule 5 ACC opponents, and add in Purdue, most likely Navy, MSU, USC, and Stanford. That's not to say the ACC opponents are going to be the competitive ones either. Are they playing it easy by scheduling Duke, Wake Forest, Maryland, and Boston College every year? By taking Michigan out of their schedule sooner, Notre Dame weakens their strength of opponent. That's not to say Michigan will be national title bound every year, but it's still a better brand of football than Duke (football, not basketball). I think it's an easier path to a better schedule, and who's to say Swarbrick won't try the same thing with Purdue or Michigan State.

Thomas Beindit - Reactions On Decision To End the Notre Dame vs. Michigan Series

1)  The first thing I want to say is that this is a shame.  Michigan and Notre Dame have only played 39 times so far, but have played on a regular basis since 1979.  Yes, the series has taken historical breaks, but it has become one of the best rivalries in college football and one of the best games in September on a yearly basis, not just for Michigan and Notre Dame, but for fans nationwide.  I recently vacationed to Las Vegas and I met someone from Texas who was asking me about the "Under the Lights" game.  This game has just been something special.  It combined two of the nation's best college football programs, a heated rivalry, and some of the best games fans have ever seen.  All you have to mention is "The Catch", "Under the Lights", or Tate Forcier's comeback and it will lead to reactions from both sides of the rivalry.  For fans looking for the things that make college football special, big programs, big players, and big rivalries, things have just become a lot harder for the future.

2) Typically, I don't like to resort to attacks on another team or program, but in this case, I'm just going to say what I believe about Notre Dame's decision.  It's a complete "cop-out".  For all the talk and hype Notre Dame gets, why are they so afraid to play a tough schedule?  Irish fans seem to take pride in bragging about their "difficult" schedule and why they should be revered for playing such tough teams.  However, they will undeniably be downgrading in schedule difficulty with this decision.  Right now, only 2 teams are ranked in the AP poll and only 2 teams received votes.  That means that if you respect the rankings at all, the ACC only has 5 (including Notre Dame) of 15 teams with better or comparable teams to Michigan.  Notre Dame doesn't get to pick its ACC games, the ACC does, which means they will most likely be randomly selected with perhaps the Boston College game guaranteed on a yearly basis.  Not every team Notre Dame will face will be weaker than Michigan, but the vast majority will and in terms of consistency, nobody in the ACC comes close to Michigan and since most scheduling decisions are for the long-term, that makes it even more obvious that they are trying to make their schedule easier.  If you want to play an easier schedule ok, but don't go around bragging about the nation's most difficult schedule then turn around and drop the nation's winningest program from your schedule.  I could understand if Notre Dame knew they would be adding a team like Virginia tech every year, but they don't.  Odds are that the ACC will spread out the quality opponents to ensure big match-ups for the conference.  The bottomline here is that Notre Dame wants an easier schedule and are just afraid of playing Michigan.  If you don't believe me, look at the recent results of the match-up, with Michigan winning 3/4, 5/7, 9/15, and holding an all-time record of 23-16.  Michigan is the ONLY one of Notre Dame's rivals to hold a winning record against the Irish.


Final Points

Kyle - I think you're going to find the major consensus among Michigan fans to be the same. I agree with Thomas in saying that this is a "cop-out" for Notre Dame. I think in trying to figure out an easier long term schedule for Notre Dame, Swarbrick took the cowards route in the way he informed Dave Brandon. Yes, the ACC does have some good programs in Clemson, Georgia Tech, NC State, North Carolina, Florida State, and Miami. However, while this is a down year for the Big Ten, the ACC can only boast of a couple good teams EVERY single year. Does Miami-Notre Dame sound appealing? Maybe. Florida State? Yes, with their recent resurgence that could be a good contest. Either way you look at it, it's a crapshoot. By losing Michigan, they are losing a brand name type of football that is difficult to replicate. For years there have been talks about Notre Dame joining the Big Ten, and now it is obvious that will never happen. So, I say good riddance. Maybe now Michigan can use that opening to schedule an unusual opponent such as a team from the Big 12, or a team from the PAC-12 that Michigan wouldn't normally play in the Rose Bowl later in the season. Either way, before this happened I considered myself a fan of Notre Dame football, that is unless they played Michigan. Now, they've lost all my respect.

Thomas - I agree with Kyle.  Notre Dame wants to preserve its independence, but also enjoy the benefits of joining a conference.  I think they're also using this as an excuse to back out of a tough rivalry for them both recently and historically.  They do have a difficult schedule on a yearly basis and this should make it a lot easier in the long-term.  I understand why they want to do this, but I think they are underestimating the impact it will have on their fanbase, recruiting, and national perception.  Virginia Tech vs. Notre Dame?  Sounds cool, but doesn't have the same ring as Michigan vs. Notre Dame.  It's a depressing day for college football and I hope Michigan finds a quality opponent that is willing to face a tough team rather than dump them for Wake Forest.


All writers are entitled to their own opinion and those may or may not represent the held beliefs of Hoke's Mad Magicians as an entity. Readers are welcome to comment below or contact the writers via Twitter with   their thoughts

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