One of college football’s most storied rivalries appeared to have reached at least a temporary end in 2014.
Temporary is the operative word, because the historic Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry is officially coming back.
The teams will square off for the 43rd time in on Sept. 1, 2018 in South Bend, Ind., and will cap the home-and-home series in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Oct. 26, 2019. Sports Illustrated’s Ryan Krasnoo first reported the news late Wednesday night.
“A great deal of credit goes to Coach Harbaugh and Coach Kelly for initiating the discussion of scheduling this series,” said Michigan Director of Athletics Warde Manuel in a release. “This rivalry is also important for the fans of both programs, and we look forward to renewing one of college football’s great rivalries.”
Michigan will cancel its home-and-home series with Arkansas to make room on its schedule for the Fighting Irish. Michigan will pay a $2 million buyout to create a slot for Notre Dame. The Wolverines and Razorbacks were scheduled to play their series during the 2018-19 seasons. Michigan has also rescheduled its Oct. 26 conference matchup with Rutgers to Sept. 28, 2019, which was previously an open date.
“While it’s never easy to change football schedules, I appreciate Arkansas’ Jeff Long understanding of the need for this change, as well as Rutgers Athletic Director Pat Hobbs and Coach Ash for agreeing to change the date of our conference game so we could bring this Notre Dame rivalry back to the field,” Manuel said.
Manuel added that discussions are ongoing regarding matchups beyond 2019, but nothing is set in stone yet.
The two teams haven’t played since 2014, when it appeared the annual grudge match was coming to an end. Notre Dame became a partial member of the ACC and is now obliged to play five ACC teams every season, limiting its scheduling flexibility. The rivalry against the Wolverines became a casualty of Notre Dame’s pseudo-ACC membership, but that will change in 2018.
Michigan holds the all-time series lead with a 24-17-1 record, but Notre Dame won the last meeting 31-0 in 2014 and two of the past three contests.
Of course, none of those games were played with Jim Harbaugh leading the Wolverines. He and Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly could provide for incredible theatre when those two teams finally square off again.