What addition of Notre Dame means for Michigan’s 2018-19 schedules
After temporarily ending their rivalry in 2014, Michigan and Notre Dame will revive the temporarily defunct grudge match starting in 2018.
The teams will square off on Sept. 1, 2018 in South Bend, Ind., and will cap the home-and-home slate with a game in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Oct. 26, 2019. Future games are being discussed, but nothing has been finalized.
The Fighting Irish don’t have a true conference affiliation (they’re partial football members of the ACC) and have free reign over their scheduling, aside from those annual ACC matchups.
Michigan had to reshuffle some things on their 2018-19 slates, however. A home-and-home series with Arkansas was sacrificed to make room for the Irish. Michigan also had to move its Oct. 26 conference game against Rutgers to Sept. 28, 2019, which was previously an open date.
Obviously, adding a series with Notre Dame is an upgrade over a series with Arkansas, who is expected to be at the bottom of the SEC West this season. But, Michigan’s 2018 schedule became much more difficult. The Wolverines will travel to Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State in 2018. Those three road trips won’t make a potential run at the College Football Playoff any easier.
The Wolverines also have only 11 games scheduled for the 2018 season, meaning another non-conference opponent will likely be scheduled the week after the season opener against the Irish. While it’s likely the Wolverines will schedule a very winnable home game, they won’t have a week off until Oct. 27. A late bye week could be a detriment depending on how Michigan battles attrition and injury throughout the season.
The 2019 schedule is even weirder. Notre Dame travels to Michigan in late October and the Wolverines will host the Irish in between road trips to Penn State and Maryland, respectively. The late matchup also means Michigan has one more game to schedule during the first three weeks of the year. Currently, Michigan has open dates on Aug. 31 and Sept. 14 with a home game against Army scheduled on Aug. 7.
This leaves the door open for a variety of options for Michigan. The Wolverines could opt to schedule a high-profile opponent to open the season, or could schedule a cupcake opponent for the opening weekend. Perhaps they could attempt to make amends with the Razorbacks and schedule a one-time, neutral-site game contest.
While fans are probably ecstatic about the renewal of this heated rivalry, the true ramifications of this acrimonious matchup will carry beyond this matchup.