Notre Dame, Michigan series to end in 2014


Notre Dame, Michigan series to end in 2014

Notre Dame's schedule has its first casualty stemming from its ACC agreement, and it's the team the Irish just beat 13-6 last weekend.

According to Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon, Notre Dame decided to cancel its series with the Wolverines from 2015-2017, meaning the last scheduled meeting between the two schools will be at Notre Dame Stadium in 2014.

While the rivalry doesn't have a long history -- the two teams have only met 39 times -- the success of each program has fostered one of Notre Dame's more heated rivalries. But while that success has contributed to the rivalry, it also led to its downfall.

With five ACC opponents on Notre Dame's future schedules, along with the desire to keep contests against Stanford, USC and Navy, the Irish will likely have one of the nation's toughest schedules year in and year out. And that's not even considering the four-year agreement Notre Dame has to play Texas, with contests scheduled for 2015 and 2020 in South Bend and 2016 and 2019 in Austin.

Perhaps Michigan will return on Notre Dame's schedule at some point, but for now it appears another one of college football's heated rivalries has been lost thanks to its shifting conference landscape.

UPDATE: Notre Dame Spokesman John Heisler offered an explanation of the progam's decision:

"Our contract with Michigan has an automatic rollover provision with a year being added each time a game is played. We needed to avoid the automatic addition of additional games until we can get a better understanding of our available inventory in those years an understanding that will develop as we implement our five-game scheduling commitment to the Atlantic Coast Conference."

Notre Dame also announced Saturday's game against Michigan on NBC drew 6.4 million viewers, its largest TV audience in two years -- which was 2010's Notre Dame-Michigan game.

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

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Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

CLEVELAND - It doesn't take long for the 2016 Cubs to rebound.

Their American League-style lineup is just simply too talented to keep down for an extended period of time, especially with Kyle Schwarber now added back into the fold.

They Cubs hitters are so confident, they even left Progressive Field feeling good about themselves despite being shut out in Game 1 of the World Series.

The Cubs got on the board early Wednesday night, plating a run on the third batter of the game as Anthony Rizzo doubled home Kris Bryant.

"Take the momentum away. Take the crowd out of it," Bryant said. "It's nice to score first. Especially when you're the visiting team, to get out there and score within the first three batters is huge."

The early lead helped the lineup settle in and keep their foot on the gas for a 5-1 victory to take the series back to Wrigley Field tied one game apiece.

"Especially with a young lineup, I think when you see a few guys go up there and take some good quality at-bats, one happens after the other and the other guys seem to do the same thing," Ben Zobrist said. "It takes a lot of pressure off. When you see other guys having good, quality at-bats, you don't feel like you have to take pitches and you can be aggressive early on. 

"Oftentimes when you're aggressive in the zone is when you take the tough ones. We did a good job tonight laying off some good pitches. When they made mistakes in the zone, we really hit the ball hard. Even though we scored five runs, obviously we had a lot of baserunners on and we could've scored a lot more."

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Zobrist has a point.

The night after leaving nine runners on base and going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the Cubs left 13 runners on base and tallied just three hits in 12 tries with runners in scoring position.

Between nine hits and eight walks, there were Cubs on base all game. Indians pitchers didn't retire Cubs hitters in order in an inning until the seventh.

The Cubs also forced the Indians to throw 196 pitches in nine innings and worked starter Trevor Bauer to 51 pitches through the first two frames.

"That was good for us," Bryant said. "We saw a lot of their bullpen, so we have a lot of information to learn from and hopefully use in the next game."

Anthony Rizzo summed up the lineup's mentality simply:

"Grind out at-bats, work the pitcher's pitch count up and get the next guy up," he said.

That "pass the baton" mentality is what drives this offense and after a brief lull in that regard in Los Angeles when they were shut out in back-to-back games in the NLCS, the Cubs leave Cleveland feeling pretty good.

"When we're able to [get pitch counts up], you can kinda feel it - our offense really feeds off of that," Zobrist said. "We believe that we're going to break through eventually."