Notre Dame, Michigan series to end in 2014

Notre Dame, Michigan series to end in 2014
September 25, 2012, 4:18 pm
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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.