Door may not be shut on Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry

Door may not be shut on Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry
September 6, 2013, 6:45 pm
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JJ Stankevitz

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said on Sirius XM on Friday that he doesn't expect to play Notre Dame for at least 10 years after the last scheduled meeting in 2014 -- unless it's in a bowl game or at a neutral site.

That last stipulation, perhaps, could open a few doors for Notre Dame and Michigan to play again after next fall.

[More: Plenty at stake for Notre Dame's showdown with Michigan]

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said this week he and the school are looking into future Shamrock Series sites that "geographically make sense for us." He also mentioned adding Texas to Notre Dame's schedule (in 2015 and 2016, and again in 2019 and 2020) adds a desired national program to the team's schedule.

So maybe, just maybe, there's an opening in 2017 or 2018 for a neutral-site Notre Dame-Michigan game as part of the Shamrock Series. Kelly said a few times this week he hopes to get Michigan back on the schedule, and while Michigan has upped its "we got burned by Notre Dame" rhetoric this week perhaps the door isn't entirely shut.

There are a ton of other factors that go into the Shamrock Series, but perhaps there's a sliver of middle ground there. 2017 would make the most sense, as Michigan begins a home-and-home series with Arkansas in 2018. Michigan also has an away game scheduled at Virginia Tech in 2021.

There's also this wrinkle, if the Shamrock Series wouldn't be amenable: In August, CBS Sports reported Notre Dame, as well as Michigan, was in preliminary talks with the Chick-Fil-A Bowl to play a season-opening game in Atlanta.

[More: Notre Dame confident it can handle the Michigan noise]

Chick-Fil-A wants to anchor its Atlanta kickoff games with an ACC or SEC team, a bill Notre Dame would sort of fit by dipping its foot in the ACC pool for five annual games beginning in 2014. If Notre Dame is serious about getting a national program on its schedule in the two years it doesn't play Texas later this decade, perhaps a game in Atlanta is a viable option -- and, perhaps, a one-off revival of the Michigan game could make sense.

Either way, it's a rivalry that won't be played in South Bend or Ann Arbor for a while. But the game may still have a faint pulse.