One of college football’s most storied rivalries is due for a return after a three year hiatus.
Thursday, the Michigan Athletic Department announced that the Michigan football team will resume its series against Notre Dame in 2018 and 2019. The Wolverines will first travel to South Bend before hosting the Fighting Irish the following year.
Both games will replace Michigan’s two scheduled meetings with Arkansas, with Michigan reportedly paying a $2 million buyout to replace the Razorbacks, according to Ryan Krasnoo at SINow.
Michigan will face Notre Dame on Sept. 1, 2018. The Wolverines will then host the Fighting Irish on Oct. 26, 2019 — moving that year’s matchup with Rutgers to Sept. 28 instead.
“This is a game that holds great significance for the student-athletes and coaches who compete on the field,” said Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel in a statement released Thursday. “A great deal of credit goes to Coach Harbaugh and Coach Kelly for initiating the discussion of scheduling this series. This rivalry is also important for the fans of both programs, and we look forward to renewing one of college football’s great rivalries.”
Added Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh: “The competition between Michigan and Notre Dame has created a fair, healthy and productive rivalry over time, and it brings out the best in both programs. We look forward to facing Coach Brian Kelly and the Irish in the coming years.”
The Wolverines and Fighting Irish have met 41 times since the first meeting between the two schools took place in 1897 in what was Notre Dame’s first football game.
Since then, both teams have jockeyed for a position atop college football. Michigan and Notre Dame rank No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, in all-time wins, and No. 2 and No. 1, respectively, in all-time winning percentage.
Michigan leads the all-time series with a record of 24-17-1, while the last 10 games between the two have been almost evenly split — the Wolverines hold a slight 6-4 advantage.
In 2011, the two teams played in the first ever night game at the Big House and set the NCAA single-game attendance record. Michigan emerged with a 35-31 victory after a late touchdown pass from Denard Robinson to Roy Roundtree.
The two met once more under the lights in 2013, when the Wolverines took home a 41-30 victory in a game that broke the 2011 attendance record with 115,109 people in the stands.
But despite the history and popularity of the rivalry, the series was ended for a brief period of time. In 2012, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick announced that the school would be ending the rivalry after the 2014 season.
Shortly thereafter, former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said that the Fighting Irish were “chickening out” of the rivalry.
Notre Dame, though, had the last laugh with a 31-0 drubbing of the Wolverines at South Bend in 2014, the last game before the short break.
Manuel also stated that there are ongoing negotiations with Notre Dame over extending the series past the two currently scheduled meetings.