Notre Dame football has canceled its scheduled games for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons with the University of Michigan, according to a release on MGoBlue.com.
“The decision to cancel games in 2015-17 was Notre Dame’s and not ours,” said Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon. “We value our annual rivalry with Notre Dame but will have to see what the future holds for any continuation of the series. This cancellation presents new scheduling opportunities for our program and provides a chance to create some new rivalries.”
This news is devastating for all college football fans, as the elected movement of realignment continues to brutally damage the fabric of college football and the tradition-laden rivalries that make the sport so compelling.
It is understandable that Notre Dame wishes to make its scheduling more manageable for its move to the Atlantic Coast Conference, but the Irish are going about this all wrong. What we will find out in the coming months is that Notre Dame will also cancel its rivalry with Michigan State, but keep its rivalries with USC and Stanford intact. This move isn’t about shoring up the schedule so that the ACC can fit Notre Dame into the picture, nor is it about making the schedule easier for the Irish. This move entails the Irish waving its proverbial middle finger at the Big Ten conference and saying, “how do you like us now?” Notre Dame operates in childish ways, as far as college football-decency goes, and I will no longer give them the respect that I once had for its academic institution—and football program as a whole.
According to Michigan’s athletic department, the future of the games scheduled to be played in 2020 and beyond has yet to be determined between the rivaling football programs. My guess is that the rivalry will collapse given Notre Dame’s disdain for the Big Ten and its new pseudo-conference affiliation with the ACC.
Michigan is currently scheduled to play three schools in 2015. The Wolverines will begin the season by traveling to Utah, and then will host Oregon State and UNLV in back-to-back weekends in Ann Arbor. The only nonconference opponent on its 2016 schedule is a home matchup against Colorado. There are no nonconference opponents scheduled for the 2017 season now that Notre Dame has backed out of its scheduling agreement.