Michigan, Notre Dame rivalry to start again, UM cancels series with Arkansas
Rejoice, college football purists. Michigan and Notre Dame will face off and all will be right with the world.
The nation’s two winningest programs will renew their series in 2018.
The school made that official with the announcement on Thursday. The teams will play in South Bend, Ind. on Sept. 1, 2018 and they’ll square off in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Oct. 26, 2019.
It’ll mark their first meeting since 2014. Former Michigan coach Brady Hoke infamously said that Notre Dame “chickened out” of the series back in 2013. But even with Michigan’s recent revival under Jim Harbaugh, the Irish maintained interest in a renewal.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said last fall that he was open to it, and Harbaugh said multiple times that he thought it would happen.
But ironically enough, the series renewal will result in the cancelation of Michigan’s future home-and-home with Arkansas, which was scheduled for the 2018 and 2019 season. Bielema advocated for the B1G/SEC challenge, but instead, the Wolverines pay Arkansas $2 million for the cancelation.
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Bielema had this to say to the Chicago Tribune when he found out about the cancelation during his London vacation.
“I’m definitely disappointed,” Bielema told the Tribune. “It was going to be an opportunity to play one of my favorite teams from the Big Ten.”
Bielema also joked that Arkansas would use the $2 million from Michigan to host a satellite camp in Cabo.
Either way, Arkansas was the unfortunate victim of Michigan and Notre Dame renewing the storied rivalry. Notre Dame’s schedule only allowed for dates that Michigan had set up with Arkansas.
The series, which dates all the way back to 1887, still favors Michigan 24-17-1. The teams had met every year from 2002-2014 and they were only left off each other’s schedules four times from 1985-2014.
With the announcement, that means Michigan will have road games against Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State in 2018. The Wolverines still have a non-conference spot available for each of the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
For now, it’s only a home-and-home. Michigan’s non-conference schedule for 2020 is already filled.
But if the Wolverines were willing to take a $2 million loss for canceling the Arkansas series, perhaps they’d be willing to do the same in 2020.