Apr 13, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke watches from behind the offense during the Spring Game at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

This Week In College Football Social Media: Michigan-Notre Dame Rivalry Ends On A Tasty Note

Brady Hoke riling up Michigan Wolverines fans this week generated plenty of buzz — or is that squawks? Regardless of how it’s described, his charge that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is “chickening out” of the rivalry with Michigan drew plenty of reaction.

Following Irish nose tackle Louis Nix III’s reaction on Twitter was a blast. Getting into the spirit of a true college football rivalry, Nix sounded off.

The indefinite suspension of the storied Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry was already on the horizon, scheduled to wrap up by 2018 before the UND athletic department reached an agreement to play five ACC opponents each season. The restructuring of its schedule left Michigan out. Notre Dame’s contractual obligation to face ACC opponents is the closest the program will be to a full conference schedule, and was bound to jeopardize some of the many, longstanding rivalries it has held for decades.

Such is the reality of the new college football landscape. The conclusion of Florida-Miami was announced this week, as well. Scheduling meaningful, out-of-conference games is increasingly difficult with the looming uncertainty of a playoff.

Michigan-Notre Dame is a sexier rivalry than the Notre Dame and Michigan State, but the latter is more rooted in tradition. If we’re to lament the demise of the game’s traditions, well…the Wolverines and Fighting Irish last missed one another in 2001, the fourth season in seven that the two didn’t play. The Irish and Spartans? There was a two-year layoff in 1995 and 1996, the first hiatuses in the series in nearly four decades.

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis explained to MLive.com how this traditional, out-of-conference rivalry survived realignment, while others fizzle out:

“The one thing we did proactively as we sat down with Jack (Swarbrick, Notre Dame athletic director) several years ago and came up with a strategy for a four-on and two- off (rotation).

“I’m not comparing this to Michigan’s relationship, because I don’t know what theirs was, but we’ve been in conversations about what we want the future to look like for the past five, six, seven years, and changed the contract to go from every year to four on and two off, and that provided Notre Dame with an opportunity to go out and do some of their national scheduling they desired, and it provided us with an opportunity to bring in teams like Oregon and Miami of Florida, and keep the tradition going but at the same time allow some freshness to come into Spartan Stadium.”

While the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry has produced exciting moments, and the rivalry sentiment is very genuine, its absence won’t leave us bereft of quality, non-conference football. Michigan isn’t using the opening to schedule down, adding Oregon State, Utah and BYU to the 2015 docket. Notre Dame sees Texas in addition to traditional rivals like USC and Stanford.

History has proven Michigan and Notre Dame will cross paths again, though we can hope it’s sooner than the 35 years the program went without facing off from 1943 to 1978. No matter the duration of this hiatus, Hoke and Nix are at least giving college football fans a tasty send-off.

The Fighting Irish and Wolverines square off Sept. 7 under the lights at the Big House. That’s 113 days from today. Until then, here’s Les Miles in a tiny sombrero:

Tags: Football Michigan State Spartans Michigan Wolverines Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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