Michigan, Notre Dame resuming storied football rivalry

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan, Notre Dame resuming storied football rivalry

(AP) Notre Dame and Michigan, the two winningest programs in college football history, announced Thursday that they are resuming their rivalry.

The Fighting Irish will host the Wolverines on Sept. 1 2018, and the series will shift to Michigan Stadium on Oct. 26, 2019.

“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,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said in a statement released by the school. “We look forward to facing coach Brian Kelly and the Irish in the coming years.”

Notre Dame opted out of its series with Michigan in 2012, canceling games in 2015-2017. The Fighting Irish said at the time the move was a precaution as it began the process of a scheduling commitment to the ACC. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick said he and his counterpart at Michigan, Ward Manuel, had worked together to renew the series.

“Today is a great day for Notre Dame, Michigan and college football fans across the country,” Swarbrick said. “While the schedule commitments of both Notre Dame and Michigan make an annual series impractical, we’re optimistic that additional games can be scheduled in the future.”

Michigan reached an agreement with Arkansas to cancel a previously schedules series to create openings for Notre Dame. Manuel thanked officials at Arkansas and Rutgers for their help “so we could bring this Notre Dame rivalry back to the field.”

The Big Ten moved the Wolverines’ home game against Rutgers from Oct. 26, 2019, to Sept. 28 of the same year to make room.

“This is a game that holds great significance for the student-athletes and coaches who compete on the field,” Manuel said. “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.”

The storied series dates to 1887. Michigan leads the all-time series 24-17-1.

“We are having on-going discussions regarding extending the series with Notre Dame but nothing is finalized,” Manuel said. “I look forward to working with Jack (Swarbrick) to try to accomplish this common goal while striving to achieve a balance of seven home games each season. Scheduling is a fluid process and we need to be strategic in the way we schedule out into the future.”

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