The Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry is a special one for me. Sure, there’s no team I hate more than Ohio State, and I dislike Michigan State more than the Irish, but when it comes to bragging rights, the UM-ND game trumps them all.
That’s because my parents, brothers, and various aunts, uncles, and cousins attended the University of Notre Dame at some point. My aunt and I are the lone Wolverines. The Ohio State game is undoubtedly more meaningful to Michigan, but I don’t know too many Buckeye fans. When Michigan loses to ND I hear it about it from 100 different people for a year.
I’ll be attending this Saturday’s contest in South Bend. It will be the ninth UM-ND game I’ll have witnessed in person, at least according to my ticket book. I went to the 1998 and 2002 games, the four games during my college years (2004-2007), and the two since.
My alma mater has a 3-5 record in those eight games. However, the team I was rooting for holds a 5-3 record, as I must admit I was an Irish fan as a confused youngster.
It has been an interesting series, both historically and recently. Michigan leads all time, 21-15-1. The Wolverines (.737) and Irish (.734) rank 1-2 in the NCAA in all-time winning percentage, so this match-up is always important in that race.
|Greg Mathews hauls in the game-winning TD for Michigan, the underdog, in last year’s game. (Credit: larrysphatpage)|
The underdog has also fared well. Other than 2007—when Michigan was favored and won easily—not since 2003 has the favorite prevailed. Of the games I’ve been to, the favorite is 1-7.* That is pretty astonishing, and it’s why I’m happy Notre Dame is a four-point favorite on Saturday.
*I say approximately because I could not find point spreads for games played before 2005. However, I know Michigan was favored in 2004, and I’m pretty sure they were small favorites in 2002 and moderate favorites in 1998 (season opener after Michigan won the national championship).
The thrill of the upset has certainly added to some memorable games in recent history. Just last year I witnessed Tate Forcier lead Michigan on a last-minute touchdown drive, after Charlie Weis had made some questionable play-calling decisions. I saw “Super” Mario Manningham’s coming-out party in ’06, when the Wolverines hung 34 on the Irish…in the first half. And I saw Notre Dame’s exciting upset wins in ’02 and ’98.
What will happen in this year’s match-up? The only thing I know for sure is that my mom will get teased for not choosing a side, instead wearing a “Michigan and Notre Dame Mom” t-shirt.
8 thoughts on “Michigan-Notre Dame Football 2010 Preview”
The Irish offense has too many weapons for Michigan to manage. ND will win if it can contain Denard Robinson but that is a huge 'if' considering the big plays the Irish defense gave up against Purdue. Last time I saw Notre Dame win in person: Michigan in 2002 when we charged the field from the alumni alley section which was positioned side by side with the ND freshmen. Losses seen in person since that win include: Florida Sate, USC x 2 (including Reggie Bush push), Georgia Tech, Pitt, and Michigan State (overtime).
You haven't seen an ND win in person since '02? I should be buying your plane ticket today!
I'll take a rain check for ND at the big house next year.
I will save my score prediction for the end, because I don't want people questioning my credibility until they hear what I have to say. In watching last week's Notre Dame game, it was quite clear that they are BALANCED. They spread the ball out on offense, and show a balanced attack of run and pass. When things get dicey, they can always lean on Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph. While I don't think the defense is all of a sudden great, they are much better suited for the 3-4, and seem to be adequate at worst. Michigan on the other hand, relies solely on the play of Denard Robinson. The same Denard Robinson that was incompetent last year. I believe that he has gotten much better, but he's not good enough to come into a hostile environment and win a shoot-out all by himself. The Michigan defense is terrible, and as long as the Irish don't shoot themselves in the foot, they should score at will. If Robinson isn't PERFECT, the game won't be too close.Michigan – 21Notre Dame – 52
Notre Dame scoring 52 would be quite a statement that has not been made since they beat Standford 57-7 in 2003. According to this database: http://www.georgemacor.com , ND is 87-0 when scoring 50 or more points.
Why is the guy in the bottom left of the picture above not watching the finish of an incredibly exciting game?
Great question! And wasn't the ND Michigan game played in South Bend in 2008?