The Notre Dame athletic department joined the ACC in all sports except for football. However, even though the Fighting Irish are still without an official conference affiliation, the football program must now schedule five games a year against Atlantic Coast teams.
Thus, the school was forced to take a long, hard look at its schedule and decide which rivalries should be kept and which would be forced by the wayside. Seeing as it is a Midwestern school with a football heritage dating back far more than 100 years, there has been plenty of time to develop annual matchups: Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan, USC and Navy are all schools that expect to play the Irish every year.
However, Notre Dame will be fulfilling its commitment to Michigan over the next two years, but then the Wolverines will be removed from the program’s schedule, perhaps for good.
Well, Michigan coach Brady Hoke was not impressed.
“We have unbelievable rivalry games at Michigan,” coach Brady Hoke said Monday, speaking to 750 attendees at the West Michigan Sports Commission’s annual luncheon at the J.W. Marriott. “The Notre Dame, that rivalry, which they’re chickening out of … they’re still going to play Michigan State, they’ll play Purdue, they don’t want to play Michigan.”
Michigan will only have so many more chances to let Notre Dame know how it feels about their “chickening out” of the rivalry on the field of play.
That should make their last meetings all the more interesting — but also all the more bittersweet for fans of both teams.
Here’s a video of Hoke’s statements via CoachingSearch.com (not mobile friendly).