What has the Notre Dame rivalry meant to you?

Submitted by xcrunner1617 on September 5th, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Mods feel free to delete if they find this post redundant, but on the eve of our last game against ND in a long time, I am very curious to hear the MGoBlog comunity's opinion on Notre Dame and what this rivalry has meant to you personally over the years?  What have been your favorite moments? What are you going to miss about playing ND?  What are you not going to miss?

It seems to me that instead of focusing on what this rivalry means to Michigan fans this week, we have instead gotten caught up on what Michigan means to Notre Dame and whether we are a rival and what not.  I mean who cares what Notre Dame thinks of us? It doesn't diminish my thoughts on this rivalry and how awesome it has been to play them every year.  I think it would be nice if we put Notre Dame's perception of us on the back burner, at least for this thread, and  just focus on what playing Notre Dame every year has meant to you as a Michigan fan. 




September 5th, 2014 at 12:00 PM ^

TL;DR: Grew up a Dame fan, went to Michigan, family is splintered over college football now

I grew up in a family of Irish Catholics and my family is from Fort Wayne, IN.  While nobody has formal connections to Notre Dame, you can imagine why my family (and extended family) allegience is overwhlemingly to Notre Dame.

I grew up a Dame fan.  Watched them play every Saturday with my grandma, the biggest domer in the history of domers.  I know all of the words to the fight song, I've sang it many times.  Her mailbox is a golden helmet, she has two(!) Notre Dame flags flying, she has a Notre Dame grill, she makes me ring her doorbell (the fight song) every time I visit, her foyer has "God Bless the Irish" proudly displayed, her creepy Notre Dame garden gnomes stare me down and make me uneasy.  I digress.

My fandom all changed when I chose to go to Michigan in 2008 following graduation.  I visited on a whim with some friends from high school to see campus and participated in the college of engineering's tech day.  I fell in love.  I can't even describe it.  The energy in the air, the ambiance of Ann Arbor, I just had to go to Michigan.  It was a surprise to the family, which has since splintered over college football associations.  My immediate family (Mom, Dad, Brother) are avid Michigan fans now, but still root for Notre Dame when they are not playing Michigan.  My grandma, while respecting my choice, has added more and more Notre Dame decor to her home and garden.  

Despite some pressure from the family, it took only my first night in Markley Hall to be completely stripped of any allegience to the Fighting Irish.

The Michigan / Notre Dame game has been the most important football Saturday for me my entire life, and I could not be more sad to see it go.  It splits our family more than Michigan/Ohio State (they all hate OSU) and Michigan/MSU (they all hate MSU too).

Cali Wolverine

September 5th, 2014 at 1:27 PM ^

To me it means that my law school buddy who went to Notre Dame still owes me beer. We graduated in 2002 and he bets me a six pack every year. We have gone 7-5 since then and I am up 2 six packs...maybe after this year since they chickened out of playing us, I can finally collect my 3 six packs and bring some closure to this debt.


September 5th, 2014 at 11:45 AM ^

My high school nemisis went to Notre Dame.   Even after 20 years, when we beat them I get a little smirk on my face knowing that prick is suffering.  And when we lose it feels a little worse knowing he's doing the same.  Luckily, I've had the upper hand in recent years.  Just need one more

James Burrill Angell

September 5th, 2014 at 11:49 AM ^

Fortunately a lot of big wins and great memories. 

I was in the student section for Desmond's catch. At both the UTL games and the first one is clearly one of my favorite games of all time.

My favorite memory was the 2006 game when my wife demanded we go hiking in the redwood forests in northern California. We were literally hiking out mid-afternoon knowing fully that I missed at least the first half and wouldn't be able to drive back to anywhere with a tv before it was over. I was wearing my Michigan hat and a guy walking into the forest stopped me to say "did you hear?". I wasn't sure what he was telling me and then he said "Michigan is up by three touchdowns, they're killing the Irish". I managed to pick up a weak radio signal on a beautiful drive back listening to the second half where we closed them down driving down a scenic highway in NoCal in a convertible. Very good memory. Hope tomorrow night gives us one last good one.


September 5th, 2014 at 11:46 AM ^

that's what it meant to me.  It was a right of passage for Fall into the football season. A low scoring game, last minute field goal that seemed to always decide the win.  Always exciting.  I'll miss it.


September 5th, 2014 at 11:50 AM ^

It's certainly unique. For my entire fan life, Notre Dame has been a presence in my rival hatred that is unlike my hate for our other in-conference rivals.

Sparty has always earned my dislike because of an overwhelming inferiority complex that will persist regardless of future success, future failures or future societal apocalypses.

Ohio State has always been an all-encompassing hate.

Minny is meh.

But Notre Dame, on the other hand, I loathe them like you loathe a family member you have to see yearly at the reunion who seems all too satisfied with whatever they've accomplished. There's an intimate hatred here. We've both done a lot in our storied histories, but ND thinks they are literally God's gift to football. That kind of arrogance, paired with them being our kin in terms of football history and winning, are the source of my lifelong relationship with (and hate of) ND football. I will sincerely miss that after this year.

EDIT: But seriously, to Hell with Notre Dame! I hope we take it to em one more time tomorrow.


September 5th, 2014 at 11:49 AM ^

especially under Rodriguez, I used to get super hyped for it and think it meant something when we beat them. Lately I've come to realize that beating Notre Dame didn't mean we were turning the corner, it meant that Notre Dame wasn't as good as I'd thought (as evidenced by things like us losing to Purdue, Illinois, and Iowa).

That being said, I've never wanted to beat them as much as I do this year... To hell with Notre Dame


September 5th, 2014 at 11:48 AM ^

It's been an enjoyable game each year, mostly because my hatred of all things ND burns bright.

But my life will go on if ND is not on the schedule.

True Blue Grit

September 5th, 2014 at 11:54 AM ^

and I go back to being a fan in the 70's when the rivalry re-started.  I think it was bigger in earlier years, whereas more common of late is Michigan giving them an ass-stomping.  Add to that all the crap from ND in recent years (absurd coaching hires, academic scandals, and the dropping the series in a classless manner) and it's time for Michigan to move on.  I'd rather start playing against programs that I respect more - like just about anyone else.


September 5th, 2014 at 12:05 PM ^

Are our rivals, I want all big ten teams to win all non conference games.

As to ND, I hope they lose every single game.

That is how I viewed the rivalry since 1978.


September 5th, 2014 at 12:01 PM ^

"I think that we should stop playing them in all sports.
I think that the B1G should stop playing them in all sports.
They think that they are better than the B1G. Let them live like that."
- a colleague's thoughts

Jaqen H'ghar

September 5th, 2014 at 12:01 PM ^

I've always seen the rivalry as a student trying to surpass the master, but in a good way. They have come a long way since we went down to South Bend in 1887 and taguht them how to play. If I were to be unbiased I would say they have definitely made a good case for being on equal ground and maybe even having barely surpassed us for overall prestige


September 5th, 2014 at 12:02 PM ^

I have been in attendance at many of the ND games at the Big House over the last few decades. ND and Michigan didn't play during the years when I was a student.

I had the great joy of going to UTL I with one of my sons who had graduated from Michigan the year before.  We partied until 5 AM.  Although other wins were more important, I have never enjoyed a win, nor the atmosphere of any game more, than UTL I.

Last year, I went to UTL II with another son, also a recent Michigan grad, thus completing the cycle of ND UTL life with both of my boys.

I am hoping for one more victory tomorrow night, this time sitting in front of my TV.  After the manner that ND has used to cancel the series along with yesterday's announcement of the two year deal with OSU has me feeling that if we never played those bastards from South Bend again, it would be too soon.


September 5th, 2014 at 12:04 PM ^

vivid college football memories is Hamilton's field goal to beat ND in 94 (probably the only more vivid one coming shortly thereafter in game I would rather not talk about - The Real Horror).  Since that moment, for whatever reason, I have been captivated by the Michigan-Notre Dame game.  Their uniforms are so different yet seem to compliment each other's perfectly.  The stadiums so similar but so different in atmosphere.  The Block M, the ND throwback lined endzones.  The Rocket, Desmond and the catch.  The shadows starting to creep in in the third quarter during the usual 3:30 kicks.  It may not be a popular opinion, but while I don't consider the Irish to be our biggest rival, I have to say I think it might be my "favorite" rivalry game all things considered.  The pagentry of this game is really something to behold.


September 5th, 2014 at 12:07 PM ^

is the best highlight bar none in my opinion. I will miss UM/ND dearly. That feeling is tempered by the loss of respect I have for their administration/program. As said by several, to hell with ND.


September 5th, 2014 at 12:08 PM ^

Michigan and Notre Dame are two teams that just seem to fit better in a game.  Hard to explain that one.  Games like Arkansas will be cool and all, but there's a certain randomness to it that wouldn't ring if you tried to make it into a rivalry.  Sort of like how Michigan and Minnesota or Wisconsin feels a hell of a lot more natural than bullshit-ass Rutgers.  Playing the Notre Dame game after a couple warmup tosses means the fall is really and truly here.


September 5th, 2014 at 3:44 PM ^

family have gone to Michigan--both of my brothers, my mom and dad, my grandfather, and now one of my nephews. To me this game always carried a savor of the real onset of fall, and was something that. . . one just SO LOOKED FORWARD TO. The ND honchos canning this over the desires of both fanbases is criminal, to my mind.

When people talk about it being a regional rivalry, I think there's something to it. But it was a regional rivalry that carried national cache. Why? Because here in the midwest, with these two schools, college football really arguably came of age. This is a thing that, culturally, WE created, right here; it's what distinguishes us. And the nation acknowledged it by looking in every fall, by enjoying it with us. Two fine institutions, forged amid the westward expansion, creating something truly solid and fine to rival the east coast's great schools, propelling the modern game forward. To kill it. . .  in order to flee to a southern football league? In order to fill some projected win total and avoid the three-four losses a year that might get pinned on you if you humbled yourself and joined the B1G? How lame is that? The answer is VERY and the whole world knows it. 

And how, parsed through what ridiculous logic, does the fact that Fielding Yost did something creepy all those years ago somehow justify doing something creepy now? Again, ten million automatonic ND fans can mouth this on all the message boards in the world and it still won't mean jack. 

So long, ND. Go f yourself. 

Indiana Blue

September 5th, 2014 at 12:12 PM ^

The State has 3 schools "relevant" to the football season ... Purdue, IU and the Chickens.  The Chickens are front page news if BK has a hemorrhoid.  The fan base actually believes they will win the National Championship every fucking year!  The arrogance is palpable.  

The ONLY positive is my old college roomate, who grew up in South Bend while I grew up in Ann Arbor.  It was 1973-74 and we razzed each other mercilessly.  But razzing became passion beginning in 1978.  I think he and I attended every M-nd game until the 90's.  He's a great friend and he and I could still be friends after the game.  I hate this game and Bo never said it better ... "To HELL with notre dame"!

Go Blue!


September 5th, 2014 at 12:14 PM ^

My dad is one of ten kids. His brother (my uncle, duh) went to Notre Dame some years back on a wrestling scholarship. My dad's five sisters all went to Michigan State. The three other brothers attended schools without much football tradition (I.e. Albion) and became Notre Dame fans to support the one brother. So the divide is 5 Staters, 4 Domers, and my dad.. The lone Michigan fan. So we were raised as black sheep. My mothers side has two UofM grads and thus my mom easily slide into supporting Michigan. For me Notre Dame is a fun inter family rivalry and has produced a lot of fun banter between all of us.

My favorite memory was going down to Notre Dame with my two uncles and tailgating / touring the campus. It was such a great day and really awesome experience. The game was a close one... oh wait... no it wasn't. It was 2006 *explosions, fireworks, ground tore open and the devil appeared* My uncles are good sports so the drive home wasn't unbearable. #GoBlue


September 5th, 2014 at 12:17 PM ^

I really like the idea of this thread and was considering starting one myself but had the same worries as the OP. I grew up in Southwest Michigan on the Indiana border closer to South Bend than any school in Michigan. We had a lot of fans of ND which made the rivalry significant growing up along with the fact that Michigan was at its peak of success in my lifetime and ND wasn't that far removed from their own recent success in 1988. I grew up watching the great battles with Desmond and the Rocket providing great early season fireworks and the ND hype of will Ron Paulus (spelling) and will he be the first three time Hiesman winner. Now having been away from Michigan for what is essentially my entire adult life galvanizing my Michigan loyalty and fandom I think it really sucks that we are going to not have this game anymore. I am about to make the four hour drive from my house in Georgia to my childhood best friends house in South Carolina and we will see the last chapter in this rivalry and have these moments solidifying the fact that ND is the worst neighbor in the history of neighbors and know that our win will be a nice final twist of the knife in their jealousy of why we are better.


September 5th, 2014 at 12:17 PM ^

The games vs. the Irish at the Big House have been great in recent years -- and I'm happy to say I've attended all of them since 2003.

With the exception of a really hard-to-swallow loss to the Domers in 2005 -- damn, that was a tough year, wasn't it, fellas (remember OSU that year, too) -- it's been pretty good at the Big House in the past 10 years. Some epic beatdowns (2003, 2007), some instant classics that came right down to the wire (2009, 2011), and just a really, really fun game to watch in 2013.

I'll miss this series. Seriously.



September 5th, 2014 at 12:19 PM ^

Sad to see the rivalry go away. I think I've attended more Michigan - ND games than any other rival over the years I've been a fan. I remember many of them fondly, and am just sad.

Things change, but as you get older, you hate to see some of the traditions lost. I remember inwardly scoffing at some of the MIchigan alumni when a whippersnapper of a student (duded up in their maize and blue checked pants, vests, beanies, and the like.) Now, I am one of them (not the tacky clothes, but an alum in his 50's with many memories.)

ND for me has always been special, because ND is a school I "could" have gone to. It is in our footprint. I like their campus. I like many of the things they do. OSU and MSU will never be in that category. There's something about a rivalry, a competition, with a peer that is different. I can scoff at OSU, and their truckdriver and buckeye wearing idiot fans. I can smirk at MSU, their barns with cows, their "Staee" and "Moran" insults, their clown posse lunacy. They will always be little brother to me, even if I never verbalize it to one of them. ND is different, and the single rivalry that in many ways has meant the most to me. (Yes, OSU is the ultimate rivalry, but I don't respect OSU the same way.)

There are other schools like ND. Stanford would be one. Texas. Sometimes UCLA and Washington. Northwestern could be, but they always suck at football.

So in the end, I mourn the loss of these games, and they won't be filled by SEC home and homes for me.


September 5th, 2014 at 1:47 PM ^

Just great, competitive, dramatic games for years and years.

The two all-time winningest programs in CFB have so much in common and are a stone's throw from one another, and they are not going to play each other anymore. I still can't believe it, and I can't pretend I don't care about it. 

Michigan vs Notre Dame should be a part of every September, and it's a shame that after tomorrow it won't be.


September 5th, 2014 at 12:21 PM ^

I've enjoyed it. I've been to some meaningful ones and ones that were 38-0 (love ya jimmy) but it means a lot. Maybe I'm what's wrong because to me it's always like 1 vs. 2.


September 5th, 2014 at 12:22 PM ^

Well growing up just on the other side of the stateline in michigan 8 miles away from notre dame, you could probably imagine what it means to me. There is nothing to do in the town I live in, so whenever you need something you most likely drive to the south bend/mishawaka businesses. It's miserable. The news stations are all based out of the south bend area, so I get to hear them everyday talking up the damn irish after every win, claiming "This is the year!". Stores filled with mostly their merchandise. Fans... ohhh the amount of arogant, ignorant fans that are around me. I would say my city is about 60% ND, 30% UM, 10% MSU. It's been tough when we lose. It is all they talk about no matter what.. Even in 2007 in the wake of the HORROR, then our smackdown of them, they still talked trash.

A win tomorrow night would make this season perfect.


September 5th, 2014 at 12:33 PM ^

When in high school I have to hear the most idiotic arguments when ever they would lost to Michigan it would frustrate me to no end. Whenever ever they win we would be in the hallway of the high school and argue until the teachers would break us up. There has been a couple times that we started fighting during football practice. It was really brutal being the main Michigan spokesman for our team in our high school especially during the Rich Rod years. This game is the second most important game of the year and I wouldn't miss it for anything.


September 5th, 2014 at 12:27 PM ^

I'll always remember the multiple times Michigan has ripped their hearts out in recent years even when we don't seem to have a great team. Crazy things happen in this game. The 2006 destruction was one of of my favorite games. I know I'll never forget UTL I and II. I was fortunate enough to attend both, and they were truly electric games. It's too bad Notre Dame chickened out, but I also can't wait to see Michigan play some new teams.


September 5th, 2014 at 12:31 PM ^


MICHIGAN will END this series.  Let's bury them and never acknowledge them again.  NO MORE GAMES.  I honestly think ND and their fans don't know what is going to hit them tomorrow.

MICHIGAN is the Leaders and Best.  MICHIGAN is the Conquering Heroes.  MICHIGAN is the Champions of The West.   MICHIGAN is WORLDWIDE.

Where ever I go in the WORLD, I see MICHIGAN shirts and meet MICHIGAN people.  From London, to Germany, India and California.  MICHIGAN is there.

In CALIFORNIA, I once saw three kids at my kid's elementary school wearing MICHIGAN t-shirts.  NOT ND!

When the old season ends... it will be MICHIGAN once again.  MICHIGAN.



September 5th, 2014 at 12:42 PM ^

It will be missed. I loved having a rivalry game in the beginning of the season but we will move on to new matchups that we didn't really have room for in the past and wouldn't of in the future with the expanded conference play. 


September 5th, 2014 at 12:44 PM ^

sides.  In a way, I'm sad to see it end, because the memories from these games are so vivid and unbelievable.  What happened in each of the game RR coached were crazy, from the rain sloppy mess in SB to Tate and denard.  The last few yars have been fantastic as well.  I have been at many ND games in the Big House including thye Grbac-Desmond game, and bot UTLs.  We may never see drama like those again against such a hated rival, but I won't miss the tension when the game is out of reach.  Here's to playing some more playoff-relevant teams and hoping the ACC either swallows up ND or ND's decision to cut ties with the B1G destroys their national 'relevance', which I think they are destroying on their own.