For the first time since 2014, a rivalry featuring two of the greatest programs in college football history will renew. It’s one of the top games to kickoff the season and it definitely has the people in the host town already fired up.
When No. 12 Notre Dame hosts No. 14 Michigan on Saturday, a three-year rivalry hiatus will officially be over and all eyes will be on Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana.
If you are going to the game, however, something will be different downtown.
Not only will the city turn the river lights green, signaling another start to the Notre Dame football season, but they have also temporarily renamed Michigan Street downtown to Fighting Irish Drive.
This is a fitting addition to the rival, which ended in rather salty fashion nearly four years ago.
After Notre Dame announced it would exercise its option to end the rivalry in 2012, and after former Wolverines coach Brady Hoke said the Fighting Irish were “chickening out,” Michigan Stadium blared “The Chicken Dance” when the Wolverines beat the Fighting Irish 41-30 at the Big House in 2013.
Then, the following season — the last game in what was a 42-game rivalry between the Big Ten Conference power and independent juggernaut — the Fighting Irish faithful chanted “na na na na… na na na na… hey, hey, hey… goodbye” following a 37-0 victory over the Wolverines.
Michigan leads the all-time series 24-16-1, but the rivalry was close in the 13-year run from 2002-14, with the Wolverines winning seven games to Notre Dame’s six.
It’s great to have college football back and these two teams going at it again.
“The last time we played Michigan was 2014, I had to find a way to watch the game at a ridiculous hour. I think it was 2:00 in the morning in Kabul, which took a lot of effort,” South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg told WNDU. It’s going to be a lot easier this time now that I’m in South Bend and so is the game.”
Life just wasn’t quite the same without it.