Friday, July 8, 2016

Meant to be

So, this is good, right? This is two football programs that never should have parted company realizing that they're better together.

Why Notre Dame and Michigan decided to again discontinue their on-again, off-again rivalry a few years back made little sense when it happened, and it makes even less sense now, with both deciding to resume hostilities in 2018. Something about ND having to move some people off their schedule so they could slot in more ACC games, even though they're not theoretically (wink-wink) an ACC school in football. Theoretically. Wink-wink.

In any case, Michigan was shown the door. Michigan's coach at the time, Brady Hoke, said the Irish sounded like a flock of clucking chickens to him. And all of it fit the established template of this odd relationship, which goes back to the days of Knute Rockne and Fielding Yost and includes a lot of playground-y he-said/he-said tiffs over the decades since.

Eventually, one or the other would go off in a snit, even when they pretended publicly it wasn't a snit. Mad? No, we're not mad. We just need to add more ACC games. Or, Mad? No, we're not mad. We just can't fit this game into our schedule right now.

And all along, wiser heads would wag sorrowfully and add their own refrain: What are they, dopes? Notre Dame without Michigan is a diminished Notre Dame. And vice-versa. How can they not see that?

Well. Turns out they can.

And so they will resume playing one another, and hallelujah for that, because college football is its traditional rivalries, and every one restored or extended advances the game. The game's foundation is not and never has been the Rental Car/Chicken Sandwich Bowl, nor Michigan vs. Rutgers. It's Michigan-Notre Dame, and Notre Dame-USC, and Michigan-Ohio State. It's Army playing Navy in early December, and Auburn playing Alabama in November, and Texas playing Oklahoma in the full flower of October.

So, good for the Wolverines and the Irish. And you don't have to belong to either camp to applaud this.

You just have to belong to the college football camp.

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