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Irish-Spartans series will continue

May 16, 2013, 5:38 AM EDT

Megaphone Trophy Michigan State

It appears football life (almost) in the ACC is starting to come into scheduling focus, as news is starting to trickle out from Big Ten rivals about future dates. While the Michigan series is on hold (likely until 2020), Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis announced the future of the Irish-Spartans rivalry isn’t going anywhere.

At the Big Ten’s spring meetings, Hollis discussed the plans going forward in the battle for the Megaphone, and it looks as if there’s a creative solution for the long-running, if under-appreciated rivalry. The current agreement between the two programs runs through 2032, with four seasons on, two seasons off, the first break beginning in 2014.

As reported by the Detroit News, Hollis talked about the rivalry and how both schools plan on keeping it alive.

“We want to have the Irish on our schedule because of the rivalry,” Hollis told the Detroit News. “I was talking about the Big Ten being cool and hip and impressing the 14-year-olds at the same time as impressing the 60-year-olds. I think the Notre Dame game is a cool and hip game that builds off tradition and is one that is important to continue. I think we want them (on the schedule), but I’m not sure I would use the term ‘need them’ on the schedule.”

That’s not to say that both schools won’t have issues moving forward. With nonconference agreements set with Alabama, Oregon, Miami and Boise State, there’s not a lot of wiggle room in a schedule that’ll be moving to nine-conference games in 2016.

Still, in a series where the two teams have met 75 times and have played missed playing each other only four times since 1948, keeping the game alive is important to both schools.

“Wherever that ends will be in the best interest of Notre Dame and Michigan State,” Hollis told the Detroit News. “He’s gonna have some bumps in the road with the ACC integration and we obviously have some seasons where you want to make sure (you ensure) the sanity of the coach and the excitement of the fans and balance the home and away (schedule) and keep seven home games. As you go through all the variables you encounter a few seasons where everything doesn’t lineup and you have to make some adjustments.”


  1. stedward - May 16, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    I still think the long term solution is to average out the Big 10 rivalries so you have 2/3 every year. So you have 5 ACC games, the 2 Pac 12 rivals, Navy, 2 of the Big 10 rivals, and two flexible games with the interest of recruiting in the southwest and Texas. I would like to see continued scheduling of teams like Oklahoma, Texas and maybe a team we have some history with like LSU.

  2. dudeacow - May 16, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    “Cool” and “hip?” Cool people don’t say ‘hip.’ That’s like SO 2000s. It was a nice try, though.

    • bb90grad - May 16, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      Like I tell my 12 year old, if I’m saying it, the “cool” kids dropped it a long time ago…

  3. gtizzo - May 16, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    These Big Ten teams need to wake up. Doing the “Home and Home” thing means you get on National TV every other year. Since Michigan doesn’t do visits for the kids they are recruiting they could at least let them watch them on TV. Purdue would certainly benefit from playing ND every year since I have no clue when they get on National TV otherwise. Michigan State has been dominated by ND the past two games and they seem to be the smartest of the bunch. It means National exposure which never hurts on the recruiting trail.

  4. goirishgo - May 16, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    This issue roils me in the same manner as Tommy Rees does Nude.

    I know the ND-MSU rivalry is long-running with significant history. However, over the last 30 years the UM games have been far more impactful in nationally, much more influential with recruits, and have generated much more positive awareness of the ND brand. I live in the NYC area and casual fans watch the ND-UM game. They MSU game? The same fans don’t even know it’s being played.

    Additionally, the missions and academic reputations of the two Michigan schools are a Grand Canyon apart. Michigan is clearly the better institution with several colleges among the best in the U.S. while MSU plods along as the Florida State of B1G country.

    As gtizzo mentions, ND’s B1G rivals get significant bang for playing the Irish. IMO it’s time for ND to start thinking about which of the B1G rivals best returns the favor. Not much of a debate there.

    Perhaps there are some behind-the-scenes workings of which I am not aware. If so, please educate me. If not, I’ll keep mumbling to myself and posting different versions of the same thoughts every time there’s an article on the two rivalries.

    I know 1966 was a great game but, man, it’s time to move on. Sorry for the diatribe. I’m sure it won’t be my last.

    • papadec - May 16, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      goirish – I, for one, have more animosity toward MSU than UM. That’s based on the post ’66 game comments & flag planting of a few years ago. I don’t care about the academics of either MSU or UM. The only Grand Canyon difference I see between the two is the AD/coaching demeanor – Mr Hollis is looking to the future & trying to figure out how to make things work with his conference & ND. His counterparts @ UM seem to have their heads up their butts.

  5. 25kgold - May 17, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    It just struck me that the only two major catholic programs now belong to the ACC; strange… Oh well, hopefully it’ll heat up the rivalry we have with BC! I just don’t hate BC as much as I do Michigan though.

  6. norcalirish - May 17, 2013 at 6:31 AM

    I HATE msu.


  7. nchdomer - May 18, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    There was a great post on the comments to the Brady Hoke comment about ND cancelling two games. It directed you to an article about the history of the ND v Michigan rivalry, one that has been played mostly off the field of play. One point missing from the article, which spoke to the efforts of Fielding Yost to have other Big Ten (then the Western Conference) members not play ND, was a discussion of the schools that resisted Yost and gained his ire by playing the Irish. One of those schools was MSU. Yes, their fans can be over the top and unpleasant sometimes, but it is a good school and I have always considered them number 2 on our rivalry list (USC, of course, being no. 1). And despite what some might think, the Spartans were loyal to ND and gave it games when it was being rejected by others. Though not the same, there are parallels between Navy and MSU in regards to their relationships with the Irish.

    Also, there are those ND alums, like me, who have children that attended MSU. This gives a person a more balanced approach to sports rivalries and reminds one that at the end of the day, these are universities that try to educate their students for what lies ahead in the real world job market. There are only a handful of football Saturdays. Those should not be taken out of context to define the merit of a college. And for perspective on this I always think back to the time I took my family to an ND v Navy game. My children’s grandparents came with to see ND for the first time and wore Navy sweatshirts because my wife’s father served in the South Pacific in WW II. The rest of us (6) wore ND clothing. We arrived very early and parked near the old University Club on ND Avenue. Very few cars were around us and virtually no one was tailgating yet. When we returned to the car after a wonderful day, we saw NAVY S*CKS written in wax all over the car. I was thankful that I could remove the vandalism with a few car washes but was angry and mortified by the behavior of ND fans (who only noticed the Navy gear on two 70+ year old people). The point being that all schools have fans that are jerks. One cannot define a university by the quality of their fans on gameday. Even our fans disappoint sometimes.

  8. mtheparrothead - May 18, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Plus, nd holds a losing record all time to uM. So of course the Irish cancel it

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