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Michigan State-Notre Dame working to revive rivalry

May 14, 2014, 6:28 PM EST

Kelly Dantonio

While it hasn’t gotten the headlines of the rivalry between the Irish and the Wolverines, Notre Dame’s long-running series with Michigan State has also become part of the collateral damage from conference expansion. With Notre Dame committed to playing five ACC opponents a season and the Spartans dealing with a new nine-game conference commitment, finding a way to renew the series has been on both athletic departments’ priority list.

With news coming out of Rosemont, Illinois as the Big Ten holds spring meetings, it appears the hope for renewing the rivalry isn’t dead, though an annual game for the megaphone trophy isn’t possible anymore.

“It’s gone,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told Matt Charboneau of the Detroit News at the Big Ten’s spring meetings. “We have situations where we can’t play them, they have situations where they can’t play us, and it’s just kind of the roadkill of conference expansion that’s created these close rivalries to … we both want to play each other; we just can’t.”

The teams are set to play in 2016 and 2017. And while a handshake agreement has both schools trading home games sometime in the 20s, a neutral site game at a still to be determined location is lined up for 2023. Hollis seemed to point at Chicago as a logical venue for the two Midwestern programs to meet.

“Logically, it would be Midwest,” Hollis said. “Notre Dame and Michigan State have a reputation for taking games to national and global locations. So I think anywhere on the planet is probably in play. But a Notre Dame-Michigan State series in Chicago would be a very attractive location and you could kind of take, it’s not a game on campus but it’s very close to the alumni and fan bases. That’s not an announcement, it’s just a thought process.”

 

  1. 25kgold - May 14, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    Tommy Rees to the Washington Redskins! Congratulations

    • sjb198 - May 15, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      A Tommy Rees comment? Really?? wtf?

    • mtndguy - May 20, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      I love it.

    • mtndguy - May 20, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      Oops, already released. Oh well.

  2. papadec - May 14, 2014 at 7:33 PM

    The attitude & maturity, expressed by MSU, in trying to find a way to keep the rivalry alive is certainly an improvement over the um response & behavior. How refreshing.

    • notredameirish1980 - May 15, 2014 at 5:58 AM

      UM is an odd combination of over-reaching arrogance combined with the ‘Walmart Wolverine’ mentality. Brady Hoke fits right in from the later perspective, and having heard Dave Brandon speak I see him fitting the first category nicely. I will not miss being rid of them. Of course, MSU has had their moments such as the flag planting incident, but I think that lack of oversight and character left with John L. Smith. Let’s hope they can keep the rivalry going.

      • wisner74 - May 15, 2014 at 6:36 PM

        papadec – Amen, Brother!

      • 1historian - May 16, 2014 at 9:17 AM

        The flag planting incident – let’s get over it. It was probably a spur of the moment decision and I would wager that there are MSU fans reading this who are laughing at us, as in “They STILL haven’t gotten over it?”

        They haven’t gotten over our winning the NC in 1966 – which is worse?

    • ndgoldandblue - May 15, 2014 at 9:09 AM

      True, but I’ll never forget the flag-planting crap the Spartan players pulled in ’05. But I’m the kind of person that still harbors things that happened when I was in elementary school, so…

  3. irishdog80 - May 15, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    I hope Michigan State fans think of the “Flag planting” whenever they think about what might have been last year for Michigan State. That one loss to ND is their only blemish and I truly hope Michigan State never beats us again. That Flag Planting episode makes me mad whenever I even think of it. That said, I agree that it was a reflection of crazy John L. Smith at the helm.

    The playing of the “Chicken Dance” at Michigan last year is cut from the same cloth as the Flag Planting and reflects Hoke and Brandon’s leadership. The Chicken Dance should be played at every practice leading up to the Michigan game…I’m mad and ready to beat Michigan by myself even thinking about it…as motivation. Nothing would be better than hanging a 38-3 defeat on Michigan or something similarly humiliating. At the end of the game, our response to the Chicken Dance played in Ann Arbor should only be the loudest playing and singing of the Notre Dame Victory March that the stadium has ever heard. Completely classless by Michigan to play the Chicken Dance.

    I hope we find a way to continue to play Purdue and Michigan State…true rivals and class programs. Why isn’t the national media all over the fact that we don’t play MSU and Purde, let alone Michigan, in 2015? I wonder why the broadcaster of last year’s game…ESPN…isn’t talking about that piece of information at all.

    • papadec - May 15, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      dog80 -wait until the season starts & the “espn know-it-alls” get warmed up & start blaming ND for the ACC scheduling problems, and who ND has dropped in favor of which teams they added (UMASS & Temple) in 2015.

      • irishdog80 - May 15, 2014 at 5:50 PM

        On one of the local sports radio shows in my area, the lunchtime guy is a Syracuse grad. He was complaining about Notre Dame and the Big East and predicted similar problems for the ACC.

        I have never understood the blame that ND gets for the demise of the Big East. Nobody ever complained about Marquette, Georgetown, St. Johns, etc only being non-football sports members. Yes, I understand that ND football would have added luster to the Big East and probably kept it viable, but is that our fault? We still played at least 3 games a year against Big East foes and were a solid member for all the other sports. The real demise of the Big East were the early moves by Boston College and Miami to the ACC followed by Syracuse and others. The Big East existed without Notre Dame and its failure does not rest with ND. That said, I agree, we will still get the blame for any problems the ACC has.

    • 1historian - May 16, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      MSU is MUCH more important than UM. The flag incident? I remember that one.

      I also remember the game at ND in 1961. 2 MSU D linemen sacked the ND QB and then they shook hands over the prone figure of the ND QB.

      We went NUTS.

      Good memory. Anyone out there remember that?

      • onward2victory - May 17, 2014 at 2:00 AM

        I wasn’t born. That’s why you’re the historian!

      • 1historian - May 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        Onward – thanks for the laugh!!

        104 and a wakeup!!

  4. cfballfan1 - May 15, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    I’m glad to see most Irish fans recognize that the moronic behavior like the flag – planting left East Lansing with crazy ol’ John L. The program under Dantonio is all class, and this is one Spartan who hopes we can play ND in the future. Those games have had their share of controversies but have always had plenty of excitement too.

    • ndgoldandblue - May 15, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      I will agree, since that incident, it’s been nothing but class coming from Sparty, so I hope both sides keep up the rivalry as well.

  5. rocket1988 - May 15, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Living here in Michigan I can tell you first hand that both msu & UofM alums tend to be level headed. The Walmart Spartans & Wolverines are beyond insufferable. We don’t need either on the sched. They do us no good in recruiting or for national exposure. I’ll miss driving 25 minutes to see ND play in east lansing, but I’ll accept a game from Sec or ACC at ND in November. This should be a wake up call for the big ten

  6. rocket1988 - May 15, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    And another thing, anybody think this gets us Georgia in 2018 & 19? Athens GA > East lansing.

  7. onward2victory - May 15, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    I think Irish fans have more respect for MSU than we do for UM because the Spartans have earned their victories over us (I’m mainly referring to the last 10-15 years). Michigan however, has seemed to get crazy lucky in the 4th quarter or their QB has had the best game ever against us (Forcier, Denard, Garner). Plus Michigan just sucks all around, but I like and respect Sparty.

  8. irishdog80 - May 15, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    On one of the local sports radio shows in my area, the lunchtime guy is a Syracuse grad. He was complaining about Notre Dame and the Big East and predicted similar problems for the ACC.

    I have never understood the blame that ND gets for the demise of the Big East. Nobody ever complained about Marquette, Georgetown, St. Johns, etc only being non-football sports members. Yes, I understand that ND football would have added luster to the Big East and probably kept it viable, but is that our fault? We still played at least 3 games a year against Big East foes and were a solid member for all the other sports. The real demise of the Big East were the early moves by Boston College and Miami to the ACC followed by Syracuse and others. The Big East existed without Notre Dame and its failure does not rest with ND. That said, I agree, we will still get the blame for any problems the ACC has.

  9. 1historian - May 16, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    The flag planting incident – what, pray tell, is the big deal?

    If the shoe were on the other foot – if WE had done it instead of MSU – we would laugh our butts off every time it’s brought up, as MSU fans are laughing at us right now.

    Get over it.

    • irishdog80 - May 16, 2014 at 1:12 PM

      College football has more parity than it ever has. The days of stockpiling talent, better weight training and nutrition, and more dollars to scout talent than the other guys are long gone. Every school…and most high schools for that matter…have ready access to the latest trends and equipment necessary to build a competitive program.

      So what makes the difference when you get to relative parity on the talent and coaching front…Emotion. I want teams to fear coming into Notre Dame Stadium. It is our turf and no one can stake a claim to it except for ND. MSU stuck a flag in our field and claimed it as their own…I was infuriated by the idea of it on many levels. It reflected how low ND football had sunk at that time, the placidness of the ND home crowd and how brazen and confident our opponents had become. If the “flag planting” incident gets the faithful and the players blood boiling enough to want to tear apart Michigan State every time we play, then I am all for a “Remember the Flag Planting” yell every time they are on our schedule.

      • blackirish23 - May 16, 2014 at 5:33 PM

        Just remember what we did to MSU the following year ON THE FIELD. One of the greatest comebacks on the road in ND history, and started the demise of John L. Smith. That is a far fonder memory and the best payback for the “flag planting” than any ranting or raving can ever accomplish!

        P.S. Look up John L. Smith slapping himself across the face in his post game press conference. Priceless!!

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