UM-Irish series revival ‘moving toward a conclusion’

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan and Notre Dame last played one another in 2014. The series could return as soon as 2018.

Detroit — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Michigan and Notre Dame “mutually got the ball rolling” to revive the series, and it could be back on the college football schedule as a home-and-home series as early as 2018.

The teams last played in South Bend in 2014.

“It’s moving along toward a conclusion,” Harbaugh said Friday at the Sound Mind Sound Body Academy at Wayne State, adding there have been discussions the past year to restore the rivalry.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, also at SMSB on Friday, said the series is an important one.

“The classic rivalries in college football are so much about rivalries geographically,” he said. “The Power Five has had the tendency to pull some of those apart. Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State are some of those classic rivalries we all remember. I certainly did growing up. We’re going to try hard to get those back together.”

Harbaugh was asked if the series is meaningful to him. He was 2-0 against the Fighting Irish as a Michigan quarterback in 1985 and 1986.

“Oh, absolutely. To all of college football,” Harbaugh said. “We’re so close (geographically). It’s very meaningful.”

What would be likely is a schedule rotation that has Michigan-Notre Dame playing two years and taking two years off.

“Ideally, if we’re just taking a step back and looking at it, we don’t want a gap,” Kelly said, shortly before delivering the final remarks to the SMSB participants. “It doesn’t make sense to have a huge gap. There were other factors that forced that gap, that was the impending move to the ACC, the uncertainty of what the landscape of college football looked like and two ADs that were not on the same page. That has all changed. We have a stabler ground. We have two coaches who want to play. I think we’re moving more toward something that makes sense.

“We want to play.”

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