You'd think people would be up in arms over the suspension of one of college football's more noteworthy rivalries. But after Michigan announced (actually, reiterated) that it would put its series with Notre Dame on hiatus in 2018 and 2019, the response was a little more pragmatic.
Dick Ketteman, the outgoing president of the U of M Club of Toledo and a 1958 Michigan graduate, doesn't see the break as a detriment. After Notre Dame and Michigan ended a two-year hiatus entering the 2002 season, Ketteman recalled a certain sense of anticipation leading up to the Notre Dame-Michigan tilt - a rivalry that, in this area, might be third to Michigan-Ohio State or Michigan-Michigan State.
"That doesn't take anything away from the regard, the respect and the intensity of the game," Ketteman said. "But just because [Michigan] has had a long-standing rivalry with Michigan State and Ohio State, and the fact that they're conference opponents, it puts a little greater importance and emphasis on those games but it doesn't take away the feelings, the fan involvement and the interest in games against Notre Dame."
Dan McKernan, a 1981 Notre Dame graduate who lives in Toledo, said that as an undergraduate in South Bend, a Michigan-Notre Dame ticket - either in Ann Arbor or South Bend - was one of the toughest tickets to obtain, given in part to the geographic proximity of the two schools.
"Notre Dame-USC is a big game, but it's such a far distance between the two schools," McKernan said. "If you're going to go to Michigan-Notre Dame, you've got to have a ticket."
It would be safe to assume that the Notre Dame-Michigan football hiatus has to do with the changing landscape of college football, between Tuesday's announcement that a college football playoff is imminent and the fact that conference affiliation seems to change on a weekly basis (here's looking at you, TCU and Boise State). Representatives from both Notre Dame and Michigan said Wednesday that wasn't the case - that an agreement to put the series on hiatus for two years and resume it in 2020 was made in 2007, when former Michigan athletic director Bill Martin and former Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White agreed to a 20-year series extention that began in 2011.
(An extension, mind you, that a Notre Dame administrator said might not even be on paper.)
Martin's successor, Dave Brandon, however, saw the opportunity not only to continue with tradition but to break from it, sticking with the clause that puts the series with the Irish on hiatus. Wednesday, Brandon didn't publicly let on to nonconference candidates for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, but anticipated that Michigan would schedule a nonconference home-and-home series for those two seasons.
A note or two about Michigan's home-and-home series for 2014-2015: Per the Deseret News, Michigan is only the second Big Ten team that will face Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Also, a Salt Lake City television outlet speculates that Utah's matchup with Michigan could mean the beginning of the end of the traditional in-state rivalry between Utah and BYU.
In regards to Colorado, which Michigan hosts in Ann Arbor on Sept. 17, 2016 ... you might remember one of those games when the Wolverines hosted the Buffs in Ann Arbor. Or you might not want to ...