ANN ARBOR - Don't ask Desmond Howard to strike "The Pose."
His colleagues at ESPN's College GameDay insist he won't oblige.
But during media availability Friday at the Michigan League, Michigan's 1991 Heisman Trophy winner voiced his opinion on Michigan's rivalries and how he ranks them:
1. Ohio State
2. Notre Dame
3. Michigan State
Howard has his own logic on his rivalry rankings:
"It's an in-state rivalry, and no disrespect to Michigan State, but they don't have that national appeal that Notre Dame has," said Howard, who is an analyst for ESPN's College GameDay, which makes an appearance this weekend at Michigan. "I don't think anybody's fooled by that. They have a fantastic program but nationally, they ain't Notre Dame. Nationally, they ain't Ohio State. You get it? You measure yourself nationally when you go up against a Notre Dame, an Ohio State."
What, in Howard's opinion, made Michigan-Notre Dame the rivarly it is today?
"Whatever it is, it's far beyond my years on this planet," Howard said. "It's the coaches, the teams ... to me, what makes it a rivalry, a historic rivalry, is the coaches, the players who play in it and the outcomes. When you have instant classics and things of that nature, and a team that knocks off another team and can't wait to play them that next year, it kind of builds up that whole rivalry narrative. It started in 1887, and it was a lull, but you have two traditional rivalries going up against each other.
"You ask anyone who covers college football, Michigan-Notre Dame is just great for college football, period. Not just for both programs. People who are not affiliated with either fan base, who just love to see that game, because they love college football rivlaries."