Notre Dame vs. Michigan: Classic rivalry or just another game? - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Notre Dame vs. Michigan: Classic rivalry or just another game?

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First Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly called the Notre Dame game against Michigan a "big regional game" and debated the historical relevance of the game. However, in his Tuesday press conference he changed his tune.

"It's a great and historic rivalry," said Kelly.  "We're excited about this game."

Faithful fans say it was a good move from the Notre Dame Head Coach, because they have been cheering for either the Maize and Blue or Blue and Gold since the late 1800s. It's one of the games they look forward to every year. Especially in Michiana were there are plenty of fans for both teams.

"Maybe it's regional because of geography, but its a game on the national stage every year," said Notre Dame fan David Kenney.

The back and forth between the head coaches at each school these past few months has created quite the topic for media pundits. Back in May, Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke said the Irish were "chickening out" of the rivalry when Notre Dame decided not to put the series on hiatus starting in 2015.

Hoke was asked about the rivalry Monday and maintained it's national importance.

"Coaching in a lot of places, and maybe it's just me, but I know that whenever Michigan and Notre Dame was on TV, I was going to be watching it," said Hoke. "I know people in Corvallis, Ore., were going to be watching it -- for one reason or another."

The rivalry dates back to the late 1800's when the University of Michigan actually taught Notre Dame how to play football. Since then the school's have played each other 40 times, with Michigan holding the series advantage 23-16-1.

The last four meetings between the teams have been rather close. The winner of each game has only walked away winning by an average of 4.75 points. The Irish won last year's game 13-6 at Notre Dame Stadium.

"It's always generally a good game," said Michigan fan Tom Gabler. "A very competitive game."

This year's game will be played at the University of Michigan. Since 1990, Notre Dame is just 2-8 when playing at Ann Arbor.

The trip to Ann Arbor could be the last for the Irish for awhile. Notre Dame won't be able to put them back on until at least 2020. Fans are hopeful that's exactly what will happen.

"I want to see it back. I'll always be a Notre Dame fan, so I'll just be waiting [for the next game in at Michigan]," said Haven Russell, a Notre Dame fan.

This could be the last big game in the big house between the Irish and Wolverines, so fans say it's even more important for their favorite team to win.

"We're (Notre Dame) stopping the rivalry, so we better go win," said Kenney.

The 2015 season will not be the first time the series has taken a break. There have been a few times when the two schools have not played each other for stretches of at least 30 years.

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