A few years ago, Michigan and Notre Dame announced a 20-year extension of their rivalry. The extension had the two teams set to play every single year, but when Dave Brandon took over as Michigan's athletic director, he said no contract was in place to make it official. As a result, Michigan and Notre Dame announced a two-year break from the rivalry in 2018 and 2019, allowing the Wolverines the flexibility to play a home-and-home series with a big-name opponent.â†µ
Although the two-year break from this rivalry wasn't expected to happen until later in the decade, recent comments by Brandon make it sound like that break could be coming sooner rather than later.â†µ
“We're definitely playing them this year," Brandon said. "We're definitely playing a night game (at Michigan Stadium) next year. We'll play them in 2012. That's kind of all set. As it relates to the out years, we're going to take a deep breath and see. One of the things we may decide to do is take a hiatus for a couple years and give both teams a chance to play somebody else on a home and home basis."â†µ
It is expected that the Big Ten schedule will expand to nine games starting in 2015, so with one less chance to play a team out of conference, Michigan may be thinking that if a major home-and-home series is going to happen, it will have to be done in 2013 and 2014. Once the Big Ten schedule expands, there will be less flexibility to accommodate a home-and-home series with a team like Alabama or USC or Texas. Keeping that in mind, it may be very wise to take a break from the Notre Dame series in a few years rather than not until 2018.