Michigan announced several future football matchups on Wednesday, and it also discreetly announced that its annual series with Notre Dame will be taking a break in 2018 and 2019. Included in the release about Michigan's future non-conference schedules is this blurb about the Notre Dame series:
In addition, Michigan and Notre Dame will take a two-year hiatus in their long-standing rivalry during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Both schools intend to resume the rivalry in the years following.
There has been talk of Michigan and Notre Dame taking a break from their rivalry for quite some time now. It just was never clear when the two teams would take a couple years off, but we now know that the hiatus will happen in 2018 and 2019. After that, as the quote above states, the rivalry is expected to resume.
By taking a break from playing Notre Dame, Michigan will have the flexibility to schedule a home-and-home series with another big-time college football program. By the time this happens, the scheduling pact between the Big Ten and Pac-12 will have begun, and dropping Notre Dame for a couple years will allow Michigan to schedule a series outside of its annual Pac-12 game.
In 2014 and 2015, as well as 2020 and 2021, Michigan State and Notre Dame are scheduled to take a similar break from their rivalry. In 2014 and 2015, Michigan State will play a home-and-home series against Oregon, and the Spartans will take on Miami (Florida) in a home-and-home series in 2020 and 2021.