Linked history preserves a rivalry

Michigan's 1893 team, coached by Charles Baird (third row, third from left), included Notre Dame's first coach, J.L. Morrison (top row, fifth from left). Courtesy of Bentley Historical Library

Whether Notre Dame is chickening out or selling out for bigger and better; whether Michigan is sore for losing its third-biggest rivalry or sore that it's getting burned by an old foe, one thing is true: This game does matter.

This is Notre Dame, shrouded in its Touchdown Jesus and golden dome, against the University of Michigan and its liberal ways, its hash bash and its boldness. It's good versus evil, and the line could be drawn so many different ways.

It's Bo Schembechler deciding to kick to Raghib "Rocket" Ismail. It's Fielding H. Yost accusing Knute Rockne of using ineligible players. It's last-second touchdowns followed up by six-turnover games. It's a profound respect coupled with severe hatred.

These are two teams so deeply intertwined that even if they never play again inside Michigan Stadium after Saturday it will be one of the biggest rivalries college football has ever seen.

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