Wake Up the Echoes

Photo Source: AnnArbor.com 

I'm not one for eloquent writing...actually, more the opposite. But what I saw on Saturday...actually on Sunday night because I was out of town all weekend for a wedding, was nothing short of simply amazing.

News sites, television, blogs...everyone has been going crazy about how awesome it was to beat Notre Dame. And this site will be no different. But instead of just diving right into how we won and what I think was good/bad, let me just say that if Western Michigan was a good win for Michigan...this win was a landmark. It clearly defines the rest of this season. It defines why Michigan hired Rich Rodriguez. Why he stood in front of the bright lights in the press room on August 30th and let each and every one of us know just how he felt about Michigan football.

The Notre Dame rivalry is a very unique one for Michigan. We have so many great rivals. Obviously tOSU, but also little brother in East Lansing, the Gophers in Minnesota with the oldest trophy in college football, relative newcomers in Penn State...hell you could even make an argument for some non-conference foes such as often Rose Bowl contender USC. But Notre Dame is important. Not just because we stand 1st and 2nd in all-time winning percentage, but because our histories are so similar. We have the legendary coaches, the great players, the multiple championships that college football fans everywhere argue are outdated and meaningless.

But when Michigan and Notre Dame step on the field together, it means something. It means that when you get a game like the one in Ann Arbor on September 12, 2009...that all is right with the world. It is as if this rivalry is meant only to keep the college football Gods happy. Somewhere Fielding Yost and Knute Rockne and all of the ghosts of these two strong and proud programs are engaged in this battle that plays out on the fields each and every fall.

The history, the bands, the fans, the cheerleaders...all of the tradition that is everywhere you look...everything that the teams and coaches do on this day means something. Nothing is done without purpose. It is only done because that's the way these things have been done in this rivalry since its first game in 1887. In the beginning, Michigan won the first 8 meetings against the Irish. In 1909...one hundred years ago...Notre Dame won it's first game against us.

In 1887, Notre Dame began it's football program. It called upon Michigan's players to come to South Bend and teach the game to them. In the early days, Michigan and Notre Dame were not rivals. For the first few seasons, Notre Dame's football program operated under the guidance of The University of Michigan.

There were a couple hiatuses in the rivalry, but it has been going strong for the past 31 years. If you think back over that time, can you honestly say that this year's contest does not belong among those great games? Most moaned and whined when Michigan and Notre Dame signed their 20-year contract extension in 2007, which was to end in 2012...now will continue to 2031. Sure, some of those games will be less than exciting...but if we sprinkle in a few like the one from last weekend, then this blogger will sing the praises of the respective athletic directors.

Coming up, we'll take a closer look at the game and what I liked, and didn't like. Here's a preview: I liked a lot, and didn't like very little.

4 comments

  1. Well put - an epic game to say the least! Forcier dominated under extreme pressure and Rich Rod showed the world why he deserves to lead this Michigan team.

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  2. WOW! Great take....WELL WRITTEN!

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