It was bound to happen, sooner or later. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish, now partial members of the ACC, had to free up some schedule space. The University of Michigan became that first casualty this week. One of the great rivalries in college football has been tabled for a few years. It isn't dead, just put on hold...for now.
When you combine Notre Dame's new commitments, which supposedly includes playing in upwards of 5 ACC opponents per season, room needed to be made...Michigan was that room. The Irish play, or have played, North Carolina, Boston College, Miami, Duke, and Wake Forest in recent years on the football field, so ACC opponents are nothing completely new. But 5 a year means making space to protect rivalries with USC and Navy, as well as possibly Michigan State and Purdue.
Another part of it, in my opinion, was making the schedule a bit easier annually for ND. The Irish have the toughest schedule in the country, according to Football prognosticating machine, Phil Steele. Michigan isn't now, but will be, a tough win year after year. Brian Kelly is trying to win a National Title after all, why make it so hard? The most important thing is to go undefeated, so put your team in a position to do so.
It takes away from college football when these types of rivalries go away, even on the short term. Our out of conference schedule is usually pretty weak, and this makes it weaker. Michigan will find another opponent, so will the Domers, but they will never find an opponent quite like each other.