May 19, 2014 03:51 PM EDT
Notre Dame Football Schedule Rumors: Brian Kelly Wants to Maintain Michigan, Michigan State Rivalries
Brian Kelly, and likely the rest of the Notre Dame community, would like to see the Fighting Irish play the Michigan Wolverines beyond the foreseeable future.
The Notre Dame head football coach told ESPN from a school golf event in Olympia Fields, Ill. he also wants to see his team play the Michigan State Spartans as well. Beyond this football season, Notre Dame and Michigan do not have a scheduled game, but they have played annually since 2002. This year, they will meet in South Bend, Ind. on Saturday, Sept. 6.
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"We would like to play Michigan and Michigan State again," Kelly said.
For the first time since 1997, when the two teams began playing annually, Michigan State and Notre Dame are not scheduled to face off. The rivalry is set to resume in 2016 and 2017, however. Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis also reportedly told the football team's beat reporters the Spartans are working on scheduling games against Notre Dame in 2023, 2026 and 2027.
Notre Dame and Michigan have played often since 1978 and annually since 2002, but they do not have a game scheduled beyond this season. Michigan belongs to the Big Ten conference, as does Michigan State, but Notre Dame is independent of any conference.
Kelly indicated he believes Michigan and Notre Dame will work out an agreement to continue the two teams' rivalry matchup.
"When [athletic director Jack Swarbrick] and I sit down and we start discussing 'what do you want to do?' we don't start or end that without having Michigan or Michigan State part of that conversation, and there's an SEC school involved in that conversation, as well," Kelly said. "I can assure you that Michigan, Michigan State and an SEC school is involved in those conversations. How that pans out, I'm telling you, it's a very complicated deal."
Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke told a crowd of Wolverines fans last May Notre Dame was "chickening out" of the rivalry. Michigan athletic director confirmed to ESPN Notre Dame has not brought up a conversation about scheduling games in 2015 and beyond.
He said at the annual Big Ten meeting the Wolverines and Fighting Irish may not play again until 2020 or 2021. Notre Dame now has a scheduling agreement with the ACC, but also scheduled games with Arkansas, of the SEC, in 2018 and 2019.