Brady Hoke says Notre Dame is 'chickening out' of Michigan series

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

Alabama and Virginia Tech will play for the
Brady Hoke seems to think Notre Dame is scared of Michigan. (USATSI)

Shortly after it was announced that Notre Dame would be partially joining the ACC in college football, playing five games against ACC opponents annually, it was also announced that the current series between Michigan and Notre Dame would be coming to an end following the 2014 season.

It was a decision that Michigan coach Brady Hoke does not seem too fond of. When speaking to a crowd in Grand Rapids, Mich., over the weekend, Hoke talked about the great rivalries that Michigan has. And when it came to its rivalry with Notre Dame, Hoke couldn't resist the urge to take a shot at his soon-to-be former rival.

"We are fortunate to have unbelievable rivalry games at Michigan," said Hoke. "The Notre Dame game, that rivalry, which they're chickening out of. They're still going to play Michigan State, they're going to play Purdue, but they don't want to play Michigan. I don't know how they made that decision."

How do you really feel, Brady?

It certainly is an unfortunate byproduct of the recent movement in college football, as many rivalries have suffered because of realignment. However, when it comes to why Notre Dame made the decision to back out of the Michigan series and keep Purdue and Michigan State, I don't think it's nearly as difficult to figure out if Hoke really wanted to.

The fact of the matter is that while Michigan and Notre Dame might be the more appealing of the three rivalries, the Irish and Wolverines have only played 39 games against each another since their first meeting in 1887. That's 39 games in 126 years, or one game per 3.23 years.

Meanwhile Notre Dame has played Michigan State 75 times since 1897 (one game every 1.55 years) and Purdue 83 times since 1896 (one game per 1.41 years). So while the rivalry between Michigan and Notre Dame might have had more significance on the field in recent decades -- the two schools didn't play 1944-77 -- the fact is Notre Dame has a longer history with Purdue and Michigan State.

So when it came to choosing which series got the axe, the Irish chose the one with the least amount of history.

Though I suppose the fact that Michigan is the only school of those three that the Irish have a losing record against (15-23-1) didn't hurt, either.

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