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Jeff Riger: The Michigan-Notre Dame Game Will Be Missed

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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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Jeff Riger, has often been asked, "Why are you like this?" Simply ...
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By: Jeff Riger
@riger1984

For as long as I can remember the Michigan-Notre Dame game has been special. It’s been one of my favorites. You see, the Irish are so easy to despise and for that reason alone I’m going to be sad to see it go.

Earlier in the week, Notre Dame Head coach Brian Kelly downplayed the rivalry between the Wolverines and the Irish. “I really haven’t seen it as one of those historic Notre Dame rivalries” Kelly said. “I’ve seen it as just one of those great football games that Notre Dame has played.”

Of course the next day Kelly backtracked from the above quote at his press conference in an effort to talk football and not create anymore controversy.

It didn’t work!

For the last week people have been debating if this game is a rivalry and if it will be missed? Saturday marks the last time that Notre Dame and Michigan will play at Michigan stadium and the second to last time that both schools will play for quite some time.

The Irish want nothing to do with Michigan anymore so I assume we may never see this game again unless it is in a bowl setting and that really bums me out.

This blog is not to try and prove that Michigan-Notre Dame is a rivalry nor is it to try to establish what games are the most important to the Maize and Blue. Instead this is essentially a eulogy to one of my all time favorites.

No matter how you feel about the Michigan-Notre Dame matchup, you can’t forget how great some of the games have been. From Desmond Howard making an unbelievable catch from Elvis Grbac to Tate Forcier beating the Irish in the weaning moments, most of these games have been memorable and being between the two winningest programs in college football doesn’t hurt either.

My little brother Eric is a huge Notre Dame fan and I have no idea how it happened. How does a Jewish kid from Metro Detroit decide that he wants to root for Touchdown Jesus, the Golden Dome and that selfish whiner Rudy?

It’s pathetic, right?

I got to believe that Eric wanted to rebel and since my older brother and I loved Michigan, he figured he would choose ND not only to be different but to disgust us as well and it worked. He also rooted for Larry Bird so that probably tells you all you need to know about my brother.

Over the years Eric got really into ND football, so much that when his alma mater Western Michigan recently played the Irish he was pulling for that stupid green Leprechaun and not the Broncos. Who the hell does that?

When ND went to the national title game last year and got destroyed by Alabama, Eric was demoralized. I didn’t hear from him for weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the beat down but I did feel a little sympathy for my bro. He’ll, who am I kidding, no I didn’t!

So every year when this game is played, it means more to me than just a big Michigan game. If the Wolverines lose I have to hear about it forever and if they win my brother will not answer his phone for weeks. There is always a lot riding on this game, which is probably the reason that its one of my favorites. I always look forward to Michigan having a chance to ruin little bro’s day and week. It makes me feel good!

You never want your little brother to win and Michigan-Notre Dame is just another example of that for me.

So people can argue all they want about if both these schools consider each other their rivals, but for me it definitely a rivalry, a rivalry with my little brother that I hate losing!

Man, I’m going to miss this game when it’s gone but until it is I got some s&@t talking to do. Quick, anybody know a good Tommy Rees joke? I wish Charlie Weiss was back, he was always so easy to make fun of.

Enjoy Saturday everybody, I will and hope my brother will not!

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