Michigan vs. Notre Dame: How Rivalry Matchup Will Shake Up the Top Ten

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines scores a forth quarter touchdown while playing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Michigan Stadium on September 10, 2010 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 35-31.(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines primetime clash with the Norte Dame Fighting Irish will cause a dramatic shift in the top ten. 

Both teams remain fixtures in the national spotlight; their matchup now has meaning in the AP poll.

QB Everett Golson and the Irish currently stand right outside the top ten, so a win over the No. 18 team will give them a significant bump.

With a win over Michigan, Notre Dame would have the most dazzling resume in the country to date.

The Irish took down Michigan State in Week 3 with relative ease, resulting in an eight-spot bump in the polls. Their victory disregarded questions about the Irish defense, which has proved to be quite a juggernaut thus far.

Multiple wins on national television doesn’t hurt the Irish’s profile either. Let’s not forget their drubbing of Navy on foreign soil. Not very patriotic of a bunch of American college football players, but still.

By the end of the college football season, Notre Dame may have three games with top ten opponents; Stanford sits in front of the Irish, while USC may be back in the top ten by the time Notre Dame enters The Coliseum.

For rankings sake, the team sitting above Notre Dame, the Clemson Tigers, play No. 5 Florida State in Tallahassee, so one of the two is bound to drop from the undefeated ranks by Saturday’s conclusion.

Michigan may have gotten hammered by Alabama in Week 1, but they could be sitting on the cusp of the top ten with so many Top 20 clashes on Saturday.

Clemson and Kansas State are both underdogs on the road in their high-profile games this weekend. In addition, if they can dismantle the Irish, Michigan would certainly hop over USC as the one-loss team with the better resume.

Ohio State, TCU and Texas, all in ahead of the Wolverines at this juncture, have yet to face a quality opponent like a Notre Dame or Alabama, let alone outside of their building. That will surely help their case for a top ten distinction.

If Denard Robinson and Co. do not crack single digits after winning in South Bend, it won’t be long. The Wolverines start Big Ten play, where matchups with Michigan State and Ohio State await down the line.

This rivalry finally has some BCS spice, which is an exciting development in South Bend.