Notre Dame vs. Michigan: More Than First Night Game at Big House, It's History

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Notre Dame vs. Michigan in throwback uniforms under the lights in the first night-game in Michigan Stadium’s rich history.

Doesn’t get a whole lot better than this in terms of college football pageantry.

No, it’s not Michigan vs. Ohio State, Alabama-Auburn, Harvard-Yale or Army-Navy.

No, Notre Dame isn’t exactly at its best, losing to South Florida in its opener. They’ll even be starting a new quarterback against the Wolverines after Dayne Crist—how to put it mildly?—didn’t quite play up to snuff.

No, Michigan is far from the powerhouse it was 10 to 15 years ago, and the Wolverines haven’t even played a full game yet despite owning a 1-0 record. That is, after their opener against Western Michigan was called in the third quarter due to dangerous storms moving through the area.

However, it's still Notre Dame vs. Michigan.

In their regular September test against their bitter rivals from South Bend, the Wolverines and rookie coach Brady Hoke will face their first serious test of the 2011 campaign.

Can they take a legitimate step forward and perhaps even reclaim a spot in the Top 25 Rankings? Can their revamped and rejiggered defense, under new coordinator Greg Mattison, improve on the utter disaster that was the 2010 season?

On the visiting side, in one of their several early season measuring sticks, the Irish will be looking to see if they can shake off the stink of their disappointing opener against USF.

Can coach Brian Kelly’s face return to a normal shade after controversially yelling, screaming and steaming his way through last weekend’s matchup? Can new starting signal-caller Tommy Rees get it done on the big stage of the Big House?

From Bo Schembechler to Lou Holtz, Jim Harbaugh to Rocket Ismail, Desmond Howard to Tim Brown and even Denard Robinson to Michael Floyd (not to mention the players who came well before my time), there are some wonderful names who have played enormous roles in this rivalry.

Who will be the next players to etch their names into the history of this matchup?

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