On September 1st at 7:30 PM Michigan will open up their 2018 football season in South Bend against Notre Dame. Both Michigan and Notre Dame are preseason top 15 teams and College Gameday will also be in South Bend for the showdown.
We’re going back to where it all began … South Bend, we’re coming to your city!
Michigan. Notre Dame. See you September 1! pic.twitter.com/kwcvy7FIJJ
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) August 4, 2018
Here are some reasons why this game is so important for Michigan and also a reason why this game may not be as important as it seems for Michigan.
Sets the Tone for the Season
One of the reasons why this game is important for Michigan is it could set the tone for the rest of the season. If Michigan wants to have the magical season in 2018 that everyone is talking about a win in South Bend would go a long ways towards that. If Michigan could get the win in South Bend it could set the right tone for the rest of the season but if they lose that could also set the wrong tone for the rest of the season…
Michigan vs Notre Dame is a classic College Football Rivalry. The teams have met 42 times including some classic games like the one in the Big House in 2011. This is a game that means more to both teams then just any other game.
September 10th, 2011: Denard Robinson throws the GW TD to Roy Roundtree with :02 remaining to beat Notre Dame 35-31. pic.twitter.com/I7FJypJrEO
— Michigan Moments (@UofMMoments) August 5, 2016
The last time these two teams met in 2014 Notre Dame embarrassed Michigan 37-0 so this game is important for Michigan to get the rivalry to swing back to their favor. This is also a chance for Harbaugh to win a rivalry game something he has only done once since becoming head coach at Michigan.
Pressure on Harbaugh
When Jim Harbaugh became the coach in 2015, Michigan football fans and College football fans had very high expectations. Although Harbaugh has done a great job at Michigan he has not yet met those expectations. Some critics say that he doesn’t win big games. Well this is a chance to win one.
This game is one of the biggest games Harbaugh will have coached in since his arrival at Michigan and it’s a chance to get those critics and the pressure of winning big games off the team and Harbaugh’s back.
Some Power 5 teams in College Football schedule weak non conference opponents and it comes back to hurt them come the end of the season. Michigan is not one of those teams. If Michigan were to beat Notre Dame not only would it be a big win against a rival but it would be a quality win against a top 15 team.
In December if Michigan is in the discussion for the playoff a win like ND could separate them from other teams in the discussion and get them in the playoff.
This Game Doesn’t Decide the Season
Although there are many reasons that make the season opener against Notre Dame so big for Michigan it might not be as big as it seems. Although season openers are important there is still 11 games left to be played. There have been many teams that have made the College Football Playoff with one loss such as Ohio State, Michigan State, and Alabama lost a game and was still able to win the National Championship. So even with a loss to Notre Dame on September 1st Michigan can still have a great season.
With that being said September 1st is a big day for the Michigan Football Program and I believe it will be a good day for Michigan. I think that Michigan’s defense will be too much for Notre Dame to handle and I believe Michigan scores just enough points to win.
Michigan-17 Notre Dame-13