Saturday, September 16, 2006

"It Speaks For Itself, This Game"

Second ranked Notre Dame faces eleventh ranked Michigan.

There was so much bad blood between the two schools that they played each other only twice from 1909 to 1977. Since 1978, though, they have met in all but six years.

The teams are 1-2 in wins and winning percentage in college football. For years, Michigan (2-0) had the most wins and Notre Dame (2-0) had the best winning percentage. The Wolverines -- who taught Notre Dame students the game back in 1887 -- passed the Irish in winning percentage two years ago. Now the two programs are divided by less than a percentage point -- just .0006658 to be exact.

That means Notre Dame can reclaim the lead with a win Saturday.

But this rivalry is about more than numbers.

The schools battle it out more than just on the football field. Michigan claims "Hail to the Victors" -- which Weis hates -- is the most recognizable in college football. Notre Dame claims the most recognizable song is the "Notre Dame Victory March."

Michigan says it is the most televised college football program in NCAA history with 358 appearances. Notre Dame says it has appeared on network television more times than any other school with 280 airings.

The two schools, about 175 miles apart, can't agree on much of anything, so it's no surprise they took different approaches to this week's game. While Notre Dame players were taking the it's-just-another-game attitude, the Wolverines weren't concerned about talking about how big the game is Saturday.

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