For around half a century Notre Dame and Michigan have met on the football field. Some games have meant more than others. Some games have been more important to one team or the other, but I don’t think there has been a game that has meant more to the individual coaches. This may also be the only game this year where I will be cheering for the Irish.
So who has the most to lose? Well, the Wolverwienies have lost 4 in a row for the first time since 1967. They had their worst loss since 1968 with the 39-7 loss to the Oregon Ducks. A loss to the Irish Saturday would leave Michigan 0-3 for the first time in 70 years and the first time opening the season with 3 straight home losses since 1928.
The Irish, with a loss, will have lost 5 in a row since the 1985 1986 seasons . . . the end of Gerry Faust and the beginning of the Holtz era. A loss to UM also means only their second 0-3 start in their vaunted history uniting Wies forever with the notoriously infamous Bob Davie.
One thing is for certain: this game can make or, almost certainly, break one coach’s season. Lloyd Carr is already on the thinnest of ice with a substandard showing last season including a poor showing in the Rose Bowl and his fifth loss to Ohio State in the last 6 seasons leaving him with a 6-6 record against their chief rival. Weis is 19-5 over his 2 seasons with Notre Dame, but has yet to win a bowl game with 2 ugly showings.
While most college coaches would covet these coaches’ records and bowl appearances, the performance of the Wolverines and Fighting Irish over the past several seasons has, no doubt, raised the ire of the boosters and alumni of the respective schools. The result being that the coach of the losing team has probably coached his last season, maybe even his last game. There is no guarantee that either Weis or Carr will have a job by the end of the season, but an 0-3 start will most likely be the final straw.
As I am not a fan of either team this is the most interesting story associated with the UM ND matchup. Of course, I won’t lose any sleep if Michigan falls to 0-3.