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September 03, 2013 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-03

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2B - September 3, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

SportsTuesday: What Brian Kelly doesn't know

ere's what Brian Kelly
knows but won't say:
he can't decide what
is a rivalry and what isn't. Jack
Swarbrick can't decide what is
a rivalry and
what isn't.
He's not
insane. What
Brian Kelly
knows but
won't say
is that by
questioning a
rivalry, he'll ZACH
rile up his HELFAND
fan base and
save face for
his boss.
Kelly knew all this on Sunday
when he said of the Michigan-
Notre Dame series: "I really
haven't seen it as one of those
historic, traditional Notre Dame
rivalries. I've seen it as just one
of those great football games
that Notre Dame has played."
Michigan spent much of Mon-
day insisting that, for them, this
game is a rivalry.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke
dropped the phrase "great rival-
ry game" twice in a row before
even being asked a question at
his afternoon press conference.
Then reporters asked him and
his players about it for the rest of
the press conference.
But arguing that the series is a
rivalry is a waste of time because
the answer is so glaringly obvi-
ous. And Brian Kelly knows this.
Brian Kelly coached in the
state of Michigan from 1987 to
2006, so he surely knows about
the 1994 game. He knows it was
televised in more than 100 coun-
tries, "including Zimbabwe,"
The Michigan Daily reported at
the time.
After Michigan won, Rachel
Bachman reported, students
flooded South University and
swelled onto South Forest and
into East University. "There
were shouts of'Let's GoBlue!'
and spontaneous rounds of 'The

6
a

I

FILE PHOTO/Daily
Former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson became a legend in 2010 and was a big reason the student section stayed in the stands 45 minutes after the last Under the Lights game in 2011.

Victors,"' Bachman wrote. "The knows that Raghib Ismail means
air smelled of sweet leaves and kick returns and Desmond How-
cloudless sky, and no one seemed ard means diving catches and
to know it was dinnertime." Denard Robinson means breath-
Maybe he also knows that taking runs.
Michigan's former Athletic Who cares what makes a
Director, Don Canham, pro- rivalry? We made them up to
moted the 1978 version of the occupy our time. In 1887, a bunch
game - played after a long hia- of Michigan students traveled to
tus - for nearly a decade. The South Bend to teach the sport to
Daily reported that one scalper a bunch of Notre Dame students
sold a fifty-yard line ticket for so someday their great-great
$500. That's worth $1,971 today, grandchildren could bicker
adjusted for inflation. about it at press conferences.
He knows football, so he We decide the games are

important, because when we're
exhausted from classes or when
our country isset to bomb
another country or when we're
having a bad week, we need a
place where everyone can get
together and drink and yell and
hug and cry.
We want moments when the
leaves smell sweeter, and the
skies seem brighter and no one
cares they're missing dinner-
time.
These moments have come
when Michigan plays Notre

Dame. Moments like two years
ago. The students stayed in the
stadium for 45 minutes after the
game ended.
Denard Robinson, his voice
cracking, marveled at the stu-
dent section.
"The game is over!" he said,
but still they stayed until, finally,
they spilled out into the streets.
No one cared it was 4 a.m. as
they partied on the lawns and in
the streets, and no one cared if
this game was a rivalry or not.
If Michigan wins another game

like that on Saturday, they'll do it
again, and they won't bother ask-
ing themselves if Michigan plays
Notre Dame enough to warrant
it. They'll just know.
Does that mean this is a rival-
ry? It doesn't matter. Brian Kelly
knows that, and he probably
knows, too, that whatever he
calls it, it's worth playing every
single year.
Helfand can be reached
at zhelfand@umich.edu or
on Twitter @zhelfand

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