[Ed. I don’t know if this helps or hurts your Saturday hangover, but reader Daniel shared this via email today and I had to post itGreat Stuff]

** Guest post by Daniel Florip **

As depressed as we are about the 31-0 butt kicking Saturday night, let’s also continue to be depressed about the end of this very hotly contested and entertaining rivalry. I decided to look at the numbers, and it’s amazing how even the modern rivalry was. Take a look at the 31 modern games in the series, from 1978 to 2014:

The wins and losses were right down the middle: M 15, ND 15, 1 tie

The points scored were pretty even too, over 31 games: M 716, ND 660.

The per-game average score of M 23, ND 21 suggests a whole lot of very close contests and a very even series.

Each school defended its home turf at pretty much the same clip:
* M Record in Ann Arbor: 10-5
* ND Record in South Bend: 10-5-1

And this was not a streaky series by any means:
* Longest ND Winning Streak: 4 (1987-1990)
* Longest M Winning Streak: 3 (2009-2011)
* (No other streaks longer than 2 games.)

The records were pretty close no matter the margin of victory. 

Blowout wins (def: Generally 18 points or more, but also given progression of game situations)  M 4, ND 3
* Ws for M:  1981, 2003, 2006, 2007
* Ws for ND:  1987, 2008, 2014

Solid/comfortable (Generally 8-17 points..) wins: M 3, ND 2
* Ws for M:  1978, 1991, 2013
* Ws for ND:  1998, 2004

Close (Generally 7 points or fewer..) wins: ND 10, M 8, 1 tie  (that’s 19 close games out of 31!)
* Ws for ND:  1979, 1980, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 2002, 2005, 2012
* Ws for M:  1985, 1986, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2009, 2010, 2011
* Tie:  1992

The records were also pretty close in the dramatic finishes:

Wins by taking the lead in the last two minutes: M 5, ND 3
* Ws for M:  1994, 1999, 2009, 2010, 2011
* Ws for ND:  1980, 1988, 1990

Wins on “last-second” field goals: M 1 (1994), ND 1 (1980)

Losses on missed “last-second” field goal attempts: M 2 (1979, 1988), ND 1 (1986)

So on the scoreboard and in the ways in which games were won and lost by both schools, this rivalry really couldn’t have been more even.  If there’s been another rivalry in college football over that time that’s been so drawn right down the middle, I don’t know what it is.

The only separation to speak of comes in looking at the average scores in each school’s victories, and in the average scores of the games in each location. Generally speaking, when Michigan won the game, it was a more comfortable win than when Notre Dame won (13-point margin vs. 9 points).   And the average score in Ann Arbor was a 7-point win for M, while the average score in South Bend was only a 3-point win for ND:

* Average Score in M Victories: M 31, ND 18 (13-point margin)
* Average Score in ND Victories: ND 25, M 16 (9-point margin)
* Average Score in Ann Arbor: M 25, ND 18 (7-point margin)
* Average Score in South Bend: ND 24, M 21 (3-point margin)

In the seasons from 1978 to 2013, Michigan and Notre Dame were pretty evenly matched in terms of program achievements, except that M won at a bit better clip overall. Both schools had some spectacular seasons, but overall both experienced similar declines from earlier glory days.

* Overall records: M 315-123-5 (.717), ND 283-148-4 (.655)
* Bowl records: M 16-19 (.457), ND 10-15 (.400)
* National championships: M 1, ND 1
* Heisman winners: M 2, ND 1
* 10-win seasons: M 13, ND 8
* Winning seasons: M 33, ND 27

Despite what happened Saturday night, and as much as I hate the Irish, I’m sorry to see this one go.  And the stats above don’t even take poll rankings and point spreads and underdogs into account.  Oh well, at least one of our Saturdays every September should be less nerve wracking now. WE HOPE.

[Ed. Thanks Daniel!]


1 Comment

  1. Great job by Daniel compiling all that data. Yes, I’m depressed that we lost that game, but I’m happy that we won the series (for the foreseeable future) and, frankly, I’m glad that the series is over. I’ve always felt that an extremely intense rivalry takes a lot out of a team, from an emotional standpoint. Most teams just have one such rival; Michigan has had three rivals like that over the course of the last 36 years. Throw in the fact that Wisky and Penn State have essentially become rivalry games, and you see a Michigan football program that has more energy-draining adversity to deal with than most teams do.

    I’m looking forward to the years post-ND. Whether it’s Washington, Texas, Florida or Georgia, there are plenty of good, compelling opponents out there. This isn’t the time to feel down in the dumps. Let’s get behind our players and support them. GO BLUE!