Through realignment and other schedule quirks, college football has lost a lot of great rivalries. Texas-Texas A&M, Pitt-West Virginia and Nebraska-Oklahoma are just a few of a few that immediately come to mind, and might not immediately be coming back to the gridiron any time soon.
However despite all the lost rivalries, there is at least one which could be on its way back: Michigan-Notre Dame. The two historic programs, which first played in 1887 and last played in 2014, could face off as soon as the 2018 season.
And understand, this isn't just talk. Both coaches are adamant it will happen.
Here is what Brian Kelly told the South Bend Tribune Thursday:
"We're going to make that happen," the seventh-year Notre Dame head football coach said Thursday. "We've got some work to do, but we're going to make it happen.
"It's something (ND athletic director) Jack Swarbrick and I want to do, and we're going to get that game back together. We've got some challenges, but I think we can pull it off."
Honestly, that is the most optimistic that either side has sounded about a renewal of the rivalry in years.
Even better, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh seems just as eager to get the two teams back on the field, and apparently has been doing everything he can to make it happen.
"I've been on board since the inception," Harbaugh told reporters Friday."[It's] something that's been worked on for many months -- going on seven, eight, nine months now -- and still some T's to cross and I's to dot. But I've been on board fully since the inception."
The two teams last played back in 2014, with the game serving as a casualty after Notre Dame joined the ACC in all sports accept football, and as part of their deal, they were forced to play five ACC games per season. That was a game Notre Dame won 31-0, in what amounted to the beginning of the end for Brady Hoke at the school.
In terms of a timetable, Kelly mentioned that the rivalry could be renewed as early as the 2018 season. The Irish still have Michigan State on the schedule for both this upcoming fall and the next, but after that, the Wolverines could replace their cross-state rivals on Notre Dame's schedule.
And if these two were to get back together on the field, well to be blunt, it'd be a great thing for college football. Not only are the Wolverines and Irish the two winningest programs in the sport's history, but with Harbaugh not firmly entrenched in Ann Arbor, it would feature two of the game's brightest coaches as well.
Not to mention that if the game isn't played for another few years, it should give time for Harbaugh to continue to build up Michigan to the point that these could be perennial Top 10 teams by the time they square off.
Let's hope for the sake of fans everywhere that these two schools figure out a way to get this game done... and in a hurry.