The University of Notre Dame has certainly acquired some enemies over the years.
The Fighting Irish are a unique school when it comes to sports rivalries, as their football independence and scheduling flexibility has allowed them to compete against teams from all across the country over the years.
It also means that despite their inclusion in the Big East for all sports outside of football, many of their rivals come from outside the conference.
3. UConn Huskies
Believe it not, there’s more to Notre Dame athletics than just football. The Irish and the Huskies face off in the Big East in numerous sports, with the most heated matchups taking place on the hardwood (although the softball and baseball teams aren’t exactly buddy-buddy).
In men’s college basketball, the Huskies lead the series 17-10 overall, but the games have been especially back-and-forth in recent years. Battles between All Big-East guards Ben Hansbrough and Kemba Walker come to mind especially. On the women’s side of things, Notre Dame-UConn is becoming an annual Big East Championship and Final Four matchup. Even the coaches have gone at it in recent seasons.
A great example of where familiarity breeds contempt, as these schools just plain don’t like each other.
Hated Figures: Jim Calhoun, Geno Auriemma, Hasheem Thabeet, Donyell Marshall, Rebecca Lobo, Maya Moore
2. Michigan Wolverines
Another one of the most influential rivalries in college football. Michigan and Notre Dame are ranked #1 and #2 in all-time winning percentage, respectively, and the two programs combine for 22 National Championships (11 each). The rivalry began in 1887 and is still considered a landmark game each time they play, as both programs try to place themselves higher among the nation’s elite.
Notre Dame and Michigan have the two most widely recognized fight songs in college sports (“Notre Dame Victory March” and “The Victors“), in addition to sporting helmets that are among college football’s greatest icons. This is a truly a battle for prestige.
To see the intensity and passion that defines this rivalry, check out their epic 2011 shootout.
Hated Figures: Lloyd Carr, Tom Brady, Denard Robinson, Desmond Howard, Jim and John Harbaugh, Bo Schembechler
1. USC Trojans
The Notre Dame-Southern Cal matchup is generally considered to be the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football, and is also the longest-running, as the series began in 1926. Both teams boast 11 national titles and seven Heisman winners, so more often than not, the stakes are very high when these teams square off.
They play for the right to hold the legendary Jeweled Shillelagh, the Irish club that was created in 1952 to commemorate the annual battle.
The Irish currently lead the all-time series 43-35-5.
Some Great Moments:
Hated Figures: Reggie Bush, Pete Carroll, Pat Haden, Ronnie Lott, Mike Garrett
Other Notable Rivalries: Boston College, Louisville, Syracuse, Michigan State, Duke (Lacrosse)
Now Check Out: Ten Questions Notre Dame Fans Want Answered