In the 1970s, Michigan athletic director Don Canham wanted to add a premier nonconference opponent so he could sell more season tickets. Michigan and Notre Dame had feuded for years, going back to the days of legendary coaches Knute Rockne, Fielding Yost and Fritz Crisler. (According to Canham's memoir, From The Inside: Crisler thought if Michigan played Notre Dame, "Our Catholic students will be sitting in the Michigan stadium cheering for the Irish." Yes, those were slightly different times.)
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