Notre Dame vs. Michigan State Rivalry Returns 2026-2027

Bryan Pollard /

Notre Dame and Michigan State are bringing back their football rivalry in 2026. They haven’t played each other much recently, so this is a big deal.

Notre Dame will host the first game.

The Fighting Irish lead the series 47-29-1, with two wins vacated. Their rivalry dates back to 1897. These teams met almost every year from 1948 to 2013. During the ’50s and early ’60s, Michigan State had the upper hand. But Notre Dame dominated in the ’80s.

They played home-and-home games in 2016 and 2017, but it’s been rare since then. The Megaphone Trophy symbolizes the rivalry’s significance. Blame it on Big Ten’s nine conference games and Notre Dame’s ACC commitments.

The 2026 game marks the 60th anniversary of “The Game of the Century.” More power to them for reviving this historic clash.

The Megaphone Trophy is backed by alumni groups in Detroit. Detroit is Michigan’s largest city, while Notre Dame is just outside South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame has fans nationwide, especially in Detroit and Chicago. Not surprising at all!

What’s surprising? How quickly we’ve forgotten this rivalry. I’ve covered college football for nearly a decade, and they’ve only played twice in that time. Notre Dame dropped some regional rivalries due to its ACC ties, including Michigan State.

We need more games like this in college football. Fans crave significant Power Four matchups. Jonathan Smith is building something in East Lansing, while Marcus Freeman’s third year at Notre Dame looks promising. The Spartans are rebuilding, but the Irish have playoff aspirations.

This rivalry can’t come soon enough.

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