(UHND.com) – Since taking over as the head coach at Michigan in 1995, Lloyd Carr has traveled to South Bend three times. Each time Carr has entered the game with the higher ranked team, and each time he has left South Bend with a loss.
Carr’s fortunes at home against the Irish have been quite a bit better, with Lloyd sporting a 3-1 record against the Irish inside the confines of Michigan Stadium. Despite having a higher ranking than the Irish in every content with Carr on the sidelines, however, Michigan is still just 3-4 in the series during Carr’s tenure.
In fact, inept head coaches Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham basically made their Notre Dame careers around beating higher ranked Michigan teams at home. In 1998, Bob Davie was coming off a rather unimpressive 7-6 record in his rookie season on the sidelines, but started off the 1998 season with bang when his 22nd ranked Fighting Irish knocked off the 5th ranked Wolverines behind the arm and legs of Jarious Jackson.
Even Tyrone Willingham, whose 2003 squad lost 38-0 to Carr in Michigan, was a perfect 2-0 at home vs. Michigan with the Wolverines coming into Notre Dame Stadium in the Top 10 both times. In Willingham’s inaugural season with the Irish, he led Notre Dame to a hard fought 25-23 victory. Then in 2004, his last season with the Irish, Willingham’s team beat the 8th ranked Wolverines 28-20 in a season in which Notre Dame managed just six wins.
Playing in Notre Dame Stadium isn’t the only place Carr has had trouble winning however. In his last eight road openers – Carr’s Wolverines are just 1-7 with the lone win coming in 1999 when Michigan topped Syracuse 18-13. Three of those losses have come at the hands of Notre Dame (1998, 2002 and 2004)
Three games, three top 10 Michigan teams who left with a loss.
Playing on the road has been an issue for both teams in this rivalry, however, no matter who the coach has been. Since series started back up in 1978, the home team is 13-8-1 in this series (Notre Dame is 7-3-1 at home; Michigan 6-5).
This year Michigan will head into South Bend outside the Top 10 for the first time since 1980, Dan Devine’s final season on the Notre Dame sidelines – a span of nine contests.- and will face Notre Dame, regardless of where the game is played, outside the Top 10 for the first time since 1985, Gerry Faust’s last year in South Bend.
The Irish meanwhile will enter the content ranked in the top 10 for the first time since they faced Michigan at home in 1994 when they lost a thriller to the 6th ranked Wolverines in Ron Powlus first game in Notre Dame Stadium.
1994 was the last time the Irish were favored heading into this game. Despite being favored in every game he’s coached against the Irish, Carr is just 3-4 against the Irish – 0-3 on the road and 3-1 at home. The lone home loss? Last year in Charlie Weis’s first year as head coach for the Irish.
Throw in the fact that Notre Dame has been at some of its lowest points in recent memory over the last 10 years, and Carr’s struggles against the Irish are magnified a bit more.
The most telling statistic regarding Carr and Notre Dame however is his record against the Irish when Willingham was coach. Against one of the least successful coaches in Notre Dame history, Carr managed just a 1-2 record.