For the first time since World War II, Notre Dame and Purdue won't play each other this fall.
The in-state rivalry series is entering a five-year hiatus, with the next scheduled game not until 2020. And that doesn't sit well with a few Purdue players who came awfully close to beating the Irish over the last few years.
"To me, it’s devastating because I never won against them," senior cornerback Frankie Williams said during Big Ten Media Days on Friday. "… I’ll have a bad taste in my mouth for the rest of my life."
Purdue hasn't beat Notre Dame since 2007 -- when the Irish went 3-9 -- but lost by three, seven and 16 points in 2012-2014's games. But with the Big Ten going to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016 and Notre Dame playing five ACC opponents per year, the two programs agreed to take a break to sort things out before re-starting in a few years.
It was a decision that was out of the control of the players affected by it, who in an ideal world would get another chance to beat Notre Dame in West Lafayette (where 2015's game would've been held).
"I wanted to beat them -- that was one of the things I wanted to do while I was here," center Robert Kugler said. "It kind of sucks to not have that opportunity, but they had to do what they had to do.
"... I just would’ve liked to have a crack at them again because I think we have a team this year that can compete with them."
Wide receiver Danny Anthrop, himself a lifelong Purdue fan -- he's also Catholic and admitted to growing up with some Notre Dame sympathies -- said it'll be a little weird to not have what would've been the 87th meeting between the two schools take place until 2020.
"Growing up in West Lafayette, every fall that was something that everybody did," Anthrop said. "Everybody went to the Purdue-Notre Dame game. Not having it this year is going to be kind of different, but that’s out of all of our control."
In fact, Notre Dame isn't playing a Big Ten team in 2015, the first time that's happened since 1916. While there are plans to re-start the Notre Dame-Purdue series, and the Irish play a home-and-home against Michigan State in 2016 and 2017, the Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry is on an indefinite hiatus with no end in sight.
Michigan players, though, were far more diplomatic about the end of their rivalry with Notre Dame on Friday, instead shifting the subject to their season opener at Utah. Only linebacker Joe Bolden expressed disappointment about not playing the Irish this fall.
"I’d love to play them again," Bolden said. "... When it comes down to it, you hate to see two programs with that much tradition and everything really end their meeting. I loved it. It was a great feeling when we played."
The college football landscape is littered with the skeletons of intense rivalries, from Texas-Texas A&M to Missouri-Kansas to Pitt-West Virginia to Notre Dame-Michigan. It's the price of the cycle of conference realignment that began in 2010 with money at the heart of it.
While some of those intense rivalries may take decades to re-start, at least there's a light at the end of the tunnel for one historic, if not always heated, annual game to return.
"It a great rivalry," Purdue coach Darrell Hazell said. "It’s been going on since (1946). It’s hard for that one to go off the schedule because it is an in-state rivalry, it’s two great programs. We don’t see them again until 2020. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it works."