Beat the Wolverines, and people will start to forget the ugly season-opening win over San Diego State last weekend, as well as the whole 2007 call-it-what-you-want.
But there's a lot more at stake beginning with the Pep Rally on Friday night. Some of the future is riding on this Saturday's four quarters.
This weekend is one of the hugest recruiting weekends the Irish coaching staff and players have hosted in awhile.
A lot of prominent prospects in both the recruiting classes of 2009 and 2010 will be sitting in the stands at Notre Dame Stadium. Michigan is also recruiting a lot of these same kids.
Plenty is at stake. An Irish statement can be made.
Here's a list of all the offered recruits, not already verbally committed to Notre Dame, who is scheduled to come to town.
*Chris Bonds: The 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive end from Columbia, S.C. will be checking out Notre Dame's campus for the first time. A prep teammate of current Irish sophomore Gary Gray at Richland Northeast, Bonds is still considering the Irish, Tennessee, Alabama, Michigan, USC and South Carolina.
"First and foremost, I'll try not to get my toes frozen off," Bonds laughed, when he told IE in a past interview of what he'll be looking for in South Bend. "I don't know how cold it gets in September. Other than that, I'm excited to see these big schools play. Michigan, I play with them on NCAA, I play with Notre Dame. These are teams you see on video games, so I'm just excited. Hopefully going up there, I'll get to see Gary (Gray) play, talk with Coach (Corwin) Brown a little bit face to face, because it's been awhile since I've seen him. I'm just excited to see these two big teams play.
"I'm just excited to see the campus as a whole, most of the mail they send me is spring time and everything is real pretty. I'm a history buff and all the gothic architecture, I can't wait to see that. I'm excited to see all that."
*Davon Custis: The 6-foot-5, 220-pound four-star defensive end from Columbus, Ohio, will be making an unofficial visit with his mother and a family friend. It will be his first time on campus, and Custis is naming Michigan State, Northwestern, Indiana, Boston College and Wisconsin as his favorites.
Notre Dame would obviously like to make a significant move here.
"They're up in there, but I still need to see them," Custis said in the past about Notre Dame rising among his favorites.
"I'm very excited. It should be a very good game."
*Nyshier Oliver: The recently offered 5-foot-10, 170-pound four-star receiver with 4.3 speed, quickly booked his official visit to Notre Dame. The St. Peter's Prep star out of Jersey City, N.J. was once a verbal commit to Tennessee, but is now considering the Irish, Vols, Michigan and Boston College.
"It's a great place I hear," Oliver said in a past interview. "One of my great friends, Theo Riddick is committed there and he tells me a lot about the place."
Riddick is also expected to be in South Bend this weekend.
*Gabe Ikard: The 6-foot-3 ½, 240-pound defensive end/tight end from Bishop McGuinness High in Oklahoma City, Okla., got his plane ticket for his official visit to Notre Dame last week. Another first-time visitor, Ikard is favoring the Irish, Oklahoma, Stanford, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
*Glenn Carson: The 6-foot-3, 220-pound four-star fullback/linebacker out of Manahawkin, N.J., will also be seeing Notre Dame with his own eyes for the first time.
Carson is favoring Penn State and Rutgers, but is also looking at the Irish, Stanford, Boston College and Virginia. Like Custis, the Notre Dame coaching staff is hoping to move up with Carson following a great visit.
Another thing kind of going against Notre Dame at this moment, is that the Irish are recruiting Carson as a fullback, and all his other favorites see him as a linebacker. But obviously Carson is visiting, so Notre Dame is still very much in the race.
Carson has heard from the Irish staff that he'll get on the field at whatever position he earns a spot first.
"I hear it's a real magical place," Carson stated in a past IE interview.
Notre Dame has already sent out 13 scholarship offers to prospects in the class-of-2010. Five of them will be at the Michigan game. They are defensive end Chance Carter, offensive tackle Christian Lombard, linebacker Max Bullough, tight end C.J. Fiedorowitz, and offensive tackle Brandon Linder, who is a prep teammate at St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., of Irish verbal commit Ben Turk, who will also be at the game on an official visit.
Besides Turk and Riddick, Notre Dame verbal commit E.J. Banks will be taking an official visit for the weekend. Expected commits that are making unofficial trips to South Bend this weekend are Zach Martin, Alex Bullard, Tyler Eifert and Jake Golic.
Jamel Turner, a class-of-2010 prospect that doesn't have an offer, but is very much on Notre Dame's radar, will also be in attendance.