THE 2012 EMERALD Isle Classic will mark the 85th anniversary of the first ever Navy-Notre Dame football game, played in Baltimore on 15 October 1927.
The University of Notre Dame, known as the Fighting Irish, emerged from that game in Municipal Stadium as 19-6 winners, a result they have repeated many times over the last eight decades.
Indeed, in their 85 encounters, Notre Dame have lost only twelve times to the Midshipmen of Navy, winning an incredible 71.
This includes a streak, stretching from a 40-0 victory in 1964 to 2006, when the Fighting Irish won 43 games in a row.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic during that time, despite what the streak suggests.
In 1984 for example, Notre Dame won the game 18-17 with a last-second field goal. However, the score should not have counted as the play clock had expired before the kick was taken.
In 2003, Navy were again undone by a kick in the final moments but at least this time the play was legal.
Navy finally put an end to the streak in 2007 when, after no fewer than three periods of overtime, the Midshipmen emerged victorious in a 46-44 classic.
Since then, Navy have actually had the better of the series and will hope to secure their fourth win in six attempts this Saturday.
Saturday’s game will be the second occasion the rivalry has come to Ireland. In 1996 a crowd of 38,000 turned up in Croke Park to see the Fighting Irish secure a 54-27 win.
As for the future, officially the series is secured until at least 2016.
However, given its history and the mutual respect between the two institutions, it is unlikely to come to an end any time soon.