The Royal Heffernans

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Monday, September 19, 2011

4 Options for Notre Dame

Only a week ago, I posted a scenario about superconferences. At the time, I thought it was inevitable, but myself (and the rest of the nation) were shocked when it was announced that Pitt and Syracuse were joining the ACC. I had always considered the ACC to be dead man walking when considering how superconferences might play out. Looks like they agreed! Instead, they added 2 members and increased the buyout to leave. The ACC will survive.

Now, it is not only inevitable, but happening now! We'll find out probably today what will happen with Texas and Oklahoma. Both are deciding on where they might go. Their decisions will likely force ND into finally, sadly joining a conference. I think 100% that our decision will be based on what Texas decides.

There are really only four options left for ND:

1) Stay indepedent
It's going to be tough. Scheduling will be a nightmare and conferences will control TV, Bowls, playoffs, polls - EVERYTHING. Notre Dame can do this, but they will quickly lose relevance. I think it would ultimately be a mistake. We would go the way of Army and Navy, becoming a decent team that always plays in a bowl, but never a serious power again.

2) Join the Big East as a football member
This would be an option to keep the Big East as a viable conference. The problem? Who is left in the Big East that is worth playing. Looks like the ACC may be trying to get a couple more Big East teams too. They could add castaways from the folding Big-12, but I still think this is an awful idea. If we are going to join a conference, let's join one worth joining.

3) Join the Big Ten
If Texas joins the Big Ten, I think we will soon follow. Not sure if they would immediately go to 16, but we wouldn't have a choice. The conference would be a juggernaut, and the divisions could be broken down into East and West. I like a division with ND, OSU, Michigan, MSU, PSU, Purdue and Northwestern. The West would be Texas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minn, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois. I have always been against the Big Ten, but adding Texas and Nebraska really expands the conference to be more palatable to me.

4) Join the ACC
If Texas goes to the Pac-12, I think this is our best option. We have had discussions before. There are many like-minded schools already in the conference. We would still have a unique identity and draw, as the western most school in the conference and somewhat of an outlier. Big exposure in the Northeast and Southeast. It would be great for basketball and other sports too. Overall probably less travel then currently in the Big East! I think the ACC would be a great fit.

Personally, I am hoping for the ACC. I still am just too worried about losing our unique nature and being swallowed up by the Big Ten. Don't get me wrong, I'm not scared to play more Big Ten teams every year, I am just worried that Notre Dame will blend in over time. Every time I see Penn State, I wonder if that could happen to Notre Dame too. Over time, they have melded in, and are now just another Big Ten team, losing the aura that I remember.

I have no idea what will happen today. I think it comes down to Texas and their Longhorn Network. Not sure if the Big Ten or Pac-12 will offer them a deal to keep it somehow. One thing is clear. They are meeting today and we may know the future of college football very soon.


Update: So the Pac-12 decided it already had enough money from the new TV contract that will kick in next year. They said No to Oklahoma and Texas - who now have no place else to go. So the Big-12 survives for another year. I predict the next round of craziness will be sooner rather than later. Within the next year or so, either the Big-12 or Big East will try to add football members to solidify their standing like the ACC just did. Until Texas or Oklahoma bolt, I think ND is safe as an independent.


ian said...

I don't buy the "stay independent, become irrelevant" line of thought. Army and Navy went extinct because their government-funded facilities couldn't keep up with football powers and they couldn't continue relying on 26 year old veterans to crush the kids. I also don't see the scheduling issues. Bigger conferences will move to divisional formats and room will exist to schedule ND. The bigger issue is getting bumped out of Bowl consideration because the entire BCS will be renegotiated if this all goes down - it has to if the Big 12 dissolves.

Anyway, I'm tired of all this realignment bullshit - especially now that it's interfering with the actual season playing out. It's a fucking ego trip for the schools and conferences involved and it's capitalism at it's absolute worst. I'm going to find myself a nice FBS team to start supporting...

Kevin said...

I would also prefer going to the ACC. I love the rivalries with FSU and Miami, though it's likely that we would be in the ACC North, with BC, Maryland, Syracuse, Pitt, and whoever else gets added. I also like the ACC for the non-football and women's sports. Men's BBall especially would have the ACC as a freaking juggernaut (certainly if UConn gets added).

If Texas goes to the Big-10, I could probably stomach ND in there, but probably not otherwise. I hate having to be in a conference with OSU, and I think we're better off elsewhere.

Let's face it, this whole realignment has to do with money. ND will make more money in a super-conference than by staying independent. And the super-conferences will likely control any sort of "National Championship", so not joining means ND would be left out in the cold. I'd prefer to stay independent, but I don't think it's a viable option for the future. Penn State and Miami were both once independent programs, and look where they've gone since then.