This won't be long, I promise. Recently, CBS Sports sat down with John Swofford and talked about ACC-ND and football. Something stuck out to me:
Q: How will you allocate the five Notre Dame football games to your conference members?
A: It's up to the ACC to do that. Notre Dame will accept whatever five games the ACC gives them on any given year. Conceptually what we intend to do is rotate through the entire membership -- 14 schools for those five games. We do have some teams that currently have contracts with Notre Dame and we need to take a look at that. We would like to accomplish this without disrupting those particular games that are currently under contract. But once we reach a clean point the idea is to rotate the games through the membership. So that every school knows they will get Notre Dame once every three years either in their home stadium or at Notre Dame.
First, I want to point out the first two sentences. "It's up to the ACC to do that." This isn't the Big East who said "eh, play whatever teams you want when you want if you want." It's "You WILL play these five teams and they're the five teams WE decide you'll play this year." Essentially, they'll rotate through all 14 teams every 2.8 years.
I think this is an obviously smart move by the ACC. It ensures that they're not shafted and don't get what they want out of the deal (the 'big' non-con game for every team) while making sure ND gets what it wants--it's independence.
The rest of this is telling. Swofford admits that teams like BC, Pitt, Wake Forest, etc have contracts with ND to play annual. His answers me that they'll look into, but they also want to honor those contracts. I think Pitt's contract ends in 2014? Or 2015? Once all of the contracts expire, they'll begin the rotation.
This means it may not be until 2020 that the ND-ACC deal is actually realized. By then, Notre Dame might be an ACC member in football too.