One of the issues that vexed Big East fans - and college football as a whole - was the issue of Notre Dame keeping its football independence while parking its other sports in the nation's best basketball conference. It just didn't seem fair, especially as Big East Football was slowly declining into irrelevance.
Now, there's talk that the ACC could be interested in accepting the same agreement as the Big East did.
Our very own Paul Zeise broke the news first on his very first ACC Kick Off event:
** Finally, I will leave you with this and blog a little bit later as there is a banquet getting ready to start with some speakers and whatnot - as if Pitt fans haven't had their fill of that Catholic school located in North Central Indiana (yes, Notre Dame) - the ACC is in discussions with Notre Dame about possibly becoming one of the teams in the mix to be an opponent for the ACC in the Orange Bowl. That's what they are saying publicly, at least, but here is something else to chew on: The ACC members have been vehemently opposed to partial memberships in the past and have had the attitude of "all in" or "not in" but Swofford said today he's not sure if that is still the case and of course, he wouldn't say it but others already have - that subject is indeed being considered with respect to Notre Dame. So don't be shocked if in the near future Notre Dame is an ACC member in all sports except football and has some sort of scheduling agreement to play X-number of ACC schools in football each year. Sound familiar?
I don't think we have an official blog position on this, but I am very much against it. I have nothing against the Irish; they have the gravitas to stay independent and make a killing, so hey, more power to them. I enjoy Pitt's series with them and hope it continues indefinitely. What I have a problem with is a conference like the ACC giving away its only bargaining chip to induce Notre Dame to join a full-fledged member.
Notre Dame's non-revenue sports and academic pedigree are perfect fits but not enough. Mike Brey's basketball program is first-rate. Still not enough.
There would have to be football concessions: More regular-season games against ACC teams — the Irish play Boston College, Miami and Wake Forest this season — and an inclusion in the pool of opponents for the ACC champion to face in the Orange Bowl.
Then and only then would the league be wise to even reconsider partial membership for a school that clings to football independence like Charlton Heston did to his firearms.
Understandable, but a very short-term gain if you ask me. Notre Dame already plays Pitt and Boston College regularly, so what could the ACC add? According to the Boston Globe's Mark Blaudshun, it would be four more non-conference games annually. This when teams are already complaining about the lack of non-con availability because of the nine game schedule?
As for the Orange Bowl, that seems about as good as Notre Dame could get right now since the Rose Bowl and the SEC-Big12 Bowl are all booked up. If Notre Dame wants their logical seat at the table if they miss they playoffs, that's the Orange Bowl. Yes, there will be two other bowls, but not on the east coast, where Notre Dame football may be its most popular.
Divisions between programs that cared about the success of conference football and those who didn't already tore apart one conference. Let's not have it happen to another.