On Wednesday, the ACC popped the question.
Surprisingly, Notre Dame responded with a “yes.”
It’s like that marriage, or at least in this case, engagement, that no one expected.
When the news spreads, people can’t seem to wrap their heads around it – Really she picked him? Why would she settle for that?
Well she, being Notre Dame football, was once the nation’s darling. The gorgeous woman with all eyes glued on her, but with eyes seemingly for no one else. Independent, but far from alone.
But people, and programs, change.
So Notre Dame has officially decided to move from the Big East to the ACC in all sports, except football where the school remains an independent. The Irish will play five games against ACC opponents annually, which almost half of their schedule.
Yes Notre Dame football didn’t join the ACC, but college football’s landmark independent school has finally become tied to a conference, which is a huge step in that direction.
The move though seems like the best one for Notre Dame.
The Irish switched conferences while maintaining their independent status and their lucrative television deal with NBC. Leaving the Big East was also a smart move, because as college football moves toward bigger “super” conferences, the deteriorating Big East seems to the odd man out.
But why the ACC and not the Big Ten?
It’s because Notre Dame is intent on promoting their brand. Since they are already located in Big Ten country, playing along the coast will give the program a bigger opportunity to spread their brand and consequently, attract more recruits from that region.
The Atlantic Coast Conference itself was another winner in this deal.
With an upcoming playoff and the end of the BCS, Notre Dame football, one of college football’s premier programs, may soon be forced to join a conference and would, in that situation, join the ACC.
That possibility, along with playing Notre Dame five times annually, will allow the ACC to renegotiate its television deals for more money. Thus, each conference member will now receive even more money each year.
Also the likelihood that Notre Dame would leave the ACC seems close to none, as the conference raised its exit fee from $20 million to a ridiculous $50 million.
But if there are “winners”, then there have to be “losers”. In this case, the Big East conference was a definite loser.
Had the Big East conference been able to recruit Notre Dame’s football program, it would have received a significant jolt in generating revenue, signing lucrative television deals, and garnering national attention.
The loss of possibly adding Notre Dame football, and the loss of Notre Dame altogether, deal another blow to the reeling conference. In the last year alone, Syracuse, Pittsburg and West Virginia have all left the Big East. It remains to be seen how long the Big East will continue to be a premier conference, assuming it still is.