10:03 PM EDT, September 19, 2012
I wanted to wait a few days to see how I really felt about Notre Dame’s new association with the Atlantic Coast Conference. After all it really did come out of the blue, the Vatican and the CIA working together could not have kept the big news this quiet.
With the value of time and thought, I like the arrangement even more than I first did and not just because of football. The case was closed when my wife asked if we could make road trips to ACC away games. I can see us now in the big old rented van with the two dogs, ND pennants flying from the side of the RV heading off to Chapel Hill or the Civil War battlefields of Virginia before a game with the Cavaliers.
Now let’s not kid ourselves, but Notre Dame did give up some independence. In effect, the ACC will put together more than forty percent of the schedule. But the benefit of cycling 15 teams over three years, one team every six years home and away, outweighs that. Notre Dame fans cherish their independence, but they also want variety in the schedule and this will accomplish that. Scheduling football has become increasingly difficult and Notre Dame was not holding as many cards as it once did. But ND still has a name and a reputation and I have heard that ACC schools are already scrambling to get ND at home as quickly as possible.
So will ND eventually become a full football partner in the ACC? I say yes, but that is a long way down the road. For now the new scheduling is the issue but there seems to be a reasonable and acceptable solution. Lets do the math. 11 games minus five ACC games leaves six. Jack Swarbrick has already said that Navy, USC and Stanford will stay on the schedule, which leaves three. Assuming ND still wants (and they really should) the occasional series with the likes of Texas, BYU and an SEC team, that means only one thing: our three usual Big Ten opponents need to be cycled in and out. As for the “off-site” game, which I think has been a huge success; ND should schedule one of the ACC games for those. How about Virginia in Philadelphia? How about Duke in Jacksonville?
But what I like most about the ACC deal is what it does for other sports. Baseball, lacrosse, soccer, golf, track and field coaches must be delirious. As for basketball, men and women, it can only help with recruiting. I found it interesting that when Pitt and West Virginia left the Big East their coaches were muffled. Notre Dame’s coaches were not only allowed to talk, but Mike Brey was one of the point guards at the announcements. That tells me a lot.
So I like it a lot, now just win a lot of games to prove me right.
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