One of the most overlooked, yet the most realistic reason that Notre Dame would have ever considered full conference affiliation in football with any conference, is the future scheduling conflict that will come with larger major conferences. It wasn't money, or TV rights, or recruiting, or any reason that a typical school looks at in conference realignment; it was how Notre Dame can schedule a viable, competitive, and interesting football schedule in the future.
This should have been painfully obvious when Notre dame agreed to a 5 game a year football contract with the ACC in its deal to move all other sports over to the ACC. Jack Swarbrick certainly saw the writing on the wall as we have seen 10 team conferences turn into 12, and now 14, and perhaps even 16 in the not so distant future.
With bigger conferences, comes the desire to play more games against each other. Let's face it, a 12 or 14 team conference only playing 8 games is lunacy. That leaves 4 out of conference games, and 3 or 5 teams that you don't play within that conference.
I have spoke about this many times, and it seems that my worries or just plain questions have fallen on deaf ears. Most replies have been of an arrogant nature- "WHO DOESN'T WANT TO LAY NOTRE DAME?!"
Well, when teams are staring at 3 or maybe even just 2 games out of conference, AND are sitting on a fat stack of cash from their respective TV deals and bowl rights... there might be more than you may care to admit- especially when some of the upper elite teams that Notre Dame would need to fatten it's bid for one of the upcoming 4 playoff spots decide that they would rather play a team that might be a bit easier to beat. (Notre Dame's rise back to the elite could come with that kind of unexpected backlash.)
Why does all of this matter right now? This:
B1G's Delany to Tribune: Status quo of 8 conf games "not even on the table" now. It'll be either 9 or 10. Decision in spring.— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) February 11, 2013
Delany: “We like to play each other, and those not hollow words. We are getting larger and want to bind the conference together.”— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) February 11, 2013
B1G also open to more night games, esp late in the season. Or as Delany calls them: "Prime."— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) February 11, 2013
Also look for B1G conf games to be played in Sept, like the SEC wisely does. Delany said he hopes that gets approved.— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) February 11, 2013
So the Big Ten, which basically holds 2-3 schedule spots for the Irish each year, are looking to substitute at least one out of conference game for a conference game, and possibly even two out of conference games for two more conference games.That narrows future scheduling possibilities for the Irish considerably- even for long standing series such as Purdue and Michigan State.
If you think this is restricted to the Big Ten, than you are pretty naive and haven't been paying attention to conference realignment these past few years. They (conferences) wait for a domino to fall and then they jump in to knock the rest down. Rinse and repeat.
Notre Dame is now looking at 5 ACC games, Navy, and USC as the only guarantees for the future. That leaves 5 games to schedule with teams in conferences eating up 9 and even 10 spots. That's a difficult job for Mr. Swarbrick.
Now, I'm not suggesting that Notre Dame will be begging teams from the MAC, WAC, and Big East for games to fill its schedule, but I will say with dire certainty that the Notre Dame football schedule of the future will be more diverse, but it could also be a little more watered down. All I'm really saying is that this is a situation that we need to monitor very, very closely and hope Jack nails it down. It's a brave new world, and it's only getting weirder.
Which is ridiculous. The big bad SEC schedules cup cake out of conference games. Alabama, supposedly the 33rd NFL team play Colorado St, Georgia St, and Chattanooga next season. They proved they are great, and SEC fans will scream from the heavens that ND doesn't belong in the same sentence as anyone in the SEC. Well, I think they will be there soon enough. They got beat up bad last month, but I still don't think ND is 28 points worse than Alabama. Of course to beat them, the Irish would need their best game and probably a very subpar game from Alabama as it stands now.
The problem will be finding a SEC team to schedule in a few years. Look for them to head to a 10 game conference schedule too. Even if they do not, it will be hard to find a team willing to give up its 1-AA cupcake for a game in sunny South Bend.
Bring on the SEC powerhouses. No sense going to a title game if you get your doors blown off. Might as well get the holier than thou upper tier SEC teams to play them. Prove during the year they belong playing that last game in January. They are almost there... Goooo Irish
@TheSubwayDomer Isn't Stanford also locked in for ND? You'd also likely have 2 home guarantees, so you only need 2 home-and-homes per year.
@frankthetank111 You know nothing is really "locked in" anymore. Could change dramatically of PAC-12 makes similar changes that B1G suggests
@TheSubwayDomer True. It just seems more like ND doesn't have *enough* open spots right now, hence the cancelling of the Michigan series.
@GreggHamlin @frankthetank111 @TheSubwayDo Is ND feeling the #SQUEEZE of realignment or not! Seems to me ND is rethinking ACC move.
@TheSubwayDomer @frankthetank111 Are they feeling the #SQUEZZE of realignment or not! I say their Independent days are numbered. #JUSTSAYN
@frankthetank111 @TheSubwayDomer Obvious question for me is! ND not joining ACC next year like we heard. Do they need to find a home?
@frankthetank111 That is very true for right now. However, with the landscape still being very fluid, that could change as quickly as 2015.
@TheSubwayDomer This after @HLS_NDtex gave me a hand wank for mentioning Big Ten scheduling?? I proclaim POPPYCOCK!
@SupermanTDJesus @HLS_NDtex Easily dismissed- until you remember that ALL conferences are conformists. There are some concerns here.
@TheSubwayDomer @supermantdjesus I'm really not. There are just too many possibilities to get worked up and I think B1G's model is...
@HLS_NDtex @SupermanTDJesus Your’re still looking at this as a last year, next year subject. I’m talking more about 2015 and beyond.
@HLS_NDtex @SupermanTDJesus different policy. Also, we cater to them being a bunch of bitches and don’t make them visit in November.
@HLS_NDtex @SupermanTDJesus How many Big 12 teams do we play a year? Also, the Pac12 is a lot more flexible but they could move towards a
@TheSubwayDomer @supermantdjesus Pac 12 & Big XII have nine games IIRC. And look at our schedules w/them.
@HLS_NDtex @SupermanTDJesus Unified in trying to dominate coverage and dollars. That is why more conference games are being discussed.
@TheSubwayDomer @supermantdjesus basically, right now every conference still has its own plan for success. No one is unified yet.
@HLS_NDtex @SupermanTDJesus Because 14 team conferences equal 10 game conference schedules. b1g & SEC right now, with more to come.
@TheSubwayDomer @supermantdjesus I'm still not that worried. Won't be until we see more 14+ team conferences.
@HLS_NDtex @thesubwaydomer <Insert "handwank" yourself comeback, immediately withdraw it upon review>