Notre Dame is moving to the ACC in all sports except football, but that doesn't mean football won't be impacted. Part of the arrangement calls for the Irish to play five ACC schools every year. That is going to cause a scheduling crunch that may damage some long-time Notre Dame rivalries.
AD Jack Swarbrick said yesterday that they still intend to play USC and Stanford every year, so that they have at least one game in California. They also will continue to play Navy every year.
Rivalries like the ones with Big Ten schools Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue will likely get squeezed. Swarbrick said that those three may have to go into some kind of rotation.
Even the rivalry with ACC member Boston College will suffer. The ACC portion of the Irish schedule, which will likely begin in 2014, will rotate all 14 ACC teams in a three-year cycle. One ACC opponent will be played twice in that time, but the annual contest with Boston College will no longer be annual.
Notre Dame has also stated that it wanted a schedule with no more than four road games every year. They are now going to have one in California and two or three in the ACC every year. That goal may be pretty tough to meet now
The Irish also pride themselves on playing both a national schedule and a strong one. It's going to be tougher to play what would be perceived as a true national schedule with so much of it against teams in one league. And unless the ACC gets a lot better, this arrangement isn't going to do much for its schedule strength either.
* Barring some major upsets, there aren't a lot of games this week that figure to impact the BCS. I can't wait for conference play to start in earnest.
USC gets the toughest assignment in a trip to Palo Alto to face Stanford. The Trojans struggled a bit to beat Syracuse last week on the East coast.
Alabama may get a test at Arkansas, but the Hogs are coming off a loss to UL Monroe, may not have QB Tyler Wilson, and they'll still have John L. Smith, the wrong guy to have in this battle of former Michgan State coaches.
Speaking of Michigan State, current Spartan coach Mark Dantonio and his charges will try to help the Big Ten save some face when they host Notre Dame.
Last week, I was 5-3 overall (11-5 on the season), but a Big Ten-worthy 1-7 vs the spread (4-12 total). Nowhere to go but up.
Florida (+3) at Tennessee – Is Tennessee finally headed in the right direction under Derek Dooley? I'm not convinced, and I'm not sure if Vols fans are either. This game could answer that question for him.
Notre Dame at Michigan St (-6, cover) – Purdue's defense, which has virtually nothing at linebacker, took away the run and made the Irish one-dimensional, and almost beat them. Sparty's D is better. Rees won't get to ride to the rescue this time.
Alabama (-20, cover) at Arkansas – I don't know if Wilson will play or not, but it doesn't matter. The only team that is a threat to Alabama in the SEC this year is LSU.
North Carolina at Louisville (-3) – The Cards are probably the class of the Big East, for what that's worth. UNC is coming off a loss to Wake Forest. I would expect an improved effort from the Tar Heels, but still another loss.
USC (-9, cover) at Stanford – This time, it's not a three time zone road trip for the Trojans. They should be able to outclass the Cardinal.
BYU at Utah (+3.5) – The Utes already let one rival get the best of them. They won't let it happen again. They are better than they showed against Utah State.
Virginia Tech (-10, cover) at Pittsburgh – Pitt hasn't played within 14 points of either of its first two opponents, including, lest we forget, Youngstown State at home. A line like this makes me wonder what the Vegas guys know that we may not.