Blog Entry

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Posted on: October 6, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 5:43 pm
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When news broke Thursday that TCU was joining the Big 12 Conference instead of the Big East, it was just another domino in the latest craze sweeping across America: Conference realignment!

Another piece that might be teetering: Notre Dame.

For the Big East, losing TCU is another sucker punch to the groin or -- as Illinois’ Jonathan Brown prefers -- a knee to the groin.

Sure technically the Big East never really had TCU since the Horned Frogs weren’t officially joining the league until July 1, 2012, but the loss of what could have been is even more devastating for the Big East.

In the matter of weeks, the Big East has lost Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC and now TCU to the Big 12. And if Missouri leaves for the SEC, sources have told CBSSports.com the Big 12 will likely add three more schools to get to 12 members. At the top of that list, sources said, is Louisville, along with a combination of BYU, West Virginia, Cincinnati or Tulane.

Losing Louisville and West Virginia or Cincinnati would likely be a fatal blow to the Big East's football BCS status. As damaging as these defections are to the Big East, it could have an even greater impact on the behemoth of college football.

Even before man invented fire, the Fighting Irish’s football program has been an independent. And Notre Dame plans on staying an independent until the galaxy explodes -- or until the Big East implodes -- whichever happens first.

So while the Big East’s pulse continues to weaken, Notre Dame could be forced to join a conference. The Fighting Irish have enjoyed the benefit of remaining a football independent, while their non-football sports competed in the Big East. Those days could be numbered.

"Certainly the factors that have contributed to the larger conference realignment continue to exist," Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick told the Associated Press on Wednesday, a day before the news about TCU leaving to the Big 12. "And we’re doing the same thing we’ve done throughout, monitoring them closely, and hoping that the Big East stays a vibrant and successful partner for us."

But if there’s no Big East, then Notre Dame becomes the Holy Grail of college football. The Big 12, the Big Ten, the ACC and the SEC would add the Fighting Irish yesterday. Heck, even the Pac-12’s Larry Scott would find a way to bring the Irish on board if he could.

I’ve maintained that as long as Notre Dame has a conference home to put its non-football or Olympic sports (men’s basketball, women’s basketball, etc.) in it will never join a conference. But things are about to get interesting for Notre Dame.

If the Big East no longer exists, Notre Dame will have two options: Join the Big 12/Big Ten/ACC/SEC as a full member or stay independent in football and join one of those conferences with its non-football sports.

It will depend on how bad Notre Dame cherishes its football independence, because I’m sure one of those four conferences would prefer Notre Dame as a non-football member (and the guarantee of Notre Dame being on those future football schedules) to having Notre Dame in another league.

Before TCU and the Big 12’s announcement on Thursday, Swarbrick said Wednesday Notre Dame needed to continue to support the league.

"They’re [the Big East] working on additions," he said. "You got to wait until the whole picture is shaped to really have a feel for it, for what that option is like. Just continue to support them and be involved in their planning and hope they wind up in a great place.

"It's great to make plans. It’s whether the people you might be interested in or the circumstances will allow you to achieve those plans. But certainly the way the conference is thinking and what it’s trying to achieve are consistent with what I think it needs to do."

That was Swarbrick’s view Wednesday. That all changed Thursday with TCU headed to the Big 12 and there are likely more changes ahead. The question remains: will it be enough to force Notre Dame to give up its independence?


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Comments

Since: May 9, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

And you complain about all the media attention that Notre Dame gets and here you are posting about them...Duh.




Since: May 9, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 3:49 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

UNC...Who is FatCharlie? Sound like a ND-hater and that is your right but geez chill out...You may not like it(and no one cares that you dont) but of course it is good for college football when Notre Dame is doing well. The vast majority of analysts, coaches and the media agree so they are the ones who really count...You are a North Carolina fan and you are swinging insults? Seriously? Did you stuck paying your parking tickets and you're bitter? Haha...Go Irish!



Since: May 9, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Who is FatCharlie?



Since: Jun 20, 2007
Posted on: October 7, 2011 3:22 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

FatCharlie, when you look up  over-glorified media darling in the dictionary you will find ND.  How else can you explain a program that year in and year out get over rated at the beginning of the season and by the end are no where to be found.  They regularly recieve bids to bowls that they do not deserve and get blown out.  That is of course on those off years where they actually qualify for a bowl.  If not for the over-hyping by the media what good is a team that has barely won over 50% of it's games over the last 20 years, who is ignorant?  For those who say that college football is better with ND, well college football has never been more popular and ND has been nothing more than a middle of the road team.  Football is just fine without them.

ND fans are fans of the school, great you should support your school, but to think that you are gods gift to college football is one of the better jokes of the year. 



Since: Jun 20, 2007
Posted on: October 7, 2011 3:21 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

FatCharlie, when you look up  over-glorified media darling in the dictionary you will find ND.  How else can you explain a program that year in and year out get over rated at the beginning of the season and by the end are no where to be found.  They regularly recieve bids to bowls that they do not deserve and get blown out.  That is of course on those off years where they actually qualify for a bowl.  If not for the over-hyping by the media what good is a team that has barely won over 50% of it's games over the last 20 years, who is ignorant?  For those who say that college football is better with ND, well college football has never been more popular and ND has been nothing more than a middle of the road team.  Football is just fine without them.

ND fans are fans of the school, great you should support your school, but to think that you are gods gift to college football is one of the better jokes of the year. 



Since: Jul 15, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 3:02 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Prestige has.



Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:58 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Acadamics has never boosted ticket sales or increased the value of a television contract.



Since: Jul 15, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:51 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

More like this:

B1G Leaders:  Army, Navy, Penn St, Ohio St, Wisc, Ill, Ind, Purdue
B1G Legends:  ND, AF, NW, Mich, Mich St, Minn, Iowa, Neb

Academics trumps athletics.



Since: Sep 27, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:42 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Better take a long look at the NCAA committees and see who could take the Big East's AQ status from them. There is a monopoly, and if quality was an issue they would have never had it to begin with. They will replace Cuse, Pitt, and TCU with East Carolina, Central Florida, Navy, Air Force, U-Mass, and Villanova (maybe even Temple comes back or Army joins the others). Now, it might occur that Notre Dame qualifying counts for their spot, and that is their worst case scenario.

Here is what they ought to do:

Big East "Legends" :) = Notre Dame, Navy, Air Force, Army

Big East "Followers" = Rutgers, West Virginia, East Carolina, USF, UCF, Cinci, Louisville, U Mass, Villanova, U Conn


The followers division winner would have a better record than is normal for the Big East because they would have 9 conference games, and the Legends teams could play 3 conference games. Ths would allow Notre Dame to play St. Francis and UTEP, and the Academies could earn their bowl bid playing The Citadel and Akron, plus road games vs Sun Belt schools and Hawaii. The title game could be held in South Bend, Indiana each year.



Since: Aug 26, 2011
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:22 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

With Purdue and Indiana already in, the only conference that makes sense for Notre Dame is the Big Ten. It's a midwestern state, not an eastern or western state.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com