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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
 
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?


Comments

Since: Sep 29, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:42 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Notre Dame will have to join a CURRENT BCS conference just for profitability and survival's sake.

   That is hilarious.  Profitability?  Really?



Since: Jun 30, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:41 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

ND is a cash cow for any conference, that is a simple fact.  Whether they are as good as they were does not matter one bit. 

The BE is most likely not the best fit for ND as the BE could lose their AQ status if any of their top football programs leave for the B12.  The best fit for ND if any are the B10 and the B12 but like the article says that wont happen unless the BE football side goes under.



Since: Feb 9, 2008
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:40 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Those who state that Notre Dame is nothing more than a relic are demonstrating bias. So are Miami, Florida St, Nebraska and Michigan mere relics too? At least I see that some of the posters are informed enough to know that Notre Dame is THE MOST POPULAR college football team in the USA. Notre Dame has strengthened its schedule and has high academic standards, thus appearing to be less competetive on the national scale. Notre Dame has not been implicated in the scandals and infractions penalties like USC, Alabama, Tennessee, N.C and Miami have. Notre Dame does not have the thugs and gangstas on their roster either. Look at this season for instance, as well as the last several before, Notre Dame has lost many close games to quality opponents. So, the statements of "who cares about Notre Dame" are ignorant, because those who care are in the majority and you who do not are in the minority. Even many who are not fans of Notre Dame are astute enough fans to not be ignorant and say "who cares about Notre Dame" or that "Notre Dame is nothing but a relic."      
;



Since: Sep 29, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:39 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

 I know they don't want ot give up their football independence, but this would be maybe the best case option Notre Dame would have given the changing college football landscape. If they continue to wait until every conference is at 14-16 teams they won't have any quality non-conference opponents to schedule; which would in-turn make the football program irrelevant to NCAA division 1 football.

    I highly doubt anyone is concerned about Notre Dame not being able to schedule quality opponents.  Not going to be a problem.  Ever.



Since: Sep 29, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

I find it hilarious that a team so commonly referred to as an irrelevant and over-glorified media darling is regularly the center of attention whenever conference realignment occurs.  If ND football is such an afterthought, why would every conference bend over backward to have them join?  Why are articles like these flooded with pages and pages of comments when no one cares for Notre Dame?  Go on hating, haters.  Not only are you ignorant, but you are hypocrites as well.
Yell




Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:32 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

 I am a Big10 fan and a huge Michigan fan. I would love to see Notre Dame in the Big10. However, if I am Notre dame...I would make really good sense to joing the Big East as a football member as well.

 A) It would be a small enough conference that they could still play all of their powerful non-conference rivals each year.

 B) The conference is somewhat weakend and Notre Dame would almost be certain to win it or challenge for the title each year guaranteeing a BCS bid way more often than they have in recent years. Becasue of the weakend state of the league, Notre Dame's schedule would not be any tougher than it is currently even playing a Big East Conference schedule along with USC, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue & Stanford each year.

 C) It would give their atheltic department much needed rest on the ongoing future of the rest of their olympic sports and finding them a permanent home.

 I know they don't want ot give up their football independence, but this would be maybe the best case option Notre Dame would have given the changing college football landscape. If they continue to wait until every conference is at 14-16 teams they won't have any quality non-conference opponents to schedule; which would in-turn make the football program irrelevant to NCAA division 1 football.



Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:05 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

ND is in a tough spot with respect to conferences, B10 is probably the best fit since they have some quality academic institutions in UM and Northwestern.  The SEC academically is really Vandy and to some some extent Florida but I think the low moral status vis a vie player behavior and recruiting, i.e. grayshirting, of the SEC would be a problem and they would likely reject them out of hand.  B12 (or whatever it is now) has Texas but other school are really just athletically orientated and do not enhance the academic side.  It is a tough choice for ND to choose which conference they would want to play in, PAC-12 just makes no sense from a geography (as does SEC and ACC when you think about it). 



Since: Sep 26, 2010
Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:31 am
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

Dear ND,

Just join the B1G alread and get it over with.  You aren't what you once were and have given off no hint that you will ever reattain that status.  Be realistic and join the conference in which you are the most natural fit.  Its really that simple. 



Since: Nov 23, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:23 am
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

ND is a relic dinosaur, football-wise, they are just a history story, irrelavent in real life of today's world.  Stay independent, who cares?
 

If ND is a relic, what does that make FSU with NO history before, what, the 80's? Though they have fallen in recent years, ND is still a huge revenue draw for networks and advertisers. Check the ratings. I don't see any major networks courting FSU for a private TV deal. 


Also, bear in mind that one of the chief reasons for ND's decline on the field is that they have significantly raised the school's academic standards in the past 10-15 years. ND is now a top 20 school academically. This limits the quality of athlete that ND can recruit. Most simply can't meet the academic standards.



Since: Jan 7, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:23 am
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

The Big East should drop its football schools now before this gets out of control and focus on basketball and other sports.  That will still be a great basketball conference without D1 football programs (Georgetown, Villanova, Seton Hall, DePaul, Marquette, St. John's and Providence).  Notre Dame can remain the 8th and be independent in football.  Any other remaining Big East schools with football teams will be free to pursue other conferences or if they want to remain in the Big East, then go independent in football just like Notre Dame.


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