ND Move to ACC not good news for everyone

Notre Dame’s move to the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports but football and hockey is not a surprise. The two parties have been in serious negotiations for the past several months. The ACC’s original offer was to allow the Irish be a member in all sports but football and hockey, if it would play SIX ACC teams a year in football.

Notre Dame, wanting its cake, ice cream and cookies from  an independent status and its own television network, argued that 6 was too many. The compromise was five, which wasn’t as inclusive as the Big East deal of a few years ago, but similar in style.

In talks around the world of college football, Notre Dame officials were told by the Big 12 and Big 10 that any arrangement would have to be all or nothing–meaning football would have to be part of the deal. The Big East made its deal, with the hopes that if Notre Dame eventually changed its mind about football, the slide into the Big East would be both easy and natural.

It didn’t happen. ACC officials have the same mind-set. With Pittsburgh and Syracuse coming into the league next summer, the league will move to 14 teams in football and 15 in basketball. According to ACC commissioner John Swofford that’s the way it will stay.

Unless, of course, Notre Dame gets tired of living in semi- seclusion and wants to be part  of the football party as well. If that happens, the ACC will then look for a 16th team in football and presumably target either Rutgers or Connecticut from the Big East.

But what is missing here is the darker side of Notre Dame’s move to the ACC for some ACC teams, including schools such as Wake Forest, Maryland and Boston College.

One of the primary motivations for Notre Dame to get things done sooner, rather than later was a growing concern about where the Irish football program–average at best for the past several years–would wind up in post season play if it didn’t have a BCS type of record–10 wins or more.

Notre Dame’s arrangement with the Big East allowed it to slide into bowl slots alloted to Big East teams with certain exemptions allowing the Irish to fill the slot once during a certain period of time. The Irish used that to play in the Gator, Sun and Champs bowls.

For the next two seasons all those exemptions are gone, which meant that a 6-6, 7-5 or even 8-4 Notre Dame team could be left out of the bowl dance. Irish officials didn’t like that. So they moved to the ACC, which will now allow Notre Dame to get into its regular bowl rotation as a non-member in football.

And that folks is a giant body blow to the non-elite teams of the ACC.

Let’s say you are Boston College or Maryland and you have turned your season around from 4-8 and 2-10. to 8-4 and the Music City Bowl in Nashville, the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando and the Belk Bowl in  Charlotte are all looking for teams from the ACC. And Notre Dame at 7-5 is available.

Guess who the bowl is going to choose? Or let’s carry it another step. You are BC and you are 6-6 and the Military Bowl is the last bowl standing out of 9.  Notre Dame at 6-6 or BC at 6-6.

Sorry Eagles. Sorry Terps.

You think it can’t happen. BC went 9-3 with MATT  RYAN at QB, won its division, but lost the ACC title game to Virginia Tech and did not receive an invitation to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, which is where BC’s record and status as a division champ suggested the Eagles should wind up.

Notre Dame deserves all the credit for pulling off the move. It was a no risk move and it eliminated a major concern and worry–not getting to a bowl game with a less than BCS record.

Losing the Irish in basketball and the other non-revenue sports, will be merely a speed bump for the Big East, which must continue to make major adjustments to its structure.  The Irish never really brought much to the Big East table in basketball. Losing Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse and West Virginia in basketball, however, is considerably more serious and the Big East will have to adjust with a new group of schools.


On Wednesday the talk coming out of Notre Dame officials and ACC officials was about what a great fit this is for both parties.

That might be true in Greensboro, Chapel Hill and South Bend, but the Irish shouldn’t expect anything but a curt nod from various other outposts in the ACC, where it’s going to hurt more than it is going to help.

© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.

  10 comments for “ND Move to ACC not good news for everyone

  1. Paul
    September 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Who cares about getting bumped from one rinky-dink bowl to another? BC was already the last ACC team picked by the bowls, hence the “BC rule” where the bowls can no longer overlook a team that has a two-win advantage over another in ACC play. It’s really a dubious point.

    Perhaps the ACC threw ND a lifeline, but I believe ND is now locked into the ACC when the time comes to join a conference in football. And I think it will. The ACC has the academics that make ND a good fit, as well as the best hoops, lacrosse, soccer and “Olympic sports” — all areas that ND places importance. (Yes, they want to excel in other sports besides football).

    Wouldn’t shock me to see ND join the ACC in football in 2015-16 when the NBC deal expires, the conference cash keeps mounting, and ESPN beckons. Perhaps Rutgers, Uconn or Navy gets an invite to balance it out, too.

    Hate giving in to ND, but there is upside in this deal for all ACC teams. Short-term, it keeps the conference together at a time when FSU and Clemson were sniffing aroud, and long-term you have a FAR better chance of getting ND in football than the Big East ever did.

    • Brian
      September 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      As a BC fan, I can tell you I for one do care if we get to go a bowl or not, regardless of the bowl destination. In addition to the enjoyment of an additional game in late December, it allows for a months worth of practice that otherwise is not permitted under NCAA rules. This allows for BC to bumped out of the entire bowl picture in seasons where thye have a marginal rerod (6-6, 7-5).

  2. Brian
    September 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    That 5% not nearly enough increase to address the bad deal the ACC got themselves in. ACC looks weak here as the Big 10, Sec, PAC 12, Big 12 never would have gone for this half in-half out move. If the ACC think this a prelude to ND agreeing to full membership, they’re delusional. Go ask the Big East how that worked out for them.

    • Mike
      September 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm

      I agree, ND was on the ropes and the ACC threw in the towel, definitely think they could have waited it out to try and get more out of a desperate ND in another year or two. There was no saying how that would have panned out. However, the $1.3mm is something, and that is the baseline figure, maybe ACC might actually be able to get more. Bringing in ND allows the ACC to capture more eyeballs around the country, adds the Chicago and NYC metro areas, which are obviously valuable due to populations.

      As a BC fan I hate the fact the can bump us from a bowls slot. However, financially and with the current state of BC football(pretty long shot to even make a bowl game this year or even next year or two afterwards if we have a coaching change), an extra $1-2mm, maybe more, for doing nothing but going sub .500 is something and cannot be excluded

      • Mark
        September 13, 2012 at 7:23 am

        You make good points.

    • Mark
      September 13, 2012 at 7:25 am

      The ACC made the deal hoping that ND would come around and join in football. I can’t see why ND would do that right now, but the Big East made virtually the same deal.

  3. Rock.o
    September 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    BC fans moaned about ND’s position in the Big East when they exited for the ACC. How is this different?

    • Mark
      September 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      its not. its the same. that’s my point.

  4. Brian
    September 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I completely agree. The ACC failed (again) in reaching this deal. ND had no leverage to demand this deal as the ACC does not need ND in any way in non-football sports. And what great benefit does it serve to have ND play one or two extra ACC teams a year than they already do in exchange for sharing its bowl partnerships? ACC should have let ND twist in the wind and let them try to figure out how they were going to explain to their well-heeled alumni that their new conference pals were far flung schools such as San Diego State, Memphis, Houston, etc. The only conceivable benefit to the ACC is if this somehow triggers their abilty to renogiate the horrible TV rights deal they previously signed. Someone, please tell me that’s the case.

    • Mike
      September 12, 2012 at 9:54 pm

      The one thing it does do for all ACC schools is this:

      Brett McMurphy ‏@McMurphyESPN
      Notre Dame also could increase ACC’s media rights from $17M per school to b/w $18M-$19M per school, sources told @ESPN

      Obviously money runs CFB and the potential for BC to pocket another $1-2mm per year from this addition is significant. What is bettter the $1mm to play in the 2nd to last ACC bowl slot or $750k for the last stot plus the $1-2mm in media money increase from having ND on board?

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