SOUTH BEND IN - SEPTEMBER 04: The "Golden Dome" is seen on the campus of Notre Dame University before a game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium on September 4 2010 in South Bend Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
This, is kind of a bummer. That being said, it is not a surprise in the least. The surprise is that Notre Dame landed their non Football sports in the ACC rather than, I don't know, the Big 12. Notre Dame will remain an independent in Football, though I suppose quasi-independent would be the most apt phrase. The Irish will play five ACC teams each year and each ACC team will get at least one game against the Irish, every three seasons.
That obviously works for Notre Dame because they now have, essentially, 10 games a year fixed. The five ACC contests, USC, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and Stanford have all been fixtures for the last five years or so. It is presumed that they will remain as such, that obviously makes scheduling much easier. Afterall, finding two games a year is much easier than finding 10. You, as a UC fan, know this all too well.
As for the Big East this might wind up being for the better. For a start, Notre Dame really only had one foot in the thing. One can only imagine, how it must suck for a conference to have their biggest chip have no interest in being played. That is no longer a concern.
Where this could get interesting is with BYU. The Cougars are new to the independent game and are, by common consensus, having a hell of a time getting 12 games scheduled each year. That is not going to get any easier with conferences growing, and locking up more and more of their members for more games. The hope is that BYU will see the light, with the Big East being the only school that is still, actively searching for a new Football member. No idea if that will happen, but one can hope can hope that BYU bends to reality. Besides, a new TV contract for the Big East, with BYU included, would easily outpace what they currently get from ESPN, which is reported to be around 11 million.
For me, the most concerning question is how this will effect NBC? NBC will still have the contract for all Irish home games. The assumption was that NBC would re-up and then acquire the Big East's rights to build a Saturday of content with Notre Dame at the center and Big East games around it. NBC Sports Network is struggling for content today. That is why they are so interested at throwing money at the Big East, it would solve their programing issues. The Big East will have a massive catalog of material for them to broadcast, material that they are clearly desperate for. The NBC sports network is currently saddled with Canadian Football and other equally irrelevant programing. They need a name, and the Big East is still a name.
Notre Dame jumping ship for the ACC could change that plan. No doubt that losing the Irish hurts the Big East. But if Mike Aresco can turn the loss of the Irish Olympic sports into the gain of BYU it would be a big get for the Big East. In short it is time for Mike Aresco to start earning that million dollar a year salary.