Notre Dame, the Orange Bowl, and the ACC
Previously, the Confidential noted that the ACC signed a new deal with the Orange Bowl securing its status within the power structure of college football. Of course, the most important aspect was that the ACC gets to keep the TV revenue. The latest word is that Notre Dame is in discussions with the Orange Bowl to make regular appearances. There is also Internet talk as to whether Notre Dame is considering a relationship with the ACC that would allow several games a year between ACC teams and the Fighting Irish. This is, again, all good news for the ACC.
First, the decision to pair up Notre Dame with the Orange Bowl makes complete sense. For the Orange Bowl, a 10-2 Notre Dame team trumps any other ten-win team in the country and most 11 win teams. Even if Notre Dame is unfairly selected, the buzz alone will be worth the trouble. People will care, even if it is simply to root against Notre Dame. For the ACC, having Notre Dame as an opponent makes great sense too. Notre Dame is located in Indiana, but the heart of its fan base is nationwide and certainly heavy along the Eastern seaboard–locations where the ACC has a presence. Given that the ACC controls the TV revenue, having a 10-2 Notre Dame in the game is much more lucrative than just about any other conceivable opponent. For Notre Dame, it once again shows that it can remain fully relevant without the shackles of a full-time conference affiliation. All it has to do is win 10 games and it is in a lucrative bowl. And if it does better, it will not be in the Orange Bowl, but playing for a national title. A classic win-win, albeit a win-win-win.
Second, the ClemsonInsider (www.clemsoninsider.com) has the following interesting snippet posted:
For several months TheClemsonInsider.com has been telling its members that the chances of Notre Dame joining the ACC were much higher than Clemson leaving for the Big 12. The ACC has been courting the Irish for a long time but those discussions picked up over the past few months as we’ve reported.
TheClemsonInsider.com has now confirmed with sources close to the situation that the discussions have progressed to the point where Presidents from a number of ACC schools are having discussions with Notre Dame to try to finalize a deal. The ACC Presidents would love for the Irish to join the ACC as a full member, but they are also interested in other alternatives that could help the league.
Having Notre Dame play four games a year against ACC opponents is yet another win-win. For ACC teams, having Notre Dame visit is always going to be lucrative at the gate and on television. It is also helpful for scheduling strength. Further, it prevents the Big 12 landing Notre Dame in a similar relationship. For Notre Dame, scheduling is going to get more complex in the future–having an agreement with the ACC will allow more flexibility in that regard. And, given that Notre Dame often plays at least a few ACC teams per year, there is really not that much of a change.
Of course, it remains to be seen how these two discussions work together. The potential for a rematch in the Orange Bowl could pose some problems.
But, overall, it looks like Notre Dame is warming up to the ACC as a partner in multiple ways. While Notre Dame as a full-time member would go a long way towards fixing all that ails the ACC, the ACC is going to have to slow dance with Notre Dame for a while. Hopefully, it works out better for the ACC than it did for the Big East. Fortunately, the monetary benefit is far greater for the ACC to do so.