Just when you thought it was safe to break out the sunscreen, shag bag and patio furniture. Just as you finalized plans to vacation at the beach, ballpark or fishing hole.
Along comes conference realignment chatter. Again. So much for a relaxing spring and/or summer.
And this doesn't just involve the
As always, no one knows what will happen. Many think they do, and aren't bashful about sharing, but few issues are as fluid as league membership.
Marriages aren't final until vows are exchanged, and even then, you can't be sure.
Marinatto's departure re-emphasized the Big East's chronic, perhaps terminal, instability.
In the last year alone the conference lost
That's 13 football schools and 18 basketball, for those scoring at home.
Confused yet? Just wait.
The Big East's
A possible 12th would be
If the likes of
Recent football struggles aside — the Irish have finished among the Associated Press' top 10 once in the last 18 years, in 2005 — Notre Dame still carries national appeal. Most (all?) conferences would crawl on broken glass to South Bend to extend an invitation.
Which is where the ACC enters the picture. As they did last year, industry sources believe that if the Irish were to forgo their football independence and join a league for all sports, the ACC is the likeliest destination.
Two reasons: First, while Notre Dame's most natural geographic conference is the
Second, Notre Dame and the ACC fit academically, a notion not to be dismissed when university presidents are making the decisions. Like
As with all realignment, money and television are paramount here. The Irish are renegotiating their football deal with
Which would be more lucrative for Notre Dame? Would the ACC insist on continuing to share all revenue equally? Would independence or ACC membership give the Irish greater access to college football's new postseason structure, set to debut in 2014? Those calculations are not 2-plus-2 simple.
Just imagine the scrambling if the ACC did land Notre Dame? Who would be the 16th school?
The infighting would be amusing, too. Every current ACC school would want the Irish in their football division to drive exposure and/or ticket sales.
Nothing is imminent, so don't break out the Guinness quite yet. But with ACC officials gathering at a Florida resort next week for their annual spring meetings, bank on some interesting pool-side conversations.