For all those who claimed Clemson and Florida State would definitely fly the ACC coop and join the Big XII along with Notre Dame, well, uh, the college landscape is about to shift in the opposite direction. In a big, big way.
Notre Dame will depart the Big East and head to the 14- (and soon to be 15-) school Atlantic Coast Conference. The Irish had played in the Big East in all sports but football. They had agreed to face three Big East members per year on the gridiron. In the ACC, Notre Dame will also be a full member in all sports except for football. But the Irish will play five ACC teams per season.
“We have monitored the changing conference landscape for many months and have concluded that moving to the ACC is the best course of action for us,” said Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick.
What’s it mean?
* The Big East just lost a little more lustre.
* The ACC just landed one of the biggest brands in sports. Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Miami and the other “football-first” schools in that league will love the opportunity to occasionally clash with the Irish at home and in South Bend.
* The ACC will also increase its exit fee for any school wanting out to a whopping $50 million. Again, for those who came here and blasted this site during the offseason because we dared to call all those “FSU/Clemson to the Big XII is a done deal” stories poppycock… we expect you to come back to our comment boxes and apologize as so many of you promised at the time to do. (Actually, no, we don’t think a single one of the folks who attacked this site will man-up and admit that they were totally wrong.)
* To add another pair of annual games to its schedule, Notre Dame will have to say bye-bye to some old foes. Purdue? Navy? Southern Cal? Michigan or Michigan State? Something’s gotta give.
* The Big XII will remain a 10-team league for the foreseeable future. For all the bluster of Texas AD DeLoss Dodds, he’ll never see Notre Dame join his school’s league. (Sorta like he can’t even see his own Longhorn Network on television.)
* You can also put to bed all those “Virginia Tech and NC State to the SEC” rumors that so many sites have floated out in order to grab pageviews. Ain’t happening. And, yes, we also called malarkey on those when they first started to percolate.
The college landscape is changing again. Just not in the way that many people expected.