Notre Dame becomes the 14.5th member of the ACC. While they are all-in for everything but football, it is of course the football that drives the decision. The Irish get the best of both worlds with a conference affiliation for all of their other sports. It also allows them to schedule easier for football with five games against the ACC. With so many super-conferences and their scheduling obligations it had become more difficult for Notre Dame to shape their football slate as an independent. So, the Irish remain an independent in football, which they hold so dearly, but now only have to come up with seven other games among their traditional Big Ten, Pac-12 and Armed Forces opponents.
The ACC also adds to the stability of their conference despite stretching their geography all the way to Indiana. Each ACC football program will be rotated through Notre Dame's schedule, guaranteeing a game against the Irish at least once every three years. ND is the type of draw that should help lessen the possibility of Clemson and Florida State being swayed to join another conference like the Big-12. They bring in more revenue because the conference can now renegotiate their existing network television deals. And the league has upped it's exit fee to $50 million, making it painful for a current member to consider bailing.
While you can see why the ACC and Notre Dame would align in this new era of mobility, it adds another layer to the insanity that is conference realignment. It's going to take some time to get used to Missouri and Texas A&M in the SEC. Next year, the ACC brings in Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Heck, I'm still trying to remember Boston College is here. The old days of classic rivalries is further diluted with more members meaning fewer traditional match-ups.
My solution for the ACC is to divide into the classic and newer programs for division alignments. I will call them "Tobacco" and "Road." It was either that or "ACC" and "Big East."
Tobacco...North Carolina, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia Tech
Road...Florida State, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame
Primetime in the ACC is a new show that you can hear year round on WBT, Wednesday nights at 9 pm. I join host Dave Nathan each week as a regular contributor and look forward to seeing what the future holds for the ever-growing ACC.